Sunfish Adventure Raid Recap: Pt 1

It was 4:30am and I was only functioning thanks to a strong cocktail of caffeine and adrenaline. After what felt like months of day dreaming about an idyllic regatta from the glory day and a few weeks of trying to tackle the insanity of the logistics to recreate it, we were about to show up to the event with the full knowledge we had no idea how this would pan out. Driving north with trucks full of packed coolers and more tool boxes than staff, we figured there was no issue that couldn’t be fixed with a solution of duct tape and beer. Speaking of which, event Koozies will definitely have to be an addition for next year.


As with most great things in life, the Sunfish Adventure Raid was born out of jest, which naturally turned into a, “well, why not?”. After stumbling across an article in ‘87s Sail Magazine, “A Mighty Good Time,” that detailed and displayed the notorious debauchery and shenanigans of the Sunfish Connecticut River Classic, and my subsequent sharing it into the wonderful world of Facebook, we were jokingly asked to recreate the infamous event.


Serendipitously for the aforementioned Facebook commenter, I spoke in passing of their request to some LaserPerformance superiors, and after a good laugh and some dreadfully boring meetings (plus a bit of very ill-informed advice on the supposedly minimal effort this would take to pull off), a budget was in place and a date was set.


Naturally, as the Raid approached, mother nature didn’t want to cooperate, and the weather began to turn worse and worse. We woke up early the morning of to a heinous report of severe thunderstorms both days of the regatta. Now this event isn’t just a lovely weekend cruise down the Connecticut River on your Sunfish with the best of friends and family to celebrate the start of summer; sailors are expected to carry all their equipment and provisions for the regatta, as well as all their gear to set up camp overnight on the banks of the River. That’s where the “Adventure” part comes in.


Surprisingly, the number of sign ups we had for the event was far and beyond what we had expected. As it was the first year it was being revived and as we hadn’t ever run a regatta like this before we wanted to muddle our way through the first year before we subjected a large number of participants to our chaos. As the event drew closer and the weather became nastier and nastier, we had a large number of people chicken out or straight up ask us to cancel. Well here at LaserPerformance we are staffed with a healthy number of salty, hardened sailors and despite the lightning and downpour forecasted, we were assured that the regatta was to go on and we really shouldn’t be so concerned over some light drizzle and potential of some staticky hair.


So here I am, driving up to Essex, Connecticut at the crack of dawn to drop the truck, and load up on a big yellow school bus as our shuttle (who’s captain doesn’t dispel reminders of Miss. Frizzle) to Hartford, Connecticut where we are to begin our journey down the river and come out the other end with more ridiculous, absurd, outlandish, and magical stories to add to the legend of this fabulous regatta.