Boats are beginning to dot the harbor on Manhasset Bay and soon the mooring fields will be full of all sizes and makes of boats, providing strollers along the bay with the spectacular water views we have become so accustomed to, and anticipate with delight each spring season. Unfortunately last weekend, heavy rain and cold weather prevented enjoyment of our beautiful harbor from land, but hardy sailors were not deterred from their planned activities. Three teams of Sonar racers, despite the uncomfortable wet and cold conditions, raced in two windward-leeward races on Saturday, May 20. Wind was light, NE 4-5 knots. Results for both races: 1. #396 (Bob Kirtland), 2. #451 (Sue Miller), 3. #615 (Ming Wang). The weather improved slightly on Sunday, attracting seven Sonar teams. The wind was again light, out of the NNE. Race 1 results: 1. #396 (Bob Kirtland - Delight), 2. #451 (Sue Miller/Rick Jordan - Ping), 3. #436 (Bill Brakman - Lark). Second race: 1. #436 (Bill Brakman - Lark), 2. #396 (Bob Kirtland - Delight), 3. #451 (Sue Miller/Rick Jordan - Ping). Last race: 1. #451, (Sue Miller/Rick Jordan - Ping), 2. #421 (Bill Simon - Weekend Warrior), 3. #396 (Bob Kirtland - Delight.)
There was no Thirsty Thursday racing on May 18 due to the severe weather conditions. RC was on station for approximately one hour waiting for the weather to improve. After one postponement, races had to be canceled due to lightning.
Interesting news from New Zealand. America's Cup skipper Russell Coutts, and tactician Brad Butterworth have bailed out of the Kiwi syndicate. For those close to the pair, this news was not surprising. According to Suzanne McFadden, in her May 22 article for the New Zealand Herald, the telltale signs were there. The two Kiwi sailors cited disputes with the old guard, and obligations placed on the sailors by the sponsors as the motivating factors in the decision. Kiwis' reaction to both Coutts and Butterworth varied. According to McFadden "Some call them traitors, who asked the team to remain loyal, then left. Others say it was for the best, that it would have been worse having an unhappy leadership." Still others say, "Maybe it all became too complicated." Rumors abound on the reasons they left. Some say they did not want to inherit the $5 million debt of the past campaign. And it appears that they were unhappy with the Family of Five (sponsors) and preferred the opportunity that multi-millionaire Ernesto Bertarelli offered them - never having to worry where the money for the next mainsail will come from. Or leasing out their boat to the highest bidder to add money to the coffers. Or relying on red socks to buy equipment. Consider this thought - maybe they just wanted to sail again.
Other Cup news: The New York Yacht Club and St. Francis Yacht Club, who have been exploring the possibility of a joint challenge for America's Cup XXXI, in 2002 - 2003, decided not to pursue the alliance. Both clubs felt that a joint challenge would not be in the best interest of either club, or of the America's Cup.