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One hundred fifty-one fully rigged boat models and approximately 1,200 builders and half models live in the Model Room of the New York Yacht Club. As one enters this august room, a sense of the history and traditions of the sea is overwhelming - it is a room where one can almost smell the salt air, feel the caress of ocean spray on one's face, and experience the power of these magnificent yachts as they power through rough open waters. On Friday, Feb. 9, with the New York Yacht Club Model Room as a backdrop, the Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Awards were given to the team of Mark Reynolds, 45 years old, of San Diego, CA, and Magnus Liljedahl, 46, of Miami, FL, Olympic Gold Medal winners, and to JJ Isler, 37, La Jolla, CA, and Pease Glaser, 39, Long Beach, CA, Olympic Silver Medalists. The annual award, established in 1961 by US Sailing and sponsored by Rolex Watch USA since 1980, recognizes outstanding on-the-water achievement in the calendar year just concluded. Historically only individuals are considered for the award, but nominations for both teams were overwhelming. Reynolds and Liljedahl were recognized for their dominance of the Star class, while Isler and Glaser were recognized for their perseverance in the 470 Women's class.

Rolex Yachtsmen of the Year recipients. Magnus Liljedahl displaying his Rolex watch and his Olympic Gold Medal and Mark Reynolds.

During lunch two videos were played, one of the team of Isler/Glaser, and the second one of Reynolds/Liljedahl, during their respective last races in the 2000 Olympics. Dawn Riley, who campaigned AmericaTrue in the 2000 America's Cup, and who was in Port Washington last October for the Knickerbocker Cup, spoke of the two women who have "made a difference" in the world of sailing, of women who have gone against the odds." Both JJ Isler and Pease (rhymes with peas with a "y" added) Glaser were her role models as she developed as a sailor and thanked them. Glaser was first to accept her Rolex watch and talked about the obstacles both women had to overcome in order to train for the Olympics. For example, training was suspended for a time, due to the birth of JJ Isler's second child. But she was back soon afterward, training hard to accomplish their goal. In an emotional acceptance, Isler thanked her parents who were in attendance, and surprised her father with his own Rolex watch, because "he made it all happen." Next came the awards for the team of Reynolds/Liljedahl. Mark Reynolds started by thanking the many people who have helped him achieve his incredible success as a sailor, starting with his father, who was also a Star competitor in the Olympic trials, continued with mention of his wife, DeAnn, "who made it all possible, and Markus who made it happen on the water - 'he's the man!' This is a dream come true." Magnus Liljedahl added a little humor to the otherwise quite emotional speeches by commenting, "sailing on a Star with Mark is like being asked out by Cindy Crawford!" For more extensive details of the sailing careers of all four of these remarkable sailors, go to www.ussailing.org.

Leaving the New York Yacht Club, one could not help but think of the four who just received one of the most prestigious sailing awards, sailors at the pinnacle of their careers, committed to the sport they love, and eager to stay involved with younger sailing hopefuls. And they are quick to encourage others to invest in aspiring competitors of tomorrow. Congratulations to all four.

The 11th Annual Long Island Sound Summit will take place on March 2-3, at the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. Called the "State of the Sound: Priorities for the Future - An Agenda for a LIS 2001 Agreement and Creating a LIS Reserve." The purpose of this conference is to provide a forum to discuss the current state of the health of Long Island Sound, progress in clean-up efforts, re-examining challenges, and priorities for addressing these challenges. The conference will support development of a Long Island Sound 2001 Agreement, an update to the LIS 1996 Agreement on the implementation of the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. The conference is designed to appeal to a diverse audience of individuals and organizations with an interest in the health of Long Island Sound: government and municipal officials, professionals, researchers, students, environmental activists and other non-affiliated individuals. The two-day event is sponsored by the Long Island Sound Watershed Alliance, Save the Sound, Inc., Long Island Sound Study, and the EPA Long Island Sound Office. For further information, call the LISWA (Long Island Sound Watershed Alliance) coordinator at 1-888-SAVE LIS.

Due to high winds on Sunday, Feb. 11, there was no frostbiting on Manhasset Bay.

Rolex Yachtsmen of the Year recipients. Magnus Liljedahl displaying his Rolex watch and his Olympic Gold Medal and Mark Reynolds.


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