The Awards Dinner by Gilles Carter

The 2008-2009 Annual ATB Awards Dinner Party


            On Saturday, February 28th., almost 100  boisterous ATB sailors celebrated the 2008 season at the Annual Awards Dinner Party which was again hosted at the Branford Yacht Club. Each and every year this lively annual event has gained in significance and momentum as it honors those sailors and yachts that performed well in both the ATB Summer and Fall Series and in the Overall-Combined. This year was certainly no exception. Indeed, the competitive tradition, though still spiritually rooted in “beer can racing” has unquestionably grown into so much more.


            Besides enjoying the company of fellow ATB racers, and honoring award-winners, the evening had other important aspects including fund-raising for the ATB itself and promoting this year’s hugely important charity events, the Leukemia Cup and the Wellness Cup.

             ATB’s smooth-talking Don O’Brien greeted partygoers at the door and emptied their pockets to the tune of over $1100. worth of raffle tickets. Wow! Thank you Don! Few in our midst could have accomplished the same. It should be noted that this dinner is the primary fund-raiser for the ATB and ensures its ongoing success.

             While waiting for the first-class buffet expertly catered by Eli’s, partygoers were treated to a spectacular video montage of ATB action filmed by Eric Treu of Nomade, Teri & Pete Brinkley of Wild Eyes, and Edgar Smith of Wasabi and edited by Edgar. If you want a copy - (fun!) - it should soon be available on the website for a small contribution to the ATB. The video was shot over 2007-2009 and according to Edgar “included almost every boat.” 

             As the dinner moved towards dessert, the awards ceremony began. Master of Ceremonies Eric Treu, and the charming Lisa Grey kept it lively as they awarded fourteen trophies . ( See results page)

             Several speakers and award-winners throughout the evening noted that as the ATB has grown and matured over the last 25 years, more yachts have joined, excellent crews have formed, and the competition has stiffened. Other Connecticut yacht clubs now readily acknowledge that Branford has become THE hotbed of sail racing in eastern Connecticut.


            Manfred Noack noted that the Branford Yacht Club won the Eastern Connecticut  Sailing Association (ESCA) trophy for the best team of four boats in 2008 (En Charette, Sagacious, Smoke, and Park Place). Meltemi, Wild Eyes, Golden Rule and Spectre were also in the top 30 yachts overall. This was the THE FIRST TIME EVER that BYC/ATB won the award for the top fleet!  Gene Festa attributed this ECSA success to all the wonderful ATB racing on Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Gene also noted how quickly the ATB racing has grown since Eric Treu took the helm.

Wasabi and Edgar Smith took home the top prize for the overall championship. He thanked his crew, especially his father, Gaddis Smith “for telling us which way to go”, to Robert Johnson “for making sure we go there fast” and of course... “to the guys on Smoke for having a 15% penalty!”

As a special “Lifetime Achievement” award went to David Seligson of Leda, the crowd applauded and cheered loudly while giving a standing ovation. David thanked his talented crew and the other “Branford River Racers.”

Don O’Obrien MC’d the raffle portion of the evening- as many great prizes were  distributed. Highlights included a CD player from West Marine won by Carlo Marchi of Caranita, a boat-hauling by Dutch Wharf won by.... ???  and a Garmin GPS won by Eric.

Kudos to Eric Treu and all who helped organize and set up! We’re already looking forward to the 2009 season. See you on the water!

Many, thanks to the friends and sponsors of ATB that supplied prizes (see sponsor listings) and everyone who helped.


This article was graciously written by Gilles Carter from Sagacious.Thank you.

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