Sailor Spotlight - Buzzy Reynolds

July 27, 2018 7:27:15 AM EDT

Sailor Spotlight:  Buzzy Reynolds


Buzzy Reynolds is undoubtedly one of the best sailors to come from Barngat Bay.  His experience in many boats - most notably the Finn - show his versatility and skill; the fact that he can be successful in so many classes is a testament to how good he is.  Now, Buzzy is recognized as the chair of the IHYC Junior Olympic Regatta, something he's been doing for over 20 years now.  Buzzy remains an avid racer and has a passion for the sport that is matched by few.  What makes Buzzy also special is his message for junior sailors:  sailing on Barnegat Bay will teach you the skills you need to go anywhere else in the world.

Name: Buzz Reynolds
Age: 63
School: University of Notre Dame
Yacht Club: Island Heights

1) Buzzy, you are Regatta Chairman for the Junior Olympics at Island Heights Yacht Club.  Can you give me some history on the event?  How long has it been going on?  When did it become a Junior Olympic event?  IHYC started the IHYC Invitational Regatta back in 1980 time-frame as a local junior regatta. Dick and Jerry Martin and the sailing instructors were the original organizers. Len Egee and Vicki Duff then took it over, and I got involved in 1997 when my oldest son turned nine. We then contacted US Sailing who was pushing the concept of a “Junior Olympics” as a feeder program to the USA Olympic team. I’ve been Chair of the Regatta since then working with over a 100 club volunteers.

IHYC Jr. Olympic Results

2) This year's event was very breezy.  As a regatta organizer, is that a good thing or a bad thing?  How do you think the regatta went?  What were some highlights for you?  This year was a challenge as we had consistent 15 to 25 knot winds from the southeast for both days. Fortunately, the forecasted lightening and rains never materialized. While we had our share of carnage on the race courses the coaches and patrol  boats did a great job of helping the sailors and keeping everyone safe. We had 258 boats with about 310 sailors on three courses. Heavy air is definitely more fun for the sailors than light air, and they come back because of Barnegat Bay's reputation for heavy air.

While some might criticize the RC for continuing to run races in the extreme heavy air, we feel that we should challenge the sailors and let them deal with adversity. The less experienced drop out but the top sailors love it. It was interesting to see that though the wind was the same on both days the sailors handled their boats much better on day two.

3) Many people might not know just how good of a sailor you are.  Can you give me a quick summary of your Olympic level sailing and what you sailed growing up?  I was very fortunate to have parents that totally supported my sailing passion. My father started taking me out sailing in a small  dinghy when I was three, and I joined the IHYC sailing program when I was 7 sailing a “diamond” duck-boat. I progressed to an M-scow when I was 12 and Lasers when I was 16 -- coming in third place in the first US Youth Championship in 1973. I competed in college at Notre Dame for four years and  was an All-American my senior year. From there I caught the Olympic fever  and competed in the Finn class for ten years where I won a North American Championship and had 6 top ten finishes in the Worlds with my best being a third place in 1983 in Holland. I also did 2 Olympic campaigns.  In 1980 I finished 3rd.  In 1984 I was declared the winner of the trials at its conclusion after the first place finisher was disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct (who, ironically, I just ran into for the first time in 30 years at the TRYC BBYRA day sailing Witch). After numerous lawsuits with varying outcomes an arbitration panel on the evening before the Los Angeles Games opened awarded the Olympic berth to the second place finisher.(That sailor won a Silver medal losing to a young sailor from New Zealand named Russell Coutts who went on to win several America’s Cups!)  In 1986 I represented the USA at the Goodwill Games in Russia and came in third. Back surgery forced my retirement from the Finn class, and I started sailing an Escow in 1987.   For 20 years I competed winning several Eastern E scow Championships and placing in the top 10 at Nationals several time. Since then I have been crewing on the A cat Tamwock  trying to make her competitive and having fun.

4) This year you are also racing an MC Scow in the BBYRA.  It's really cool to see a new fleet added to the Saturday racing.  Tell me about the fleet and how it's going.  We’ve had about 8-9 boats on the starting line each week which is fantastic for a new class.  The  MC scow integrates all the attributes of the boats I’ve raced for over 50 years-Laser, Finn, M and E scow so it’s perfect for me and the BBYRA.  It’s also wonderful to see smaller similarly aged sailors with crew competing on an even basis. The great thing is the older boats are still competitive with the newer hulls which is healthy for the class.

5) Your son, Tod, is very involved with the Chicago Match Race Center.  Tod is a perfect example of someone who grew up sailing in our area who has moved into a cool sailing field.  What's he involved with out there and how is it going?  Well when I grow up I want to be my son! He’s been the executive Director of the Chicago Match Race Center since graduating from Northwestern as an electrical engineer. Besides managing and racing all over the world promoting the CMRC, he organized the Americas Cup World Series event in Chicago two years ago. Based on that experience he organized the Chicago bid to host the Americas Cup. Unfortunately, New Zealand won the AC’s in Bermuda and decided to host the AC themselves. Right now he’s crewing on the Chicago to Mackinaw race.  His Barnegat Bay racing experience in Optimists, Lasers and E-scows definitely gave him the confidence to sail anywhere in the world in any kind of condition on any kind of boat.

One last word I’d like to mention is that we all need to continue to maintain the Corinthian spirit in the Bay and to give back to the sport. I was lucky to have Cliff Campbell and Gary Jobson be mentors of mine. They were always willing to share their ideas, constructive thoughts and boats to me as a young whippersnapper. I’ve tried to follow their example by giving back to the sport -organizing the first World Sailing Championship for Special Olympics in 1996, running the IHYC Junior Olympics for 20 years and serving on the US Olympic Committee Executive Board from 1984-1988.

Posted in News By

Colie Sails