Sports

Last Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous day. Bright sunshine with a few white clouds to break the blue expanse of the sky greeted those who took the time to enjoy a perfect spring day. Down by the water, a few sailboats dotted the horizon and closer to shore could be seen two kayakers on their way out of the bay for a nice afternoon on the water. And there was wind! Wind that caressed one's face and brought images to mind of spending a day on the water. The urge to hop in a boat and take an afternoon sail was overwhelming. But it shouldn't be too long now until we can get our boats ready for the season and take that first sail. Spring is such a hopeful season, and for sailors, that means time on the water with family and friends, enjoying the gifts from Mother Nature as she weaves her magic on Manhasset Bay.

While those of us were enjoying viewing our bay, there were some lucky sailors actually out on the water competing in the 2009 Interclub National Championship at Larchmont YC. This two-day weekend brought out a huge fleet of racers, sailing in 11 races in IC Dinghies, the same boat raced here on our bay during the winter months. 55 boats from several yacht clubs joined the 29 boats that hailed from Larchmont YC, and came from clubs along the eastern seaboard. Danny Pletsch and Kari Sachs, LYC, won the event. Molly and John Baxter, from Greenwich, CT, who have raced here in our bay at the New Year's Regatta, came in second overall. Racing was so close that it took a victory for the Baxters in the 11th race to secure their second place. And just to put this all in perspective, the Baxters won the last two national championships for Interclub racers. Next up on the leader board, with a third place finish, is our own Pedro Lorson and Mimi Berry. Fourth place went to David Down and Tricia Leicht, Larchmont YC. Other familiar names who did well at the Nationals were Paul Jon Patin and Anne Patin, LYC, fifth, and Steve Benjamin and Charlie McHugh, seventh. In addition to Pedro Lorson and Mimi Berry, Ted Toombs and Jenny McCarthy, Kevin Morgan and Kelly Mockridge, and John Silbersack and Amelia Amon represented our bay.

The 10th Anniversary Jackson Cup Team Racing regatta was held last weekend also. Hosted by Boston YC, Marblehead, MA, our friends at Seawanhaka Corinthian beat out New York YC after two day of racing, and a tightly fought final. The field of eight clubs included the Royal Thames YC, London; The Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron, Halifax; Boston Yacht Club, Eastern YC, Marblehead, MA; Larchmont YC, Southern YC, New Orleans, and New York YC. Results: 1. Seawanhaka, 2. New York, 3. Boston, 4. Royal Thames, 5. Eastern, 6. Larchmont, 7. Southern, and 8. Royal Nova Scotia.

The Jackson Cup, named in honor of the late Past Commodore Dr. Robert F. Jackson, (1993-94), is an annual invitational team race challenge by the Boston Yacht Club to other clubs and organizations. The teams selected for the challenge are chosen for having demonstrated high racing skill and the Corinthian spirit. The event was inaugurated in 1999 and is held in April each year. It is sailed in Sonar class boats.

With Earth Day's arrival April 22, the BoatUS Foundation plans to honor those who have made a significant contribution towards improving waterway health and educating boaters on how to minimize their environmental impact. Any group, organization, company, marina or individual who has worked hard to make a difference is eligible for the 2009 BoatUS Foundation Environmental Leadership Award. The recipient also receives $1,000 to help continue their environmental efforts. The deadline to apply is June 30, 2009.

"We are looking for nominees who have had a real impact," said Susan Shingledecker, assistant vice president and director of environmental programs for the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. "For example, the award could go to a group that has cleaned up miles of beaches, a hometown marina that has led the way in helping keep our waterways clean, or a boat club member who has spearheaded a local environmental education campaign," she added. The award was created to complement the efforts of the BoatUS Foundation, which has a long history of working with waterway users, marinas, and local organizations throughout the country to help bring environmental messages directly to boaters. Applications and more information about the award are available at http://BoatUS.com/Foundation. Any questions may be directed to Shingledecker at SShingledecker@BoatUS.com.

If anyone is looking for something to do on Monday, April 27, here is an idea for you: The Volvo Ocean Race will complete Leg Six from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Boston, MA. This 4,900 nm leg is estimated to finish in Boston on the 27th. The Volvo Ocean Race is an exceptional test of sailing prowess and human endeavor which has been built on the spirit of great seafarers - fearless men who sailed the world's oceans aboard square rigged clipper ships more than a century ago. Their challenge back then was not a race as such, but recording the fastest time between ports. This meant new levels of pride for themselves and great recognition for their vessel. The spirit that drove those commercial sailors along the web of trade routes, deep into the bleak latitudes of the Southern Ocean and around the world's most dangerous capes, emerges today in the form of the Volvo Ocean Race, a contest now seen as the pinnacle of achievement in the sport. This race is, quite simply, the 'Everest of Sailing.'

During the nine months of the 2008-09 Volvo, which started in Alicante, Spain in October 2008 and concludes in St Petersburg, Russia, during late June 2009, the teams will sail over 37,000 nautical miles of the world's most treacherous seas via Cape Town, Kochi, Singapore, Qingdao, around Cape Horn to Rio de Janeiro, Boston, Galway, Goteborg and Stockholm. Each of the seven entries has a sailing team of 11 professional crew members, and the race requires their utmost skills, physical endurance and competitive spirit. During the race the crews will experience life at the extreme: no fresh food is taken onboard so they live off freeze dried fare, they will experience temperature variations from -5 to +40 degrees Celsius and will only take one change of clothes. They will trust their lives to the boat and the skipper and experience hunger and sleep deprivation. The race is the ultimate mix of world class sporting competition and on-the-edge adventure, a unique blend of onshore glamour with offshore drama and endurance.

Boston is preparing a great welcome for these racers... so if you are in the area, why not stop by the waterfront? For more information, go to:www.volvooceanrace.com


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