2018 Nationals

Cassidy crop


There was another close finish to the Atlantic Nationals this year, when Steve Benjamin in Cassidy and Dave Peck in Miss April ended up tied on points, Benj taking the title through a tiebreaker. Dave’s brother Norm Peck III was third in Nonesuch, just one point behind.

The event at Madison Beach Club was blessed with three days of 10-12 knot winds making for good, fair racing, although on the second day the fleet had to wait all morning until the breeze appeared. Seasoned race officer Peter Reggio made smart decisions throughout, and on the last day he managed three races to complete the series.

Things looked good for Scott Reichhelm in Shucks after the first day, when he took a first and a second. But a couple of middling results the next day allowed Benj and the Pecks to catch up. The racing was close throughout, with constant place-changing among the first few boats.

When it came to the last race, Peck had a one point advantage, so Benj, with his all-pro crew of Chris Larson, Brooks Daley and Jonny Goldsberry needed to win the last race. And that’s what they did. It was Steve Benjamin’s fourth Atlantic Nationals win as skipper.


Crew list

Photos by Gary Price

Drone videos by Gordon Henderson: day 1day 2


2017 Nationals

CG18 BenjHeadon 

Steve Benjamin, representing Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club, has won the 88th National Championship held by Kollegewidgwok Yacht Club at Blue Hill, Maine. With his crew of Chris Larson, Ian Liberty and Brooks Daley aboard A128 Cassidy, Benj posted scores of 6,1,5,4,4,9. Second was Mark Foster from Cedar Point YC in A140 Thistle; third A135 Rascal, Peter Smith of KYC.

It was a fine week for weather, though at times the wind was baffling for the visitors, and local knowledge played a part. Some likened it to lake sailing, with winds coming from directions that were hard to predict. Still, the cream soon came to the top as usual.

Maestro Race Officer Ken Legler set his usual accurate courses within the confines of picturesque Blue Hill Bay, and after two days several yachts were close on points, all with a chance of winning. These included those of Dave Peck, Scott Reichhelm and Mark Foster, members of three families that continue the great tradition of Atlantics being passed down through generations: each skipper’s father was a multiple previous class champion.

In fact, at least 10 of the 33 competing boats had more than one family member in the crew. And for the first time since 1996 a Nationals race was won by a female skipper: Lindsay Doyle, a member of the University of Vermont sailing team, steered A102 Rival with her father Jim crewing.

When it came down to the last championship race, Benj was the most consistent skipper, having finished no lower than sixth place so far. By winning Races 4 and 5 David Peck had a slightly better score after the discard, but had a 16th from the first race that he now needed to lose. No such luck. Benj hunted down Miss April from the start and pushed her down the fleet, the Pecks eventually finishing in 19th place, clinching the title for Cassidy. Mark Foster and Peter Smith followed very close on points, both having a strong last race.

KYC normally has a short midsummer club racing season offering little opportunity for experience in holding big events, but they did a magnificent job with this one. It was a very good week.


2016 Nationals

2016 Grenon 9876mhr small3


The 2016 Atlantic National Championship took place in July at Niantic Bay Yacht Club, who organized a fine regatta.

Starting on Thursday, 21 boats came to the line for two races in mostly light air. Scott Reichhelm in A142 Shucks emerged on top for the day with a second and third place, followed by Chris Wittstock, then Steve Benjamin. The second day, again conditions were light and tricky until a breeze arrived late in the day. Norm Peck III in A137 Nonesuch from the home club showed great consistency to take the overall lead by one point from Benj. Jeff Shay and Scott Reichhelm shared third spot.

Day 3: An excellent day's racing in a 15-knot westerly breeze and flat water. In a popular move, the Race Committee, led by Ken Legler, laid courses with more, shorter legs, to keep the fleet out of the strongest part of the tide.

Five boats went into the last race with a chance of winning the title, and the result couldn't have been closer. Bill Barton repeated his 2013 win in A141 One 4 All with his crew of Peter Smith, Peter Duncan and Tom Blackwell. Steve Benjamin in A128 Cassidy needed to win the last race but keep a boat between himself and Barton: the latter finished second to clinch the title when the tie was resolved. Third was Stephen Jay in A148 Alliance, fourth Norm Peck III. 


Entry List with crew names

2015 Nationals

The 2015 Nationals at Cold Spring Harbor Beach Club were won by David Peck sailing A130 Miss April, from Niantic Bay Yacht Club, with his crew of John Moulthrop, Tom Peck and Diane Rothman. Close in second place was a very consistent Tim Britton with A49 Transit, and third Ian Evans with A44 Try Again. Boats from Kollegewidgwok Yacht Club in Blue Hill, Maine, took three of the first five places.

David Peck had steered to a Nationals win previously, back in 1987. Since then he has crewed for his father, Norm Peck Jr., calling tactics and helping gain multiple championship wins, but this year Dave took over as Dad watched from his powerboat.

26 boats from five fleets competed. The first day saw a light air start followed by a 90-degree windshift as the southerly came in, catching out a lot of good crews on the wrong side. Second day, a good southerly but just one race. On the last day a typical northerly with big shifts in strength and direction made for demanding conditions but three good races. As usual CSHBC put on a memorable event.


2014 Nationals

2014 Atlantic Nationals were hosted by Cedar Point Yacht Club in Westport, CT, on August 21-23. Six races were completed for the series, with 26 yachts competing from 5 yacht clubs. Steve Benjamin, sailing A128 for Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club, scored five aces (after one discard) to win the championship handily. Mark Foster (A140) placed second and Scott Reichhelm (A142) was third, both from Cedar Point Yacht Club. It is worth noting that both Mark and Scott are "second generation" Atlantic sailors -- their fathers have won a total of 14 championships between them.