Sunday, March 4 provided to be a frostbiters and the race committee. In what started out in moderate wind, although very cold conditions, seven teams of frostbiters were on the starting line for two races. Another dinghy got a late start from the dock and did not make it to the first race and then decided to return to land. Maybe they knew something that the others on the water missed. For in the third race - a crew race - the wind gusted on the downwind leg and four boats capsized within 30 seconds of each other. Races were immediately abandoned and all upright boats were instructed to return to shore. Race committee then retrieved the eight sailors and spent a good deal of the rest of the afternoon hauling dinghies back to the dock. The warmth of the clubhouse and the hot chocolate was a welcome respite from the afternoon activities. By the time the race committee returned to shore, they were greeted by the eight swimmers just plucked from Manhasset Bay, in dry clothing, who were enjoying the camaraderie of the group. Winners: A tie for first: Ted Toombs/W. Matt Cornachio (#514) and Pedro Lorson/Mimi Berry (#536), and third place was Beth Danilek/Felicity Ryan (#530).
RC rescuing a boat: (l. to r.) Peter Bergen, Alan Wofford and Ralph Heinzerling.
Long renowned as one of the country's premier winter regattas, the Acura SORC (Southern Ocean Racing Conference) was founded in the late 1930's by a conference of Florida yacht clubs and a Bahamian club. As originally conceived, the SORC was a mix of long-distance overnight races plus local day racing. The series spread out over a six-week season that started in St. Petersburg and took in Miami and Fort Lauderdale before finishing in Nassau. Today, the emphasis is on multiple day races, and prize giving social events every evening, to fit modern lifestyles. The SORC is the second of eight events in this year's Season Championship Series, which also consists of Yachting Key West Race Week in January, the Annapolis NOOD regatta in early May. The ID35 New England Championships in Marblehead in late May, the Verve Cup in Chicago in August, the St. Francis YC Big Boat Series in September, the ID35 West Coast Championship in San Diego in October, and the ID35 National Championships in Miami in November. It is celebrating its 60th anniversary this month by adding a series of major changes and improvements. For the first time all races will be sailed on ocean courses off Miami Beach. As of end of day on Saturday, March 3, Bob Limoggio from Port Washington YC, skipper of Spank Me is in 6th place overall, (3, 4, 2, 2, 4, DNC, DNC, DNC) in the PHRF #2 division. John Thomson, from Manhasset Bay YC, skipper of Solution, is in 10th overall (22, 18., 6. 9, 8, 5, 21) in the Farr 40 division. Results for Sunday, March 4 were unavailable at press time.
The deadline has passed for filing an application to participate in 2003 America's Cup in Auckland, New Zealand. Scheduled to begin on Saturday, Feb. 15, races will follow the Saturday-Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday schedule used in the last America's Cup. There are three reserve dates in early March. In a change from last time, the last two reserve dates are on consecutive days to bring a faster conclusion to the regatta if it is prolonged by adverse weather. Nine yacht clubs from seven different countries have submitted challenges, accompanied by an entry fee of $US150,000 in time for yesterday's March 1st deadline for lodging challenges with the RNZYS. From now until the second and final deadline of March 1, 2002, the entry fee increases to $US300,000. The nine challenges received by the March 1 deadline are: New York Yacht Club, Stars and Stripes, USA: Seattle Yacht Club, OneWorld USA; Yacht Club Punta Ala, Prada, Italy; Reale Yacht Club, Canottieri Savoia tba, Italy; Societe Nautique de Geneve, Swiss Challenge, Switzerland; Dusseldorf Yacht Club, Illbruck Challenge, Germany; Union Nationale pour la Course au Large, le Defi, France; Royal Ocean Racing Club, Brittania United Kingdom; Gamla Stans Yacht Sallskap, Victory Challenge, Sweden. The Oracle Racing syndicate has not filed a challenge, according to Peter Taylor, commodore, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, but they are expected to do so.
The Swedish Match Grand Prix Sailing Tour could be considered a preview for the 2003 America's Cup competition. Dennis Conner, representing the New York YC, with helmsman Ken Read, will compete at the Sun Microsystems Australia Cup in Perth, Australia, March 21-25, as will the Oracle Racing syndicate, with skipper Chris Dickson. Other America's Cup syndicates sailing on the Swedish Match Grand Prix Sailing Tour include the Swedish Victory Challenge, Prada and Team New Zealand. The Swedish Match Grand prix Sailing tour was formed in November 1999 to establish a consistent and recognizable sailing series by consolidating top match racing events under a single name. Their goals include developing an annual sailing series that represents quality, integrity, and professionalism; attract the top sailors in the world; and to be the training ground for the world's best sailors and America's Cup teams. It appears that they are well on their way to meet these goals. There are three partners in the tour: Swedish Match, a conglomerate that is the title sponsor for the tour, Octogon Marketing and MRA (Match Racing Association). Ted Weisberg, past Commodore of Knickerbocker YC, is the president of the MRA and is also a director of the Swedish Match Grand Prix Sailing Tour. For more information, visit the tour website at www.swedishmatchgp.com.
One for the record books: At approximately 1300 hours, Sunday, Feb. 24, at the Waukegan (Illinois) Yacht Club, Dr. Edward L. Leslie towed his Optimist sailboat over the ice, launched the boat into the harbor and competed 360 consecutive months of sailing on Lake Michigan waters - that's every month for 30 years. The winds were blowing from the WSW at 25-40 knots. "Doc" wisely stayed in the lee of the club, completed several tacks and jibs. This may be a difficult statistic to beat.