ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – The mother- daughter team of  Kim Sinatra and crew from Raritan Yacht Club took top honors in this year’s Ms. Race sponsored by the Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club.  Funds from the annual Charity Regatta, as is traditional, benefitted 180 Turning Lives Around, the organization protecting, advocating and supporting victims of domestic violence and rape in the community.

Lynn Lucarelli,  Director of Development for 180 Turning Lives Around, and Development Manager Amanda Finn expressed their thanks for the benefit and praised the sailors, sponsors and donors whose generosity  helped raise over $15,000 for this year’s event, bringing the total the Ms Race has raised over the past 15 years to  more than $155,000.

Sinatra and her team crossed the finish line in their 11129, Smokin’ J, edging out last year’s winner, Ann Myer on the J-1105 Magic.  Third place honors went to Karen Harris and her team on her J120 Cygni in a close match and exhilarating 45 second showdown at the race finish with Overlap and Saint of Circumstance.  Donna Syers on Overlap hosted 9 junior girls from the Toms River and Island Heights Yacht Clubs learning the ropes of sailing from the other 15 women crew members onboard.    It was an enthusiastic group of local female sailors who gathered for the 15th annual event whose theme was Sailing Strong for 15 Years.

The event is geared to empower women by building confidence in seamanship and teamwork and racing with an all-woman crew.

Captains and crews gathered at the yacht club, located in the Municipal Yacht Harbor, and started with   a breakfast sponsored by local business and leaders, for an instructive Captain’s meeting. Seasoned J24 race captain, past AH Yacht Club Commodore and former Ms RACE winner Elaine Haher, coached the sailors and peppered the instructions with stories from her sailing experience.  Capt. Brian Gillen and his crew from the Latitude met the sailors on the launch pier for a requisite celebratory beverage prior to kickoff.

Once on the water, the teams from three local clubs participating in the event sailed up and down the start/finish line awaiting their turns for the Pursuit Race, with a 6 knot breeze. Course 2 had gentle breezes and occasional light air and fog adding to the challenge on the downwind leg at the G17 buoy and tip of Sandy Hook.

Race committee members included Dick Muise, Andrew Roberts and Sam Oncea, who handled the committee boat and got the race underway,  spectator boat captains Jack Flannery and Bev Holcomb, Curtis Sawyer, Bob and Kay Curtiss, Susan Hillers and Tom Gardner.

The awards ceremony, music by DJ Bill Sabanski and the presentation of trophies took place immediately after the race finish at the Yacht Club. Commodore Chris Stone was on hand to congratulate all the competitors, and Chef Jonathan Jimenez prepared appetizers from race donors to complete the post-race activities and celebrations.  Featured dessert was a cake complete with the MS race and logo along with Sailing Strong created by Committee member Jean Evertsen. A live auction followed.  Sponsors  include Two River Community Bank, the Platinum Event Sponsor and premium and event sponsors AT&T, Construction Risk Partners, Koi Sushi and Hibachi Restaurant, Lockwood Boat Works, Miller & Gaudio, McQue Captains Agency, The Ocean is Female, Offshore Sailing School, Pettit, Tomaro Financial Group, Top Notch Audio, Withum, Zager Fuchs Agency and also the Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club a s well as 180 Turning Lives Around.   AHYC club member Denise Mumm  designed the cover art for this year’s sponsor guide. Her Ms. Race artwork is on display at the club with proceeds going to 180 Turning Lives Around.

Organizing committee members were  Kay Curtiss, Evertsen, Haher, Karen Harris, Beverly Holcomb, Janice Miller, Liz Moss, Helen Parker, LuAnn Rathemacher, Bill Sabanski, Emily Smith and Donna Syers.   Sandy Levine, who crewed on Cygni, did a photo and video shoot to document the Ms. Race. And special thanks were given Aleen and Steve Colitz for their vision, support and generosity for the Ms. Race and 180 Turning Lives Around over the years since the race inception.

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Muriel J. Smith

Muriel J Smith

Muriel J Smith an award-winning journalist, former newspaper editor, book author and historian, Her newest venture is her blog, in...