Last Sunday, Nov. 18, was a spectacular day for frostbiting. The sun was high in the sky with few clouds, the trees outlining the Port Washington shore still provided a lovely mix of fall colors, and the bay, with most of the boats hauled for the winter, took on her winter personality.
With air and water temperatures hovering near 55 degrees, and a fairly steady breeze of 9 - 10 knots, the sailors were happy. Hardly a day that could be called "frostbiting," but certainly enjoyable. Seven races and one crew race were completed. The day began with eight boats on the starting line, and by the fourth race, 12 teams vied for top honors. The results for the day: 1. #536, Pedro Lorson and Mimi Berry, 2. #514, Ted Toombs and Matt Cornachio, and 3. #122, Fee Metropoulous and Amelia Amon. Matt Cornachio won the crew race. Note: There will be frostbiting on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, November 25.
They call this frostbiting? Even though the temperature outside was unusually warm for November, John Browning sailing with his daughter, Louise, must think it is still summer. Let's see what he wears when the weather really gets cold!
Readers may recall past columns that mention the Manhasset Bay One Design (MBO) fleet, a very active fleet of owners of beautiful, 21-foot wooden boats that were designed in 1928 by Olin J. Stephens for Larchmont YC junior sailors. Mr. Stephens, now in his mid-90s, and who is considered by many to be the finest boat designer in history, was in Port Washington last June to re-launch hull #3, owned by Bob Prokop and Jack Antinori, who have spent the last seven years restoring her to original condition. The Sound Junior Class, as it was originally called, gave Olin Stephens the "greatest pleasure to know that when she was first launched she floated exactly on her designed waterline." The MBOD was the first of many very successful Olin Stephens designs, and has the distinction of being the longest continually sailed Olin Stephens - designed boat. Results of the MBO bay racing for 2001 have become available: 1. #21, Blue Chip, Chip Allen and Einaar Haukeland, 2. #9, Miss B Haven, Grace Allen and Ralph Heinzerling, and 3. #5, Escapade, Ned Baker and Dick Moore, 4. #20, Southerly, Tom Godfery and Don Richardson, and 5. #22. Catch 22, Bob Adams and Curt Champlin.
The 2nd Annual Millennium Regatta, a major race for the Odom class of model boats, was recently held on the Mill Pond. Sponsored by the Mill Pond Model YC, 12 Odoms (One Design One Meter) participated in this year's regatta. In light variable winds, seven races were held in the morning, and racing continued throughout the afternoon. The top three winners received embroidered Mill Pond Model YC shirts. Winners were: 1. #375, Greg Danilek, 2. #54, Charlie Blume, the vice-commodore of the Mill Pond Model YC, 3. #911, Ralf Steitz, and 4. #138, David James, fleet captain of the club. David James and his wife Judy ran and scored the races, and Judy Wood provided the competitors with her traditional and very much appreciated chile con carne for lunch.
Ginger Marshall Martus, who writes a wonderful newsletter called Bone Yard Boats, and who is a longtime member of Port Washington YC and a founding member of the Port Washington Public Library's Nautical Center, has been busy lately. When Ginger is not gathering material for her newsletter, which connects wooden boats in need of repair with owners who lovingly repair them, Ginger is traveling from her home in New Jersey to parts north to act as an advocate for wooden boat restoration. Her latest endeavor is a review of a book by Ross MacTaggart called The Golden Century: Classic Motor Yachts 1830-1930, which appeared, not surprisingly, in the most recent issue of Wooden Boat magazine. Delightfully written, Martus points out that while motor yachts have been largely overlooked in the history of sailing yachts, this book "will transport you into an elegant era, with page after page of spectacular images by Levick and Rosenfeld - some rarely published before." MacTaggart, whom Martus met over 15 years ago at the Classic Boat Rendezvous at Mystic, CT on the 74-foot commuter Aphrodite, started thinking about writing a book about motor yachts, and after collecting information over the years, the result is his magnificent book with a wealth of information about the yachts themselves, and their owners, designers and builders. One of the more interesting stories reported by Martus is about the eccentric James Gordon Bennett, who inherited the The New York Herald, and was the owner of Lysistrata, which was built in 1900 and adorned with many decorative owls, including a large owl figurehead at the bow. Bennett was so enamored with owls that he ordered 26 large bronze owls to be placed along the cornice of the Herald Building in New York, and "their 52 eyes eerily blinked on and off throughout the night." Too bad Bennett never met Harry Potter - and his beloved owl-messenger, Hedwig, who delivered Potter's acceptance letter to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, marking the beginning of Potter's adventures that have delighted so many readers, both young and old. The Golden Century, Classic Motor Yachts, 1830-1930, is available from the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company and from The WoodenBoat Store.
Espionage and the America's Cup are no strangers, but Britain's GBR Challenge is alleged to have received the unwelcome offer of the design secrets of Team New Zealand's winning boats from the 1995 and 2000 events for a $1 million price tag.
The offer was unwelcome because the transfer of design technology between teams is expressly outlawed, and the man allegedly making the offer, New Zealander Sean Reeves, is already subject to legal action by Craig McCaw's OneWorld challenge from Seattle, for whom he worked until early summer. Reeves is alleged to have hawked OneWorld's secrets for the 2003 cup and TNZ's past campaigns to Chris Dickson of the rival American team, Oracle Racing, on July 17. But since Reeves' name became public knowledge, the GBR Challenge's general manager, David Barnes, contacted OneWorld claiming that he had had a similar offer, made in a phone call on June 21 and repeated five days later. Barnes said he rejected Reeves flat. "David said the offer was illegal and morally and ethically wrong and was not going to be entertained in any manner, shape or form," said Julia Harrison-Lee, the director of the GBR Challenge and their legal counsel.
Déjà vu at the America's Cup: On Nov. 14, almost a year to the day after one of Oracle's yachts lost its keel on the Hauraki Gulf, the unthinkable happened - yet another keel fell off. USA 49 was out trailing with sister yacht USA 61 on the gulf, when the boat, helmed by Chris Dickson, suddenly fell onto its side. The boat had been sailing in 14-knot winds and moderate seas when its keel suddenly snapped off, around 10:30 AM (NZ time). Last year, on Nov. 21, USA 61 suffered the same fate when its 21-ton keel sheered off at the hull. Dickson was also at the helm that day. This year, the sailors managed to stay on board the boat, and successfully battled to save the mast before it was submerged, and only a handful of the Oracle crew got wet, after diving in to secure the mast immediately after the mishap. Three Auckland coast guard vessels went to the rescue of the boat and crew, and a floating crane was towed out to the site of the incident, near Waiheke Island in the eastern part of the Hauraki Gulf. The boat was then towed to a sheltered bay on nearby Motuihe Island.