By William Sabanski
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – The Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club’s Ms. Race celebrated its 10-year anniversary Saturday, Aug. 17, with a successful race and fundraising event for 180 Turning Lives Around.
In recognition of its 10th sailing and continued growth and success, the theme for this year’s Ms. Race was Celebrating a Perfect 10. The day’s events proved to be a “perfect 10″ in more ways than one.
An afternoon of sunny skies and a moderate breeze of 10 knots greeted the captains and crews for the start of the race. A fleet of nine boats with 67 women aboard, provided plenty of action and made for high-spirited racing fun. It was the second largest contingent of boats in the race’s history.
The Ms. Race is an all-women’s event. Boats are crewed by women only. The event’s slogan is “Women Racing for Women.”
The overall winner was Emily Smith on Radiant, a J-29. Karin Ruffus on Moondance, a Tartan 372, took line honors (1st to finish) and placed second on adjusted time, with Eileen Campbell on CODA, a C&C 33, in third.
Each year the Ms. Race hosts young women form the Atlantic Highlands Sailing Education Program (AHSEP) placing 12 accomplished sailors from the program in crews on the boats.
The number of women and boats increased in 2014 from last year, as the local fleets continue to rebuild from Sandy.
This year the Ms. Race returned to its previous levels of participation with renewed excitement and support for the sailors and 180 Turning Lives Around, a Monmouth County organization. The 180 organization assists victims of domestic and sexual abuse and violence. Its programs include counseling, transitional and safe housing, court liaison, hotlines, response teams, therapy and training.
Lauren Brajer from 180 spoke at the post event, pointing out that “1-in-4 women suffer from some form of domestic violence at some point” and praising the women sailors for their support.
Sailors, families and friends gathered at the club after the race to celebrate the winning Ms. Race crews and show their support for 180 Turning Lives Around. Georgi Munger from the North Jersey Yacht Racing Association shared that the prestigious Adams Trophy, first commissioned in 1959, has been repurposed and will be awarded to the top finisher of this year’s Ms. Race.
The evening’s post race dinner and fundraiser proved successful in adding to the more than $65,000 raised over the previous nine years through the event.
The Ms. Race by provided a “picture perfect” afternoon with an enthusiastic race and a great evening event coupled by a successful fundraiser for 180 Turning Lives Around. The day added up to “A Perfect 10.”