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Off to the Races at Larchmont Yacht Club

LARCHMONT, N.Y. - Laura Lobben set sail from the Larchmont Yacht Club for her first weekend race during Race Week, which kicked of it's 113th year of races along the Long Island Sound, Saturday.

"I've been a member since I was born," said Lobben, who crewed a Vanguard 15 with Sam Blouin from Tampa Bay, Florida. "This is my first time racing on the weekend, but I've done the junior race program for years."

Adults race on July 16-17 and July 23-24. In between, 480 kids descend on the Larchmont Yacht Club for Junior Race Week from Monday to Wednesday, race committee member Cynthia Parthemos said. Thursday, 200 kids between nine and 15 will race using Optimist boats on Opti Day, followed by a Safety at Sea Seminar on Friday.

The Vanguard 15s are the smallest sail boats in the water, but they are the largest One Design fleet this year. All 22 compete against each other in a circular path just past the break point in the Sound, where a committee boat marks the start and finish line.

There are three committee boats for the three circles, which the various divisions use to race. While Lobben was in the One Design division, Andrew Young was one of a five-man crew racing in the Senior One Design division with a boat called a Shields -- and named Rascal. Young also grew up in Lachmont racing at the Larchmont Yacht Club's Junior Race Week, and has sailed with this boat, co-owned by Larchmont resident Dual Macintyre, for five years.

The Shields boats are named for Cornelius Shields, a legendary yachtman who belonged to the Larchmont Yact Club, raced in the America's Cup yacht races and commissioned the first of the small sailing yachts named in his honor.

Young's fellow crew member Scott Tompkins wanted to get in two races Saturday, but, like several divisions, the 12-boat fleet start time was postponed due to a lack of wind, which the club signals by lowering the flag on the post.

"Usually what they do is they won't start unless there's five knots of wind," said Chris Tella, a member of the Old Greenwich Yacht Club, who was sailing a boat in the One Design division called an Ideal 18.

The flag was raised back up shortly after noon, allowing several races, including the Ideal 18s and Vanguard 15s, to get under way in the three different circles. Earlier in the day, the Cruisers and Classic boats, which are two divisions of larger boats, began their heeps. Those two divisions, along with the Vanguard 15s, Ideal 18s, One Designs and Senion One Designs will each crown winners July 24, after the final races.

Have you been sailing on the Sound, or participated in the Larchmont Yacht Club's Race Week? Comment below, on Facebook or Twitter .

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