On the weekend of December 1-2, the Duxbury Bay Maritime School and the Duxbury YC held this year's Interclub Dinghy National Championships. Hosted by the Scituate Frostbite Association, competitors included over a dozen past and current collegiate All-Americans, National and World Champions and Olympic Medalists. On Saturday, December 1st, in 70-degree weather, and with a great southwesterly wind ranging between 12 to 20 knots, RC ran six windward -leeward races. Olympic Silver Medalist and past IC National Champion Steve Benjamin, with crew Adam Walsh, came out on top by the end of the day's racing. Many readers may recall Steve Benjamin, who has sailed with our local frostbiting group in the past, and participates in the IC Dinghy Annual New Year's Regatta. Finishes were tight on Saturday, as eight boats were all within 15 points of the lead. Sunday brought winds from 6-12 knots out of the northwest, with competition from some of the best dinghy sailors. MIT sailing coach Mike Kalin and Ariya Dararutana, a member of the MIT sailing team, who ultimately won the 2-day regatta, had competition from the Benjamin/Walsh team, and three-time Champion Jim Bowers and Myrna Chen MacCrae, all familiar names in the world of frostbite sailing.
The 12th and final race of the regatta, with large windshifts and velocity changes, found the top five racers doing well at the first mark. A downwind pack of boats that gybed and headed left on the race course, - Ed Adams, Steve Benjamin, and Neal Fowler found the wind favored those who continued on starboard, thus giving Kirkpatrick a first for the day and Bowers a third. Pedro Lorson and Mimi Lorson Berry represented the Manhasset Bay IC Dinghy fleet at the regatta and came in 17th overall, which is quite an accomplishment, considering the high quality of competition. Final standings include many familiar names that will be sailing on our bay come New Years. Results of the 2001 Nationals: 1. M. Kalin/A. Dararutana, SFA (45 points), 2. S. Kirkpatrick/C. Fagan, SFA (54), 3. #717, J. Bowers/M. Chen MacRae, Winthrop (63), 4. #24, C. Demarest/W. Besse, SFA (75), 5. #34, S. Benjamin/A. Walsh, Larchmont, (78), 6. #755, N. Fowler/M. Collins, Hyannis (97), 7. #693, E. Adams/C. Cronin, Winthrop, (110), 8. #756, G. Moore/G. Moore, (127), 9. #10, B. Monro/F. Monro, Larchmont (128), and 10. B. Cesare/K. Cesare, Larchmont (146).
Our local frostbiters have been out on Manhasset Bay the last two Sundays. On Sunday, December 2nd, nine boats completed three races, then competition was cancelled for the day because of high winds. On the following Sunday, December 9th, 10 teams completed five races. Results for both days include names of skipper/crew when available. Final results for December 2: 1. #514, Ted Toombs/Matt Cornachio, 2. #538, 3. #511, Stef Baas/Dana Schnipper. On December 9th: 1. #90, Ralf Steitz, 2. #514, Ted Toombs/Matt Cornachio, and 3. #536, Pedro Lorson/Mimi Berry. It's nice to see a female skipper make it to the top three in this illustrious group - congratulations!
On December 3, the Herreshoff Marine Museum held their annual Holiday Authors Event featuring nine accomplished authors and editors presenting a selection of books with mostly nautical themes. For readers who enjoy fiction with a nautical theme or love yachting history, this was the place to be. Local resident and sailor, Ed du Moulin was there, signing his America's Cup and Me: Recollections of 63 years and 7 Campaign - available locally at the Dolphin Book Store. Commodore Harry Anderson of the New York YC signed copies of Their Last Letters, 1930-1938, A Correspondence Between Nathanael G. Herreshoff and William P. Stephens, by the late John W. Streeter. Anderson was Commodore of the New York YC when the letters were discovered in the attic of the club and it was he who gave the "go-ahead" to have this fascinating book published. Mr. Stephens a well-known designer of yachts, was also famous for his articles covering the America's Cup and other yachting news. He died at his home in Bayside, Queens, where he lived throughout his life. Past Commodore of the Port Washington YC, Duke Dayton, who grew up in Bayside, knew Mr. Stephens. Cam Lewis of Team Adventure fame, who has been a speaker at the Library's Nautical Center in the past, and who most recently competed in the Around Long Island Race as he waited for favorable winds to embark on a transcontinental journey, signed his book Around the World in Seventy-Nine Days. Lewis sailed around the world with four Frenchmen in 79 days to win the inaugural Jules Verne Trophy Race. On his 86-foot catamaran Commodore Explorer, they broke the previous record for a circumnavigation under sail by 30 days - an astounding 27 percent. As a result, Lewis was named the 1993 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. In addition to adult books, several children's books were available. The Sailing Adventures of Peaches and Ben, by Bonnie Blue and Paul Cartier, is a delightful story about a mischievous golden retriever, and a white fluffy mutt who embark on seafaring trip. Based on a true story, the book is designed to educate children about sailing. My Ocean Liner, by Peter Mandel, is a good chapter book about a child's trip aboard the Normandie. All books are available through the Herreshoff Marine Museum (401-253-5000) or online at www.herreshoff.org.
Those who follow the America's Cup will remember the "red socks" that became so famous during New Zealand's last defense of the Cup. They became a symbol of what is great about the sport of sailing - good, clean competition, and national pride. It was Sir Peter Blake, the two-time winner of the Cup, who wore his red socks throughout the competition, and is credited for starting the craze that had just about everyone in New Zealand wearing red socks. So it was fitting that this week, after the news that Blake had been killed on his boat while sailing in waters near the coast of Brazil, that masts all over the boat basin in Auckland flew red socks in memory of this sailing giant. His death has been likened to Lady Diana, because of the enormous amount of flowers that are arriving each day and the outpouring of accolades by friends and fellow yachtsmen who remember this man for his contributions to our sport. Blake will be buried in Emsworth, a village in South England, where he and his wife, Lady Pippa and their two children, Sara Jane and James, made their home, followed by a memorial service in Auckland before the holidays.