The 18th Annual Thomson Regatta took place on Sunday, Oct. 22, at the Mill Pond Model Yacht Club. In brisk northwest winds, 13 skippers sailed their "M" Marblehead class pond yachts in eight races for glory in the Thomson Industries sponsored regatta. The 50-inch long "M" boats carry 800 square inches of sail and reached speeds of over 10 knots. Roy Langbord took first place overall, John Elmaleh was the runner-up, and Bob Lombard took third place. All are members of the 102-year-old Mill Pond Model Yacht Club. Sherry DePrey, of the Central Park, NY Model Yacht Club handled the race director duties for the regatta. A reception for participants and their family and friends was held at the club at the conclusion of the races.
The head of the Charles Regatta, started in October 1965, is the world's largest two-day rowing event. Established by the Cambridge Boat Club, with the assistance of a Harvard University sculling instructor, the purpose of the race was to imitate similar regattas held in England. Typically the course is three miles long, and the participants race against each other and the clock. This year, the XXXVIth head of the Charles Regatta sports 21 events, 5,500 rowers from 300 clubs and colleges, with approximately 300,000 spectators. last Sunday, Oct. 22, two Port Washington rowers, in their Alden recreational shells, participated in this regatta. Monika Dorman and Patrick Doyle came in first in their respective age categories. "It was still dark when we put our boats into the Charles River at 6:30 a.m. Our starting time was at sunrise," said Monika Dorman. The Charles River snakes under seven bridges and navigating the buoys that line the course can be quite challenging. Even with these challenges, Monika managed to row the course two minutes faster than 11 years ago - quite an accomplishment! Kudos to both for representing the Port Washington area in yet another wonderful water activity.
The BT Challenge, started by adventurer Sir Chay Blyth in 1996/97 with the first challenge, is a 30,000-mile race, with seven ports of call over a ten month time frame. Participants are everyday sailors who are drawn to the excitement and challenge of circumnavigating the globe against the usual pattern of currents and winds, in essence, going the wrong way around the world. The idea is to offer to ordinary people the opportunity to step out of the straightjackets of everyday life and to sail beyond the horizon on a 67-foot yacht that becomes their community and life support system, offering unthinkable freedom, and at the same time confinement. Isolated from the real world, crew members face the test of patience, fortitude and the whole range of human values.
Leg One of this year's challenge began on Sept. 10, as 12 boats sailed from Southhampton to Boston, arriving Sept. 28. On Oct. 15, the fleet left Boston Harbor on the second leg of their journey, sailing 5,840 miles to Buenos Aires, the next port of call. Arrival in Buenos Aires is expected by Nov. 19. The first days of Leg Two were quiet, but by the fourth day, the fleet was heading toward a tropical storm, which shortly was upgraded to hurricane status, with winds predicted as high as 80 knots. Severe seasickness and injuries plagued the crew members, all non-serious. In addition to surviving a hurricane, Leg Two supplied challengers with the adventure of sailing through the Bermuda Triangle, where, in the last century, 1,000 souls have been lost, and 200 ships and aircraft have been claimed. Quadstone crew member, Dan Moorcroft-Towers queried "were we to witness ghost ships slipping silently past us in the dead of night? Or hear the mournful cries of mariners lost here over the centuries, wailing like tortured souls?" Fortunately, by the end of the week, all challengers were accounted for. The race to Buenos Aires has tightened up, with the spread between the challengers spanning 400 miles, yet five yachts were within five miles of each other in terms of distance to finish.