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Noted historian John Rousmaniere will present the inaugural lecture in the Geller Nautical Lecture Series on Thursday, Jan. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Port Washington Public Library. The lecture is free and open to the public. Photo courtesy of Sandra Cannon

Many local sailors remember Norman Geller, who was an active member of the Port Washington YC, and won one of the club's highest honors in yachting in 2000, the Everett B. Morris Trophy for Overall Contribution to Yachting. That pretty much sums up who Norman Geller was - an avid power and sail boater, who loved the waters off Long Island, from sailboat racing on Manhasset Bay, to cruising the ports of Long Island Sound and fishing offshore. He was committed to safe boating and education. In addition to membership in PWYC, he was an active member of the Nautical Advisory Council and the U.S. Power Squadron. And most important of all, he was the quintessential family man, who not only introduced his children to sailing, but included them on his sails. He died in 2004.

In Norman's memory, the Nautical Advisory Council of the Port Washington Library is very proud to present the inaugural lecture of the Geller Nautical Lecture Series on Thursday, Jan. 15. Noted historian John Rousmaniere will present "The Golden Pastime: Fine Yachts and Great Yachtsmen," where he interweaves the stories of three sailing icons - the New York Yacht Club, the Newport-Bermuda Race and a classic yacht. At the end of the lecture, John will be pleased to autograph and inscribe books after his talk.

In a press release, John Rousmaniere wrote the following: a sailor was once asked after a Bermuda Race if he had enjoyed himself. "God, no, it was terrible!" he shouted. "I'll be damned if I'll do it again until two years from now." The 635-mile biennial Newport Bermuda Race is so difficult that sailors ask themselves, "Why am I out here?," yet so addictive that they keep coming back to see what else the Gulf Stream can dish out.

Author of the official centennial history of the famous "thrash to the Onion Patch," race veteran John Rousmaniere explains the addiction in his illustrated talk, "A Berth to Bermuda." Through wild stories and breathtaking photographs, we experience the quirks, the miseries, and the joys of the world's oldest regularly scheduled ocean race.

Writer-sailor John Rousmaniere's books include Fastnet, Force 10 (hailed by the Los Angeles Times as "a narrative worthy of the best sea literature"), Sleek, In a Class by Herself, After the Storm, The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, and (most recently) The New York Yacht Club: A History. He has sailed in eight Newport Bermuda Races, three times in prizewinners.

John will be here to tell us all about his adventures on the high seas and give the audience a historical perspective, as only he can do. This is a tremendous opportunity to get "up close and personal" with the famous John Rousmaniere, and the Nautical Center is quite proud to begin the Geller Nautical Lecture Series with John at the helm.

So the place to be on Thursday, Jan. 15 is the Port Washington Public Library, 7:30 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public. The Geller Nautical Lecture Series is funded by private donations made in Norman Geller's name. The Nautical Advisory Council is funded by private donations to the Port Washington Library Foundation.

As reported by John Silbersack: This year's Annual Frostbite Regatta, the 78th, was to be held on Thursday, Jan. 1 and Saturday, Jan. 3. but weather conditions were unpromising as the New Year dawned. A gusty west wind blowing a steady 18-23 knots pummeled the yacht club dock with batteries of whitecaps breaking over the wave attenuator. Temperatures rose slowly from 14 degrees F at 9 a.m. but not enough to melt the thick ice covering Krause's Kastle and dinghy float. Racing for the day was initially postponed at 11:30 and canceled at 1:15.

Saturday was barely an improvement. A strong WSW breeze of 15-20, gusting to 24 knots, challenged the fleets but the temperature hovered at a relatively balmy 28 F. Seven past Commodores of the Frostbite Yacht Club made it to the starting line for the traditional Past Commodores Race. As the contestants neared the leeward mark the gusts began exceeding 25 and after Paul-Jon Patin successfully guided IC #17 to victory.

Racing was postponed and all competitors made for shore. The Interclub Fleet was not to be done out of a regatta, however, since Principal Race Officer Sue Miller kept an eye on the wind gauge and found a window in late afternoon to send the sailors back on the water. Amidst much carnage (four capsizes overall for the day) 10- ICs managed to eek out two races before charging back to the shore.

The Annual Meeting of the Frostbite Yacht Club followed racing on Saturday. Matthew Kelley was elected Commodore for 2009. Committee Reports were heard from Treasurer Bob Mitchell, Measurer John Browning and Special Awards Chair Stephen Moore. Awards were then presented to the winners: In the IC Dinghy fleet: "A" Fleet: 1. Kevin Morgan/Kelly Mockridge. 2. Steve Benjamin/Austin Schaefer, and 3. Simon Strauss/Kayleigh Campbell. In the "B" fleet: 1.Ted Toombs/Jenny McCarthy, and 2. Jamie Anderson/Donna-Marie Cipollone.

Full information about the new flag officers of the Frostbite YC did not meet deadline and will be reported on next week, as will some of the awards and photos from the event.


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