J22 Eastern Great Lakes Championship


Commodore Voit, Regatta Chair Joe Gelsomino, Terry Flynn, Dave Van Cleef, Paul Grenauer

The Buffalo Yacht Club  played host to 40 boats in the J22 Great Lakes Championship this past weekend.  The winners are pictured above during the prize giving.  Top boat from western New York was Kevin Doyle, Vic Snyder, and Adam Burns from Buffalo Harbor SC, just one point behind Flynn & co.  Full results will be posted as soon as they are available.

The regatta was superb in all respects – the biggest thing of course is the racing.  In addition to serving as Regatta Chair, Joe Gelisomino was also Race Commitee Chair.  He ran five races on Saturday in variable conditions of breeze out of the NE-E between 8-15+knts, with a driving raining not making it exactly easy on anyone.  Sunday morning brought clear skies, but no wind, so Joe wisely postponed until the breeze filled and settled.  Two great races were run.

On the water help came from the ever present Chuck Chilcott, setting marks as he does so well and so often for so many events locally.  Chuck is an “A” grade mark setter, capable of working any big event anywhere.  Tom Lewin, who owns a J22 (and a Beneteau 36.7) that he let a couple of really raw rookies use so they could hack their way around the race course (that would be your humble blogger who learned exactly how busy things get in the middle of a J22 this weekend) served a pin end boat in his 22 foot Wellcraft.  Tom Nowak also served as a signal boat.  Thanks to everyone who assisted the on the water elements of the regatta.

Ashore, there was a ton of support from members and staff.  The Jordan family has been traveling the regatta circuit beating the drum for this regatta for over a year.  Kelly Jordan is sort of the de facto cheerleader for the class locally, and no doubt her thoughtful and timely communications helped to drive attendance.  Bud Jordan helped run boat launching and hauling – the results of which were evident by the fact that the last two out of town boats were on their trailers within 30 minutes of everyone hitting the dock after the “race to the hoist”.

From a general organization point of view, all the essential elements of fun for a regatta were evident and well thought out.  The facility looked great, information on anything that was needed was easily obtained, and the shore side parties well planned and attended.

This will be a regatta that anyone who has any interests in J22’s will want to put on their calendar for next year.  For those from out of town who live in the southern part of the country where sailing isn’t so great this time of year due to the heat and/or limited wind, you can come to western New York and bookend two weekends of J22 sailing by sailing in this event, followed by the legendary Levels at Youngstown YC the next weekend.  There’s plenty to do for a family around western New York in the summer, so bring the family for a vacation. 

Now, consider for a moment what the Buffalo YC has done in the past two years.  It was not that long ago there were only a handful of J22’s in this town.   The dry sail facility, with the two 3 ton hoists, didn’t even exist this time last summer.  Two years ago that are was an ancient marine rail way used only for winter storage of members boats, the space being completely unused in the summer months.  As the fleet of J22’s grew from 3 to 30+ locally in less than three years, more storage was required.  There was considerable “debate”, much dissent, and alot of tension between various member factions within the Buffalo YC over the development of the “south yard”.  Eventually, reason prevailed, a healthy debate was had, concerns by some members addressed, with the result being a first class facility that is now proven to be capable of hosting world class events.  What purpose is there for a yacht to exist other than to primarily be about racing sailboats, and having the ability to host world class regattas?  The Buffalo Yacht Club can now say they have proven they meet this purpose.

The leaders of this change at the Buffalo YC are all the types of people who like to deflect credit for accomplishment to others, and I’d miss someone important who is deserving of mention if I started naming names.  But the fundamental point is that this was a club that had a very long tradition of excellence within the sport that had let its reputation slide for a variety of reasons.  The regatta this past weekend is not the end of this process, it is just the start of the next stage of having a place that will help to create more world class sailors, and a place that will host will world class events.  The, at times painful, evolution the club has gone through in recent times will pay dividends for years to come.   Terry Flynn and crew are just the first of many world class sailors that will come to the Buffalo Yacht Club and elevate the standard of sailing further in all of western New York. 

Congratulations to everyone who made this regatta a success – and to those within the Buffalo Yacht Club who had the vision and determination to make all of these changes to the club happen.  The sport of sailing is better off because of what all of you have done.


Terry Flynn’s excellent Friday afternoon tuning clinic – far better attended than this picture shows


Joe Gelsomino’s “eBaby” – RC boat – purchased off of eBay (that might be a coming blog post….)


Peter Doyle testing new Quantum light air jib trim settings


The last match race of the day on the hoists



5 Responses to J22 Eastern Great Lakes Championship

  1. jan barrett says:

    Great story. I told Trey last night that both Barry and I would love to be ‘volunteers’ next year. It seems that many of us never get asked to help out and would be pleased to do so. Trey and Martha had a great time and enjoyed being with you over the weekend. Nice job. Jan

  2. Tillerman says:

    Right on. If a yacht club doesn’t organize top-notch racing then what’s the point?

  3. Matt Franzek says:

    Im going to make sure that my calander is open next year for this regatta. There is no way Im missing it if its half as good as everyone is saying.

  4. CARDIAC A REST says:




  5. Kevin Doyle says:

    Nice article, Peter. It was a first class event and it was wonderful to have the chance to sail with all of our Buffalo friends! Just a quick point of clarification. While our team is based in Youngstown, I proudly represent BUFFALO HARBOR SAILING CLUB. I am not a YYC member.

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