Webb Institute Sailing Team in 2019

Our coaches are professional sailors and boatbuilders who have extensive international and big boat experience. They have made extensive modifications to Desperado, the custom 40 we sail, and Peacemaker, a Ker 11.5.

Every aspect of the Webb sailing team has student involvement with proper guidance from our coaches and support staff. This prepares team members for lifelong success in sailing. Expectations are high for team members both on and off the water in terms of taking care of our boats, organizing our events, and running our yacht club.

Many teams can make you a great sailor, but Webb can teach you to be a great teammate, to take pride in the boats you sail, and even to run your own team.

For more information contact the Sailing Captain at ude.bbew@niatpacgnilias

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AYC Awards

Offshore Sailing

The Webb Offshore Sailing team provides a rigorous training program for sailors of all levels. With a packed spring and fall season, there are plenty of opportunities to get out on the water. The team practices a few times a week and races or practices most weekends on boats provided by North East Keelboat Alliance (NEKA). The team regularly sails six boats, Peacemaker (Kerr 11.5), Desperado (Custom 40), Defender (8 meter), Victian (Figaro 2), Williwaw (Figaro 2), and Hoonigan (J105). The team competes in all the major races in Long Island as well as Newport to Bermuda, and Block Island Race Week.

Recent Results: 1st in Class 2019 Vineyard, 1st in Class 2019 Block Island Race Week, 2nd in Class 2019 Block Island Race, 1st Place YCC Cup, 3rd in Class 2018 Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta, 2nd in Class 2018 Vineyard Race, 3rd in Class 2018 Newport to Bermuda Race, 1st in Class 2018 Block Island Race, 1st in Class 2017 Vineyard Race, 1st in Class 2017 Block Island Race.

Goldbach Boat House at Webb Institute

Yacht Club

All students at Webb are members of the Webb Yacht Club.  The Webb Yacht Club offers free access to all of its boats to the students of Webb. Only a short two minute walk from the classrooms, the Yacht Club makes it easy for all Webb students to get out on the water. The Yacht Club has a fleet of 8 420s, 2 lasers, 2 whalers, 4 kayaks and a Hobbie 16. The Yacht Club also has communal water skis and tubes that are available for student use.

Student Leadership

Ben Lilly

Ben Lilly ’22 – Offshore Team Captain and Fleet Captain

Ben Lilly is a member of Webb’s class of 2022. He is the Offshore Team Captain and the Fleet Captain, responsible for the maintenance of Webb’s dinghies.

Ben grew up sailing Lasers and 420s in Grand Rapids, MI. He spent his summers on the water, splitting his time between racing and coaching. He picked up sailboat maintenance along the way, working to maintain his club’s fleet of boats. He started sailing keelboats at Webb and has since logged over 2000nm between Desperado, Peacemaker, and the Figaro 2s. His most recent interest has been doublehanding on the Figaro 2s, a challenging discipline that has been extremely rewarding.

Eric Heilshorn

Eric Heilshorn ’23 – Dinghy Team Captain

Eric is in the class of 2023, and a co-captain of the dinghy team.

Eric has been sailing dinghies since he was 8 out of Portland, Maine. He has experience racing Optis, 420s, and Lasers. He also coached SailMaine’s Opti race team for the past couple of summers. For as many summers as he can remember, there have only been a handful of days where he has not been on the water. The location of his high school in Pennsylvania meant that he could not sail regularly, so Webb’s unparalleled access to the water is something he definitely does not take for granted.

Sailing and swimming are his favorite things to do at the yacht club, in addition to taking the whalers out and doing dinghy maintenance.

Liam Keady '22

Liam Keady ’22 – Motor Boat Captain

Liam is part of the class of 2022 and in his position as Motor Boat Captain, he is in charge of the upkeep and maintenance of the two Whalers kept at the Yacht Club. He grew up working on many different types of boats and self-taught himself how to work outboard engines and how to do Fiberglass work while helping his father work on his family boats.

