The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has formally accepted the challenge from the New York Yacht Club for the 31st America's Cup regatta in Auckland, New Zealand in 2003. The Commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Peter Taylor, confirmed the acceptance of the challenge to the Commodore of the New York Yacht Club, George Isdale, Jr. in a letter dated Dec. 12. In other America's Cup news: the America's Cup Arbitration Panel confirmed the validity of the Swiss Challenge for America's Cup 2003. Readers may recall that the issue with the Swiss Challenge involved the AC Deed of Gift that states that all organized yacht clubs must have a regatta on ocean water or on an arm of the sea to be entitled to the right of sailing a match for the cup. While the Swiss have achieved official status as a challenger for the 2003 America's Cup, the "arm of the sea" issue continues. According to Gary Jobson, ESPN's Cup analyst thinks that "striking the clause from the Deed wouldn't be such a bad idea" to include clubs that sail on lakes, thus opening up the cup to more challenges. Jobson would even go further, and take a look at the entire Deed of Gifts and make all appropriate changes to modernize the document. But another highly involved Cup sailor, Bill Trenkle, Team Dennis Conner's director of operations, said that change should be introduced slowly, and discussed thoroughly before enactment. "People would like to see a lot of changes, but you need to be careful," Trenkle said. "People would like to see a lot of changes, but you need to be careful," Trenkle said. "if too many changes are made at once, it could ruin the nature of the event. Challenging is difficult. If you open it up, it could become just a sailboat race, and it's not just a sailboat race."
Aug. 22 will mark 150 years since the rout of the pride of the British sailing fleet by the schooner America, in a race around the Isle of Wight. The Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes is planning a lavish celebration of losing what is now known as the America's Cup. During the week of the 18th to the 25th, this August establishment will host one of the most extravagant and spectacular regattas in its history, possibly in the history of British sailing, to celebrate its most famous defeat. All three remaining J Class boats, Endeavour, Valsheda and Shamrock, plus between 30 and 40 12 Meters, and up to 15 International America's Cup Class boats, plus a replica of the original yacht America. Word has it that several local sailors will be attending this event.
US Sailing has recognized its Coaches of the Year for 2000: Jay Glaser from Long Beach, California is the National Coach of the Year, and Amy Gross-Kehoe from Bayville, NY is the Developmental Coach of the Year. Jay Glaser earned Sailing's National Coach of the Year honors based on his significant impact on athletes' performances at the highest levels of competition, with coaching performance related to the 2000 Olympic events a primary focus. Amy Gross-Kehoe has become well known for her work with youth sailing teams. Involved primarily in coaching Optimist sailors, she has been responsible for more sailors making the national Opti Team than any other program in the US. For the last five years, Gross-Kehoe has coached the Cow Harbor Sailing Team (based in Northport), which was created to give Opti sailors from Maine to New York the opportunity to race year-round when most youth sailing programs only operate during the summer months. Since Gross-Kehoe assumed the leadership at Cow Harbor, participation in the program has doubled. Scott Ikle, from Manhasset, was a previous winner of the Developmental Coach of the Year Award. Ikle is in his seventh year of coaching at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, in Geneva, which is ranked fifth in the nation. He has an interesting article on racing tactics in the current issue of Sailing World magazine titled "How to Claw Back." According to Ikle "a lot of people can win races, but winning a regatta requires the ability to focus and come back after a mistake." He says he spends a lot of time with his college sailing team working on the "comeback." It obviously is working, because Hobart and William Smith Colleges Sailing Team is ranked fifth in the nation.
With winds gusting to 60 mph, frostbiting was cancelled for Sunday, Dec. 17. There will be no racing on Dec. 24, due to the holiday. Dare we suggest to mother nature that she average the winds from the last two weekends to provide good sailing conditions for the frustrated frostbiters for their New Year's Regatta on Dec. 30-Jan. 1?
Best wishes to all readers for a wonderful holiday season.