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The boatyards are busy places these days. Your reporter happened to be in the yard this past weekend and came across two very dedicated sailors who have been restoring a boat for the past seven years. Bob Prokop and Jack Antinori have been working on hull #3 of their Manhasset Bay One Design (MBOD), and will launch her in early June. The MBO's, as the local MBO fleet lovingly calls them, were designed in 1928, when a committee of the Larchmont Yacht Club decided to sponsor a new small class boat for its junior members. Drake Sparkman, of Sparkman and Stephens, asked Olin Stephens, his new associate, to draw up a design for the club and persuaded a boat builder named Buckhout in Poughkeepsie to build the boat. The Sound Junior Class, as it was originally called, was described by Yachting magazine: "The design shows a well modeled little craft with nice sheer and moderate overhangs. The iron keel and buoyant flaring sections indicates stiffness and dryness. The modern efficient rig should make for good speed and ease of handling in all weather. The cockpit is quite comfortable for a boat this size, and double plank bulkheads making watertight compartments fore and aft make the boat unsinkable." The boat measures 21' 6" overall, 15'-0" datum waterline, 5'-10" beam, and 3' 6" draft, with 230-square feet total sail area. According to Francis S. Kinney, in his book You Are First: The Story of Olin and Rod Stephens of Sparkman & Stephens (1978), this design gave Olin Stephens the "greatest pleasure to know that when she was first launched she floated exactly on her designed waterline. It is the plans of this little sloop that are lettered 'Design No. 1, Sparkman and Stephens, Naval Architects,' and dated 'July, 1929.'" The MBOD was the first of many very successful Olin Stephens designs. To celebrate the launching of MBO hull #3, Olin Stephens, who is now in his 90's, will be in Port Washington to launch the re-christened "Olin Express," which has the splendid distinction of being the longest continually sailed Olin Stephens-designed boat.

Jack Antinori (left) and Bob Prokof (right) in the boatyard preparing their MBOD for launch in early June.

Rumors have been flying that Oracle Racing syndicate is in deep financial trouble and many speculated that they wouldn't be in business much longer. It has been recently confirmed that Kiwi Chris Dickson, who was slated to be the helmsman, will instead be working as a liaison between the syndicate and designer Bruce Farr. Rather than having a designated helmsman, as in the case in most of the other syndicates challenging for the Cup, Oracle has what's called a "collaborative afterguard" - and a very strong one at that. It includes Paul Cayard, who made it to the Challenger finals behind the wheel of AmericaOne; John Cutler, who was the helmsman on the effective America True; Cup vet Tommaso Chieffi; and Peter Holmberg, who was a part of Dennis Conner's team in the last cup, and who has just won the prestigious Congressional Cup Match Racing in Long Beach. In addition to a powerful afterguard, the Oracle team is stocked with veterans from almost every syndicate in the last cup, many of them Kiwis. So it looks like Oracle Racing is alive and well, and is still a viable challenger for the next America's Cup. The intrigue continues.

Save the Sound, Inc. is a nonprofit, membership organization dedicated to the protection, restoration, and appreciation of Long Island Sound and its watershed through education, research, and advocacy. The organization has designated May 25, as Long Island Sound Day, a day to celebrate the beauty of our Sound by organizing beach clean-up parties or calling a local nature center to volunteer to help educate the children in our region about Long Island Sound. If interested in more information about Save the Sound, Inc., and their educational programs, readers can call the Glen Cove office at 759-2165, or their toll free number 1-888-SAVE LIS. Their website is www.savethesound.org.

For those of us who like to explore other harbors, both near and far, in small boats and kayaks, and use cars to transport watercraft, a new product called the Rollerloader has recently become available that makes loading our boat on the top of a car or truck much easier. A very portable devise, weighing only 10 pounds and 14 inches in width, the Rollerloader attaches to your car in less than a minute and uses two vacuum suction cups and two anti-slip straps to hold your boat securely on top of your vehicle. Boats can be mounted on the back or front of the car; whichever is lower and easier to negotiate. The nice thing about this product is that one can load a boat or kayak without having a permanent attachment on your car. For more information, call the Amagansett Beach Company in Sag Harbor (631) 267-6325, or emial them at 1mortoy@amagansettbeachco.com.

To see photos of the Rollerloader, readers can visit the company's website at: http://www.rollerloader.com.

Now that spring is finally here, and boats are starting to dot the horizon on Manhasset Bay, the following words from The Sea and the Wind That Blows by E.B. White seem appropriate: "If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most. A small sailing craft is not only beautiful; it is seductive and full of strange promise, and a hint of trouble. It is without question the most compact and ingenious arrangement for living ever devised by the restless mind of man. A home that is stable without being stationary, shaped less like a box than a fish or a bird or a girl, and in which the homeowner can remove his daily affairs from shore, as far as he has the nerve to take them, close hauled or running free - parlor, bedroom and bath, suspended and alive."


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