Also at Webb, Liam is the captain of the Basketball team and a member of the Volleyball Team. He is also involved with the dinghy sailing team to provide the whalers as coach boats for practice

Webb Institute Professor Rick Royce

Professor Royce – Faculty Advisor

Professor Royce began sailing keelboats on the Great Lakes in 1977 on his father’s C&C 35. Up until 1994, he focused on sailing Thistles and Tartan Tens. In 1995, he began sailing a Taylor 40 in New Orleans, successfully competing in many local regattas. Since moving to Long Island, he has sailed on a variety of high-performance boats. He owns a Tripp 33 that served as Webb’s “big boat” up until 2015. Currently, he is the team’s tactician for buoy races and a navigator/driver for distance races.

He is a member of the Storm Trysail Club, New York Yacht Club, Glen Cove Yacht Club, and the YRALIS PHRF committee.

Meet the Fleet

Sailboat at Webb Institute


Webb has a fleet of 8 Club 420 which is the primary boat used for dinghy practices. One of the two common classes used for double-handed collegiate sailing, they place an emphasis on teamwork and coordination. During the fall and spring, the sailing team often holds practices on the 420’s each day where the weather permits.


Webb has several Lasers, a 14 foot singlehanded dinghy. Lasers offer high performance over a wide range of conditions, teaching finesse and patience in light wind, along with focus and resolve in heavy wind. They are sometimes used for dinghy team practices, but often taken out at others times for casual sailing. There are opportunities for collegiate Laser sailing for those who wish to sail the boats at a highly competitive level.

Hobbie 16

New to the Yacht Club, Webb has a Hobie 16 Turbo. A popular double-handed catamaran complete with jib and trapeze, the Hobie 16 is a fantastic boat for high speed but non-competitive sailing. It also provides a good platform for inexperienced crews to learn how to sail from a competent skipper.

Boston Whaler at Webb Institute


Webb has two Boston Whalers that get used for a variety of purposes. They are often taken out for watersports, such as water skiing and tubing. They are also used for coaching dinghy practices, and for general recreation.

Ker 11.5 Peacemaker at sea

Peacemaker, Ker 11.5

Peacemaker Webb’s inshore racing machine. This 37 foot high performance boat was relaunched in 2018 after an extensive refit by the Webb coaches and Webb students. With features like a custom spinnaker douse system designed by our coaches, Peacemaker is fully optimized for buoy racing. The refit was documented by a Webb student in a winter work blog Ben’s Blog.

Desperado at sea


Desperado is Webb’s custom offshore racer. Desperado began life as J120 but has seen received a massive overhaul by the Webb coaches. The shape of the bow and stern was modified for better downwind performance. A bulb keel and an extra deep rudder were installed. The J120 mast was replaced with a Farr 40 rig and a custom bow spirit was fitted. Work on Desperado never stops, with new features being added every season to get the most performance out of the boat. With a massive sail inventory, Desperado is weapon in long distance races. She is sailed in distances races in The Sound and surrounding ocean, along with the biennial Newport to Bermuda Race.

Figaro 2s at sea

Figaro 2

The Figaro 2 is one of the most popular shorthanded classes in the world. Many of the best offshore sailors in the world got their start on the Figaro 2. Webb sails them through the newly formed Collegiate Offshore Sailing Circuit, a program that gives college sailors valuable offshore experience in the one design class. COSC is bringing a revolutionary change to collegiate keelboat sailing, of which Webb is at the forefront. Webb has two Figaro 2s which allows us to gain a competitive edge practicing against each other. The 33 foot boats are designed with offshore reliability and safety in mind, providing an ideal learning platform for those who wish to get into competitive keelboat sailing.

8 Meter Defender at Sea


Defender is a newly built classic 8 Meter, complete with classic style rigging and sails. Raced in Oyster Bay’s classics series against other wooden boats, she provides an opportunity for those who want to spend time on the water in a less competitive racing environment.