2016-04-21 / Front Page

Fleet 413 Ends Regular Season with Record Turnout

By Joe Berkeley

World champion racer Peter Shope, Fleet champion Steve Kirkpatrick, and Stuart Streuli aboard the new powerboat that Fleet 413 enabled Sail Newport to purchase. (Photo by Joe Berkeley) World champion racer Peter Shope, Fleet champion Steve Kirkpatrick, and Stuart Streuli aboard the new powerboat that Fleet 413 enabled Sail Newport to purchase. (Photo by Joe Berkeley) For those who missed the Thrilla in Manila, the third and final fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier back in 1975, the Nail Biter in Newport was a worthy substitute.

World Champion Peter Shope and Steve Kirkpatrick slugged it out for bragging rights for the Fleet 413 frostbite season, and it all came down to the last day. Using the tactics he perfected on the Tufts University sailing team, Kirkpatrick just barely got the better of Shope for the season, winning by one point.

Shope was gracious. “I’m impressed with how Steve sailed. I’m disappointed with second, but there are so many positives that happened this season that outweigh the disappointment. We had kids and their parents sailing this season, like Dave and Alli Moffet. Never did a day go by that I didn’t realize how special a fleet we have.”

As a Fleet Co-captain with Jack McVicker, Shope is responsible for the work that goes on behind the scenes. Under their leadership, the fleet enjoyed record participation. There were 100 boats registered for the season, and there were more than 53 boats on the line on a single day.

Kirkpatrick recognized Shope as the source of his motivation. He said, “It’s incredibly hard to beat Peter Shope, one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.” As he approaches the age of 50, Kirkpatrick believes the fleet is on the edge of seeing a new generation of sailors dominate. One of them may well be Ted Bjerregaard, the St. George’s School student who is always one of the last sailors to show up in the parking lot and one of the first to finish.

Everyone in the fleet is quick to credit Moose McClintock for much of the success. A former America’s Cup sailor, J-24 World Champion, and champion in too many classes to note in a newspaper, Mc- Clintock did more race committee work than anyone. And his races were run perfectly. When Moose is flying the flags, no tomfoolery is tolerated, and respect is shown.

Third overall for the season was Andy Pimental. He also was the first-placed finisher on the fleet’s Facebook page. When a photo of Andy’s buttocks, clad in worn out hiking pants, procured more “likes” than a beautiful portrait of Steve Kirkpatrick’s face, Pimental commented, “as it should be.”

Proving that the equipment isn’t as important as the sailor, Dave Moffet finished the year in fourth overall. Moffet quipped that he finished “first among the B fleet.” Given that Moffet sailed on the same course with his daughter Alli, and celebrated her sweet 16th birthday by going frostbiting with her, it could be argued that he really won the season.

North Sail’s Mike Marshall was fifth overall. He won the last day of the series to show that he knows his way around the race course.

In sixth overall, Dan Neri sailed consistently and smartly. Christine Neville said, “Dan doesn’t make mistakes.” High praise indeed.

Coming off her Olympic campaign, Neville finished in seventh overall. She was a huge fan of the large turnouts, and enjoyed “getting to race against younger kids and experienced older sailors.”

Fleet 413 stalwart Will Donaldson finished the year in eighth overall “It was a great season, the winter was so mild,” he said. "Way better than last year when the harbor froze.”

The prodigal sailor, PJ Schaffer, returned to the fleet after an absence due to the demands of fatherhood and was welcomed back with open arms.

In tenth overall, fleet scribe Joe Berkeley accomplished his goal of cracking the top ten and sailing with dignity, which is a polite way of saying he spent more time sailing than swimming.

Kira Munger summed it up when she said, “It was a great season for participation. We had at least 30 boats on the line every weekend. Great competition, great practice, with lots of starts.”

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