Probably most readers know where the Tom Kaelin Pavilion is. For those who don't: It is at the entrance to the Town Dock in Port Washington. Fewer readers will remember the squall of July 4, 1949 and they will never forget it, especially those caught in it (as was this reporter). There's a tie-in between the pavilion and the squall. What follows is from a clipping, yellow with age and probably from the Herald Tribune.
"July Fourth, 1949 will long be remembered by Yachtsmen who sail Long Island Sound in the vicinity of Manhasset Bay.
"About 4:05 in the afternoon the western sky was hidden behind a cocoa-colored overcast. Among the first to observe it was Captain Tom Kaelin in command of the Town of North Hempstead patrol boat. A sailor since boyhood, Captain Tom knew that a heavy storm was brewing. The bay and the adjacent Sound were dotted with pleasure craft, all apparently oblivious to the danger that threatened them. Accompanied by Jimmy Camerden and Ed Mayo, Kaelin drove his boat at top speed toward Kings Point. As he rounded Plum Beach a sloop with several aboard was capsized by the first squall. Stopping to resume the struggling victims, he noticed a score of boats with sails up, some participating in a race, others sailing aimlessly.
"Another squall struck and as Kaelin expressed it, 'there wasn't a sail in sight.' All had capsized. Shouts and cries of distress came from every direction."
Another Tribune article (by Ev Morris of Port Washington) and a Times article list seven deaths, one of whom was Tom Varley also of Port. Two of the causalites (a man and his son off Center Island) could not be revived. One was a boy in a Central Park Lake.
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Eric Goetz, founder of Goetz Custom Sailboats, Inc. of Bristol, RI, will build two America's Cup boats for the New York Yacht Club/Young America syndicate. The America's Cup will be raced for in New Zealand in 2000. Eric grew up in Port Washington. His parents continue to live here.
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On July 1, Thirsty Thursday sailors waited for a light but nice breeze. A short race (B-A) was sailed. Number of starters and top boats: Div. I (3) 1 Vision, Div. IA (1) Vision; Div. II (5) 1 Happy Daze, 2 Top Secret. Div. III (10) 1 Tootsie, 2 Beowulf, 3 Delusions.
Bay Racing, July 4, wind south, 6-12 knots. Three races sailed. Sonars (7) - Race 1 - 1 #515 (McAllister), 2 #436; Race 2 - #1 356 (Baskind), #2 515; Race 3 - 1 #515, 2 #356. MBO (3) - #5 (Baker/Moore) won all three races.