The 23rd Manhasset Bay YC Fall Series, a premier big boat sailing regatta, was held over two weekends, Oct. 13-14 and Oct. 20-21. One week before the Series only thirty or so boats had registered, not surprising considering Manhasset Bay's proximity to New York City and the events on Sept. 11. But by the start of the regatta, over 100 boats had decided to leave their worries on shore and compete in the Fall Series. They were rewarded for their decision, as the beautiful fall weather brought good winds on three of the four days of racing. Wind was light only on Saturday, Oct. 20. Sue Miller was Regatta chair, who did a terrific job in putting the event together, quite a challenge considering the lateness of 65 percent of the entrants. Two Principal Race Officers, Sue Miller and Gene Bowler, did an outstanding job on the race course, which this year was only one circle, rather than two that have been used in the past. Next year, the Series will return to the two-circle format.
The inspiration for the Fall Series came from John Thomson, Jr. who describes the purpose of the regatta as two-fold: to develop in our own area a high level big boat competition and to enjoy Long Island Sound racing under the best weather conditions possible. The chief organizers of the first year's event in 1979 were Roger Priem, chairman of Distance Events, and Chip Whipple, Regatta coordinator.
Winners in this years regatta: In the IMS A division: 1. Blue Yankee, Stamford YC. In IMS 40's division: 1. US 43690, Sirena, 2. US 8448, Pax NZL, and 3. US 4040, Solution, John Thomson, MBYC. Class 2 (9 boats): 1. Lighthorse, MEL30, Brownyard, SCYC, 2. Avalanche, FAR395, Albrecht, PWYC, and 3. Psyched-up, HEN 30, Singleton, Raritan. Class 3 (10 boats): 1. Challenge IV, J44, Willis, LHYC, 2. Brown Eyed Girl, Dinhofer, IHYC, and 3. Maxine, J44, Ketcham, AYC. Class 4 (6 boats): 1. Cygnet, MUM30, Swan, CPYC, 2. Falcon, BLT43, Minkus, NYYC, and 3. Cygnette, Swan 441, Mayer, NYYC. Class 5 (8 boats): 1. Kiowa, TRP36, Sachs, Shore Acres, 2. Lora Ann, Exp37, duMoulin, LYC, and 3. Soulmates, Exp37, Loory, Huguenot. Class 6 (15 boats): 1. Hilaria, J105, Florence, LYC, 2. Magic, J105, Klingler, LYC, and 3. Eclipse, J105, Emery, MSSA. Class 7 (9 boats): 1. Savage, J34+, Townsley, 2. Deviation, SOV33, Vogel, Huguenot, and 3. Matriarch, CTM30, Dominique, NSYC. Class 8 (9 boats): 1. Quetzal, J92, Taylor, IHYC. 2. X-Factor, X-99, Sarraf, Masthd Cov, and 3. Tease, FRE33, Kerman, YRALIS, Class 9 (9 boats): 1. Dreadlocks, TAR10, Hammer, LHYC, 2. Chaika, TAY34, Coar, CIYC, and 3. Neptune's Car, S2 9.1, Waletich, USMMA. Class 10 (13 boats): 1. Happy Wanderer, PSN312W, Byers, Centerport, 2. Happy Daze II, P10M, Egan, PWYC, and 3. Surprise,TAR10, Brown, LHYC. Robert Sachs, Kiowa, an Express 37, won the Ted Clark Trophy and Jeff Willis, Challenge IV, J44, won the John B. Thomson, Sr. Memorial Trophy.
Local sailors who participated in this year's Fall Series included: Avalanche, FAR395, Albrecht, PWYC; Kamikaze, Mel30, Fichera, PWYC; Rainmaker, Swan 40, McFaul, PWYC; Out of Reach II, FRE33, Nees, PWYC; Promise Kept, BEN375, Lindenbaum, KYC; and Happy Daze II, P10M, Egan, PWYC.
It is always a treat to be in the Model Room of the New York YC, which is so full of history and tradition. Last Thursday, Oct. 25, was an especially thrilling evening as the New York YC hosted an America's Cup Update with Dennis Conner. Surrounded by the America's Cup half-models that represents the Club's venerable history with the Cup, about 120 members and guests heard Ken Read, helmsman on Stars and Stripes for the 31st America's Cup, which will begin with the Louis Vuitton Challenger series in
October of 2002 in Auckland, New Zealand, open his slide show presentation with "this is a fulfillment of a life long dream - it's great to be home." After taking a hiatus of several campaigns, Dennis Conner is back with the New York YC and will represent the Club in 2002. In addition to updating the group about the progress of Stars and Stripes, Ken spoke about a side of Team Dennis Conner that one rarely hears about. As the story goes, one day the team was practicing and sailed through a fleet of Optimists (small pram-like boats that are used in training our very youngest sailors). The team quickly took down their jib and picked up one of the optimists, sailor and boat, and put them on Stars and Stripes. The whole team signed their names all over the young sailors clothes, and then sent the awe-struck sailor on his way. According to Ken's tongue-in-cheek comment. "We didn't know whether we would get a thank you from the parents or a rendezvous with the cops!" Ken also noted some of the charitable events that Team Dennis Conner supports, which include volunteering at local hospitals over the Christmas holidays, and supporting children's sailing programs.
Tom Whidden, President/CEO of North Marine Group (which owns North Sails), and is the tactician for Stars and Stripes, a position he has had for five America's Cup series which won the Cup three times (1980, 1987, 1988) spoke optimistically about the sails that will give Team Dennis Conner an edge over other challengers. Then Mick Harvey, from New England Boatworks, in Portsmouth, RI, who built the last Stars and Stripes and is building Conner's new boat, spoke briefly about the progress of the new blue-hulled Stars and Stripes. An excited Dennis Conner was happy to announce that "we have been issued sail number 66. In 2000 we raced USA-55, for this new boat we have been issued USA-66, and I think repeating digits are good luck," he said with a smile. "It's always thrilling to reach this stage of an America's Cup campaign." This is Conner's ninth America's Cup challenge. Conner and many of his America's Cup sailors have been racing consistently in several regattas during the past two months. Conner won the Etchells North American Championships in September and is now the #1 ranked Etchells sailor in the world. Peter Isler and Vince Brun, who will both sail on Stars & Stripes have also given outstanding performances within the Etchells class and are now ranked 7th and 8th respectively in the world. "I always set my sights on winning and being ranked #1 in the Etchells class was no different," said Conner. "The next year is going to be an exciting one for myself, our team and of course the New York Yacht Club," said Conner in closing. "We plan to launch our boat in January and start a full training regimen shortly thereafter." Team Dennis Conner will be training in the waters off Long Beach, California before relocating to their New Zealand compound next summer. For more information, www.stars-stripes.com
Eric Goetz, who grew up sailing 17-foot day sailors with his father on Manhasset Bay, is profiled in the November issue of Sailing World. In 1974, after a sailing trip through the Bahamas, Jamaica and Panama, Eric opened his Goetz Custom Boats in Bristol, RI in 1975, and the accolades for his sleek, award winning crafts haven't stopped since. His parents still live in Port Washington and his father can still be seen on Manhasset Bay sailing his Thistle.
On Sunday, Nov. 4, at 6 p.m., Gary Jobson will host and ESPN2 special called Ultimate Sailing: Best of the West.
Note: Due to a computer glitch, all photos of the Fall Series will be published next week.