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Lord family tied to Cape May through annual sailing regatta

Lord family tied to Cape May through annual sailing regatta

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Cape May's Tom Lord skippered a J70 sailboat named "Carlos" during the 13th Cape to Cape Challenge regatta earlier this month.

According to Lord, who leases it from owner Mike Sudofsky for various races, it's named for legendary rock guitarist Carlos Santana.

"Oye Como Va."

Lord, 59, won the 17-mile race across the Delaware Bay from Cape May to Lewes, Delaware, for the second straight year, thus retaining possession of a cup that is on display at Corinthian Yacht Club of Cape May.

The event featured 17 boats in three classes — Class A Racer Cruiser, Class B Performance Cruiser-Spinnaker and Class C Performance Cruiser-Non Spinnaker — with the times adjusted by the ORR EZ rating system to reflect the size and speed of the boats.

Lord was credited with a time of 2 hours, 3 minutes, 7 seconds. Patricia Schulze/Matthew York from CYCCM, the 2019 champions aboard the J70 "Mini Max," took second in 2:04:32. Cape May's John Wilsey, the 2016 winner, placed third aboard the J70 "Goofyfoot" in 2:05:39.

The event alternates crossings each year. In 2020, Lord and his crew — Rob Wilson, Carol Davis and John Davis — led the way from Lewes to Cape May.

The annual competition between the two yacht clubs began in 2009, when Lord and former Lewes commodore Nick Carter sought to promote more interest in offshore sailing.

"We originally wanted to call it the 'Booze Cruise to Lewes,'" Lord said with a laugh. "The Lewes Yacht Club informed us that the name is pronounced 'Lewis' and not 'Lose.' We couldn't think of anything that rhymed with Lewis, so we had to come up with a different name."

In addition to being teammates, Lord and Wilson are also best friends dating back to high school in Radnor, Pennsylvania, when they won the GP-14 junior nationals and were awarded a scholarship to compete in the World Championship in Scotland.

Wilson was Lord's best man at his 1991 wedding to Gigi Wark, and Lord served the same role in Wilson's wedding a few years later.

Lord and his siblings — sister Susan (Reilly), brothers Jack IV and Brad — have had salt water in their veins for practically their entire lives.

The backyard of the Lord summer home in Cape May, now owned by Tom and Gigi, has been connected to the Weinberg's yard since 1963, when mom and dad paid $10,000 for a home on the corner of Maryland and Trenton avenues.

Our garage had a basketball hoop nailed to the front and also served as the neighborhood weight room during the late 1970s/early 1980s. The Lords' seemingly always had a sailboat in the driveway.

We spent summer evenings spent playing Wiffle Ball in their backyard, where a home run off the Lord's garage roof would produce a yell of "Ballantine Blast!" from Mr. Lord. During the day, my younger brothers Mark and Paul and I could be found at the Philadelphia Avenue beach or playing baseball in a patch of grass behind the Christian Admiral Hotel. Susan, Jack, Tom and Brad were always at the Yacht Club.

"I started going there when I was 9 years old (in 1972), when mom (Judy) and dad (Jack III) would drop us off for sailing camp," Tom said. "We would spend all day there and eventually we became instructors. The funny part about it was mom and dad didn't know how to sail."

Tom's brother Jack recently bought his own J70.

It's named, "Hey Jude," after their mom.

The eight surviving grandchildren have kept up the family tradition. All learned how to sail there and also served as instructors.

Sailing was also partly responsible for Tom's and Gigi's first meeting. Gigi, who spent her summers at Avalon Yacht Club, was visiting her former college roommate and they were at a bar in Pennsylvania when Gigi accidentally bumped into a blonde guy wearing a polo shirt with "CYCCM" embroidered on the front.

"I said to him, 'Is that Corinthian Yacht Club of Cape May?' Gigi said. "When he said 'Yes,' I said, 'Too bad, because Avalon Yacht Club's better!' And I walked away. My friend and I left the bar, but wound up going back a little while later and Tom and I started talking."

They celebrated their 30th anniversary on May 31.

Gigi no longer sails, preferring to spend her spare time at the beach. But there is one more trip on tap.

"When we got married, I asked her to sail around the world with me someday," Tom said.

Sounds like the makings of a fantastic voyage.

David Weinberg's columns can also be found on his Dave Weinberg Extra Points Facebook page and blog, as well as on 973ESPN.com. His podcast, Dave Weinberg's Tequila and Touchdowns, can be heard on Anchor, Facebook and Twitter. You can also hear him 5:10 p.m. every Monday at Newstalk 1400-AM WOND and WONDRadio.com on Off the Press with Scott Cronick. His Weinberg Wednesday segment airs at 6:15 p.m. weekly on 97.3-FM ESPN.

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