Spray Beach Yacht Club Siblings Go Down to the Wire at Junior Commodore Regatta

By David Biggy | Jul 03, 2019
Photo by: Tommy Green Spray Beach Yacht Club’s Lauren Ehnot sails her way toward a first-place finish in the Laser class of the Surf City Yacht Club Junior Commodore Regatta on June 28.

Surf City — Back when they raced Optimist boats, Spray Beach Yacht Club’s Lauren Ehnot’s younger brother, Ryan, beat her a couple of times. On the Laser course of Surf City Yacht Club’s Junior Commodore Regatta on June 28, Lauren used her experience in the larger vessel to her advantage.

“It came down to the last race and I knew we were tied,” said Lauren, who edged Ryan not only in the final race but atop the Laser class standings as well, taking the top position with five points. “With the light wind, we pretty much were going the same speed, so positioning is the big factor in a race. At the start of the last race, I pinned him on the left side of the course and kept him there.”

The 17-year-old sailor, who competes for Trinity Hall during the school year, swiped second place behind her 15-year-old brother, who competes for Christian Brothers Academy during the school year, in the first race, then raced to the front for the second race while Ryan ended up sixth – a result eventually removed from the scoring. After she placed fifth in the third race, her lowest finish which ultimately was tossed aside as well, and Ryan took first in the third race, Lauren returned to the top and her brother took second in the fourth race to set up the big finish.

“I didn’t expect her to pin me the way she did,” Ryan said just before the awards ceremony concluding the day’s events. “Today I learned to stay on my feet and be ready for anything.”

The fact that she has been sailing the bigger boat for a couple more years helped Lauren, she said.

“Ryan just started sailing in a bigger boat in the fall, so I have more experience,” she said. “But it was fun seeing him next to me through the whole regatta. I’m sure I’ll be seeing more of him this summer.”

Behind the Ehnot siblings, Brant Beach Yacht Club’s Clark Telfeian took third with 12 points, one ahead of Barnegat Light Yacht Club’s Aidan Cunningham and three ahead of BBYC’s Reese Zebrowski.

Meanwhile, three sailors who regularly see each other at Surf City Yacht Club skippered boats on the C420 course, and Brielle Willoughby, working alongside crewman Josh Zeelander, cruised to the top spot with five first-place finishes to end the regatta with four points. Declan Botwinick was second with eight points and Bridget Green, who sailed a lot with Willoughby at Southern Regional High School this spring, took third with 12 points.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Willoughby, who noted that she prefers working with a crew in a larger boat compared to going solo in a smaller one. “I kind of like that it turned out to be a small field with sailors I know. It made for a really fun atmosphere to the races.”

Interestingly, one of Willoughby’s and Green’s teammates at Southern, Christian Pagan, ended up first in the Sunfish class, swiping the top spot in three races to finish with five points, one ahead of SCYC clubmate Max Palaza and seven ahead of Samuel Kiamie and Austin Silverman.

“The difference for me today was in the wind shifts and adjusting to them,” Pagan said. “I realized that as the wind shifted more north, I had to tack longer. It was easier to hold the lead that way, but they were all very close races. For the last race, I had a really good start.”

After taking first in the first two races, Pagan slipped into second behind Palaza during the third and fourth races. Taking the lead at the start of the fifth race, Pagan stayed out in front of Palaza the entire way to win the regatta.

In the Optimist class, Toms River Yacht Club’s James Kopack led the field with nine points, while Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club’s Turner Ryon managed 14 points for second, and LEHYC’s Drew D’Orsi scored 15 for third place. Bella Cremer, Gigi Ivancich, Sean Bodnar and Aidan Millar finished fourth through seventh, separated by only three points in the standings.


— David Biggy



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