Tonight's the night to be over at the Port Washington Public Library. The Nautical Advisory Council is so very pleased to have John Rousmaniere, noted historian and avid sailor, speaking at 7:30 p.m. on "The Golden Pastime: Fine Yachts and Great Yachtsmen." John will interweave the stories of three sailing icons - the New York Yacht Club, the Newport-Bermuda Race and the classic yacht, Bolero. John is the historian for the NYYC, so his perspective on the history of the club will be first rate. John has raced in many Newport-Bermuda races and his book A Berth to Bermuda, captures the excitement of this legendary race. Bolero, a classic "maxi" racer, designed by Sparkman & Stephens, Inc. and built in 1949 for a prominent Newport yachtsman, is 73.5 ft LOA (length overall) with a LWL (waterline length) of 51 feet. When she was built, she was considered the ultimate example of an ocean racer in the 1950's. In 2000, major restoration was carried out at Brewer Pilots Point Marina in Westbrook, CT. She is now fully restored and owned by an east coast yachtsman.
John Rousmaniere has written 26 books, mostly about boats. They include Fastnet, Force 10, After the Storm, and The Annapolis Book of Seamanship. Your columnist has read the first two books and highly recommends them - they are very exciting to read. And rumor has it that the Annapolis Book of Seamanship is a book that should be on every sailor/racers bookshelf, along with Chapman Piloting and Seamanship, of course. John was raised on boats on Long Island and now lives in Manhattan with his wife, Leah. He has raced or cruised more than 40,000 miles and often speaks of safety at sea seminars.
This is a lecture that you don't want to miss. It is free and open to the public. For all you sailor/racers out there - and everyone else who is interested in all things nautical - why not leave the warmth of your home and let John Rousmaniere take you on an incredible journey as he delights the audience with his first-hand information about beautiful yachts, the lure of the Newport-Bermuda Race, and that august institution on West 44th Street in NYC (and also in Newport), the New York YC. For those of us who are in the doldrums missing our sailing "fix," this could be just what the doctor ordered. See you tonight!
The America's Cup Hall of Fame, located in Bristol Rhode Island, is pleased to announce the induction of John Longley and the late Thomas Ratsey at a black-tie dinner on April 30. The 16th Induction Ceremony, presented by Rolex Watch USA and hosted at the New York Yacht Club in New York City, will also honor the late John Biddle for his 2008 induction into the Hall of Fame.
Spanning more than 40 years as the foremost yachting cinematographer-lecturer, John Biddle (1936-2008) sailed with Ted Turner, Dennis Conner, Ted Hood and dozens of other skippers on the U.S. east coast, Great Lakes, and west coast. He raced to Bermuda 11 times, was aboard the winning yacht to Halifax in 1957, cruised among the icebergs off the coasts of Labrador and Greenland, sailed the SORC several times, and crewed aboard square-riggers in the North Sea.
John Longley (1945 - ) is a veteran of five Australian campaigns for the America's Cup, including four straight Cup Matches, winning the Cup in 1983. After his career as a 12-Metre Class sailor and team manager, he contributed to the America's Cup by participating in the development of the America's Cup Class. John Longley's involvement in the 1983 Australia II campaign marked the high point of his career as a yachtsman. Longley helped Skipper John Bertrand select the crew for Australia II; he choreographed the team's actions for tacking, jibing and other maneuvers via detailed step-by-step instructions; and served in the crew as a grinder. In 1984, Longley was made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his services to yachting. He is currently serving as the event director for the ISAF Sailing World Championships to be held in Fremantle in 2011.
Thomas Ratsey's (1851-1935) career spans the classic era of the America's Cup. His entry into the family business at 15 heralded one of the most important contributions to America's Cup sailmaking made by a single individual. He was directly involved in seven challenges and the firm he controlled supplied sails for 10 challengers and four defenders during his lifetime. At first, Ratsey's firm was in the shadow of the Lapthorn loft, but such was his promise that the latter initiated an 1882 merger to form the long-lived firm of Ratsey & Lapthorn. Tom Ratsey was then personally responsible for the sails of every challenger until Shamrock IV after his first involvement crewing on Livonia at age 20. His continuous involvement with the Cup began with the Thistle challenge of 1887 when his close friend G. L. Watson involved him in his designs at an early stage; his presence in New York during that challenge laid the foundations of many lifelong friendships and Ratsey & Lapthorn's US expansion.
Tickets are available by contacting the America's Cup Hall of Fame at 401-253-5000 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to:www.herreshoff.org
While on the subject of the America's Cup Hall of Fame, there is a new book out by one of the Hall of Fame inductees. The late Edward I. du Moulin, a member of Knickerbocker YC, New York YC, Storm Trysail Club, and an honorary member of both Manhasset Bay YC and Port Washington YC, lived in Sands Point for many years, and sailed and raced his Lady Del on Manhasset Bay and Long Island Sound, and cruised to other ports on the eastern seaboard. During the last few years of his life, he wrote a book and his son, Richard, has had it published by the Herreshoff Museum. It is called My Life, and is a chronicle of his life, told in Ed's self-deprecating, appreciative and humorous style. It is also a chronicle of an important part of American history, which is interwoven through stories of his friends and family. With Ed's nearly photographic memory, the book is full of wonderful stories and interesting people. The time frame includes the Roaring 20s, the Great Depression, World War II, and the family-sailing-career years thereafter.
Ed's estate paid for the entire cost of publishing My Life and all proceeds from the sale benefit the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, RI, where Ed and Halsey Herreshoff founded the America's Cup Hall of Fame. For more information about the book and the Herreshoff Marine Museum, go to www.herreshoff.org, 401-253-5000.