Members of the Metedeconk River Yacht Club in Brick, as well as the Manasquan River and Bay Head yacht clubs, recently held their now-annual JetStar Regatta, a sailboat race to raise funds for the Visitation Relief Center on Mantoloking Road.
The race itself was born out of Superstorm Sandy’s destruction. In the summer of 2013, the club’s Squan Tri-Sail was cancelled due to the effects of the hurricane. But amidst the demolition and rebuilding following the storm, a group of members wanted to pay respect to the communities of the barrier island and demonstrate the resilience of the Jersey Shore sailing community, said Mark Connell, one of the club’s members.
So, they organized the first JetStar Regatta to sail from Manasquan Inlet to the final resting spot of the JetStar Roller Coaster at Casino Pier in Seaside Heights and back. On Saturday morning, July 27, 2013 the flotilla of 15 sailboats was easily visible from the beach as they sailed from the inlet to Casino Pier and turned to return – hugging the coastline up and back.
The following year the event grew with 20 auxiliary sailboats participating in the inspiring effort. The flotilla sailed from Metedeconk River Yacht Club through the Point Pleasant Canal to the Manasquan Inlet and participate in the then-second annual JetStar Regatta. In keeping with the spirit of the founding of the event, all proceeds went to Visitation Relief Center in Brick.
Last week, the clubs hosted the third annual JetStar Regatta – with a skipper’s meeting and dinner on Friday and the long distance race on Saturday, followed by the awards ceremony. The event attracted over 20 auxiliary sailboats from around the area to honor those whose lives have been changed by Sandy and help in the continuing relief effort.
According to Connell, over $2,000 was raised for the relief center.
The race this year took place under perfect conditions with three classes of boats: those flying spinnaker, those without spinnakers and three one design Sabre 34 sailboats. The sailboats started at 10:30 a.m. just south of the Manasquan Inlet and raced to a designated gate just off Brick’s Camp Osborn neighborhood and continued south to a mark near the location of the JetStar roller coaster’s resting spot. Turning around the mark, they returned up the coast, through the gate again and back to the finish line at the inlet.
“The spectacle of all these sailboats racing along the coast was visible from the entire beach, with some coming so close to shore lifeguards blew their whistles,” Connell said in an e-mail.
Rick Eytel in The Grin won the spinnaker fleet. Jon Bailis in Stardust triumphed in the non-spinnaker fleet, and Rick Pokorney in Erica May came in first in the Sabre fleet.