In mid-October of this year, the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) loaned Growler to MBYC for use as one of the Race Committee boats for their fall series. Commander Eric Wallischeck, the sailing master and director of Waterfront Activities at the academy, was on board one of the weekends, and your reporter had a chance to chat with him. This most remarkable sailor has contributed enormously to the sport of sailing, not only at the academy, but also all along Long Island Sound. Since 1991, when CMR Wallischeck was named the Academy's sailing master, he has overseen the completion of the Yocum Sailing Center, and has helped raise over $1.4 million for the Waterfront Campaign. Under his leadership, midshipman sailors from the varsity sailing team have won four National Championships, and the Varsity Crew Team won the 1999 New York State's Men Novice Four Championship. His responsibilities at Sailing Master include training the sailing team, all on-board boating programs, operation of the training ships and maintenance of the waterfront infrastructure. A 1983 graduate of the USMMA, he returned in 1984 to manage the academy's sponsorship of the America II Challenge, an entry in the 1987 America's Cup, in Freemantle, Australia.
CMR Wallischeck's activities outside of the Academy include participating in six Newport Bermuda Races, and other racing events throughout Long Island Sound and New England. He has been a member of US Sailing since 1984 and serves on the Safety-at-Sea Committee. Since November 1998, he was elected president of the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound (LRA of LIS), normally a two year tenure, but his term was extended an additional year. The YRA of LIS is the largest YRA in the country, with 66 member clubs. The late Roger Shope, a name familiar to our sailing community, was the president of the YRA of LIS in 1995 and nominated CMR Wallischeck to the YRA board of directors in 1995. After serving in that capacity, and as vice president, he moved up to his present leadership role.
Eric Wallischeck assumes his leadership roles naturally. Whether he is leading the YRA of LIS, or working with his midshipmen, his intelligent and fair management style has awarded him with many successes. He has received numerous awards from the US Department of Transportation, the US Coast Guard, and the USMMA Alumni Association. What stands out over and above all his formal awards are the successes he has had working with the young men and women at the USMMA. Watching him interact with the midshipmen on Growler last October, it was obvious that CMR Wallischeck understands young people and knows how to balance his disciplinary role with that of friend and confidante. They respect him but also enjoy his company. CMR Wallischeck is making a difference in the lives of these young people.
The Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound's mission is to promote sailing and racing on western Long Island Sound. It is a clearing-house for information vital to creating a comprehensive racing season on Long Island Sound. In addition to coordinating the racing schedules on the north and south shores of the Sound from April to November each year, the association provides support for both one-design racing and handicapped racing (IMS and PHRF). The YRA of LIS is in the middle of their 2000 Membership Drive. For more information on becoming a member, or for general information, readers can contact the YRA of LIS office at 455 Main Street, Port Washington, 11050, call 767-9240, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The YRA of LIS website, which is updated regularly, is www.yralis.org.
America's Cup News: Dennis Conner was denied his third straight Etchells-class title in Auckland, NZ. Chris Dickson, his archrival and skipper for Larry Ellison's America's Cup Challenge Oracle Racing, beat him in the final race at Pine Harbour on Saturday, Dec. 9. The regatta of three-man boats took on the face of a mini-America's Cup, with a handful of cup sailors among the fleet. Readers may recall that Dickson was the skipper on USA-61 when the keel strut fell off on Nov. 22 in the Hauraki Gulf during a test race with Paul Cayard, former CEO and skipper of AmericaOne, who was sailing US-49.
On Sunday, Dec. 10, six frostbiters completed four races and a crew race before the light wind forced them back to land. Wind was out of the SSE at 2-5 knots. Results: 1. Pedro Lorson/Mimi Berry (#536), 2. Ted Toombs/Monique Gaylor (#514) and 3. John Browning/Laura Browning. Laura Browning won the crew race.