On Sunday, Jan. 28, the long-awaited winter frostbiting resumed as the weather finally cooperated with our dinghy sailors, and five boats completed five races under sunny skies, with wind ranging from 9-14 knots out of the northwest. The winners: 1. Beth Danilek/Felicity Ryan (#530), 2. Bob Kirtland/David Cornachio (#707), and 3. Fee Mitropoulos/Amelia Amon (#121). There was no crew race.
A lot is happening on the America's Cup front. The St. Francis Yacht Club and Oracle Racing had planned to partner in a challenge for America's Cup 2003, announced on Saturday, Jan. 27, that they cannot come to terms acceptable to both parties and have ended their talks. They have been in negotiations for the past six months to evaluate scenarios on how to best join forces, but in the end, the St. Francis Yacht Club could not satisfy Oracle Racing's requirements. The yacht club has been involved in two previous America's Cup campaigns, most recently the 1999-2000 challenge with AmericaOne, which succeeded in making it to the finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup. Oracle Racing is now in talks with other clubs that have expressed interest in the syndicate.
Australia, which has participated in the America's Cup for the past 40 years, appears to be taking a pass on Cup 2003 as they have not posted an entry as of Jan. 29. They have until March to do so. And after a lapse of 16 years, Great Britain will be back in the regatta. Double Olympic silver medalist Ian Walker will head the sailing team and former Kiwi cup helmsman David Barnes will manage the operations side. Barnes coached foreign syndicated OneAustralia and America True in the last two regattas. Peter Harrison, yet another computer titan, who sold his Chernikeeff Internet systems company for more than £200 million and committed himself in October 2000, will back the challenge. Mr. Harrison is not new to backing sailing events. He supported British match racing, the Olympic trials and the 1999 Admiral's Cup team, as well as endowing a £30 million foundation for disabled and disadvantaged sport.
In news related to the Americas Cup, in late August 2000, the world will celebrate 150 years of the America's Cup institution, when up to 200 yachts will gather in Cowes on the Isle of Wight for a week of racing. The America's Cup Jubilee, organized by the Royal Yacht Squadron and the New York Yacht Club in association with Louis Vuitton, will run from Aug. 19 to 25 and will include four divisions. The fleet will sail on a variety of courses on the Solent during the week. There will also be a special Jubilee race over the original 100 Guinea Cup course around the Isle of Wight on Aug. 21. Among the yachts that will be present will be a large collection of past America's Cup competitors including the last remaining J-Class yachts Valsheda, Endeavour and Shamrock V. This will be the first time three yachts of this class have sailed together in the Solent since the 1930's. About 30 12-metre Class yachts will travel to Cowes for the Jubilee. Also planning to make the trip is Australia II. After nine months of negotiations with the Western Australian State and the West Australian Maritime Museum, an agreement has been signed that will allow Australia II to come out of retirement. Australia II is the yacht that won the 1983 America's Cup and ended the New York Yacht Club's 132-year reign on the event. Many of the original crew have expressed an interest in sailing on her in Cowes including skipper John Bertrand. America's Cup Class yachts including two of the most recent, America3, winner in 1992 and Team New Zealand's NZl-32, the winner of the 1995 America's Cup in San Diego, along with the current holders of the America's Cup, Team New Zealand, and the Louis Vuitton Cup, Prada, will participate in the Jubilee. A majority of the other challengers will also compete, using the regatta to prepare for the next America's Cup, which starts with the Louis Vuitton Cup in Auckland in October 2002.
Team Adventure, sidelined from the race for four days because of boat damage and then a weather delay in Cape Town, resumed sailing this past week with only 10 of its original 14 crew members. Two members who were injured will not return to sail, and another two crew members elected to stay on land. Cam Lewis, skipper of Team Adventure, said the strategy for the remaining three-quarters of the race is to sail the boat safely to the finish line in Marseilles. When his boat hit a huge wave that caused boat damage requiring a layover in Cape Town, they were in second place, closing in on the lead boat, Club Med. They hope to catch up in the coming days. But that might turn out to be a pipedream as Club Med is in top sailing form. On Jan. 28, Club Med broke the Indian Ocean record, for the route between the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa and Cape Leuwin in Western Australia. The record, which was 8 days 23 hours and 17 minutes, was beaten by Club Med when they recorded 7 days and 14 hours to do the same distance, about one day and nine hours less.
For those readers who are not going away for the February school holiday, the Mystic Seaport is celebrating Kids' Liberty Days, from Feb. 17-25. The fun includes crafts, lively sea music, planetarium shows, and the interactive, hands-on story time, "Guess What I Found in My Sea Chest." During several Saturdays in March (17, 24, and 31), Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts can participate in a program designed just for Scouts: a chantey program "Haul Away Joe," a sailor's knot tying workshop and a scrimshaw workshop and see the museum's "Sailors and Stars" planetarium show. For groups of 10 or more. For information on either program, call 1-888-SEAPORT, or visit their website at www.mysticseaport.org. Mystic Seaport, The Museum of America and the Sea, is located at 75 Greenmanville Avenue, Mystic, CT.