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Ted Himler, who is a seventh-grader at Manhasset Middle School, is planning to participate in the Valentine's Day International Regatta in St. Petersburg, Florida on the weekend of February 9-10. It was at this Optimist regatta last year where the young Himler qualified to compete at the U.S. National Team Trials. This year the Trials will be held in April at the Corpus Christi (TX) Yacht Club.

The Interclub Midwinters were held last weekend, February 2-3, in Scituate, MA. The team of Steve and Jan Kirkpatrick (A Division) and Chad Demarest and Whitney Besse (B Division) won this frostbite classic. Jim and Susie Bowers (A Division) and John and Myrna MacRae (B Division) took second place honors. Twenty-seven teams competed, and nine races were sailed for each division. Shifty winds and a southwesterly on Sunday adding chopping seas to the mix, kept the skippers and the crews busy. See www.interclub.org for more information. On Sunday, January 27, the wind played games with our local frostbiters. What started out as a "low-wind" day, by race time, the wind was 10-12 knots out of the SW, only to quickly calm to about 8-10 knots. Competitors numbered nine at the beginning of the day, with only four competing in the seventh and final race. On "Super Bowl" Sunday, only three teams were seen racing on the bay. Results will be reported next week.

Larry Ellison, who plans to spend $85 million of his own money to win the America's Cup, figures he has the right to take the helm of his team's boat any time he wants. So come next fall, he will be down in New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf, competing against nine other contenders in the Louis Vuitton series, hoping to win the right to challenge for the Cup in Feb. 2003. "I'm absolutely going to drive the boat, as long as it won't hurt the team, " said Ellison, 56, founder and chief executive officer of Oracle Corporation, and one of the world's richest men. "The nice thing about owning a sailboat is that you get to go sailing. If you're the owner of the New York Yankees, you don't get to play first base". More Cup news: Michael Illbruck, of Illbruck Challenge, will unveil his first America's Cup challenger in Bremen this week, but because of the amount of money he has already spent on the Challenge for the cup, approximately $48 million, he has told Cup officials in Auckland that he will not ship the boat to New Zealand for the challenger trials, starting Oct. 1, unless additional funding is found for the campaign.

When Leg Four of the Volvo Ocean Race started on Sunday, Jan. 27, the Viaduct Basin, in downtown Auckland, was crammed with curious observers in the early morning. By the start of the race, forty-five thousand people (that is not a misprint) crammed into every available space to cheer the competitors on their journey from Auckland to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The 15-knot easterly wind that greeted the teams at the start of the race was mild compared to what the sailors are experiencing in the Southern Ocean. The fleet is on the verge of record-breaking territory as the eight VO60s pile through the best and worst of the Southern Ocean. The fleet has sailed into a massive low-pressure system that will generate the strong winds that the yachts need to generate record-breaking speeds. With just 1,800 miles left to Cape Horn this will be the last low they can ride. To add to the cold, damp conditions, there is the always-present fear of colliding with an iceberg lurking just below the surface of the ocean. Paul Cayard reported after, what he claims to be the best two hours of helming he did for a long time: "We have averaged 21.5 knots for the last four hours. Not sure we sustained that pace for four hours last time. The keel makes a loud whistle at 25 knots of boat speed. Two reefs and storm kite is the menu right now." Positions as of Feb. 5: Illbruck, 4,097 miles to finish; 2. Amer Sports One, 35 miles behind leader (mbl); 3. Team Tyco, 61 mbl; 4. News Corp, 67 mbl; 5. Assa Abloy 102 mbl; 6. djuice, 106 mbl; 7. Team SEB, 165 mbl; 8. Amer Sports Too, 315 mbl. Readers may want to log on the Volvo Ocean Race website, which is quite spectacular - www.volvooceanrace.com

The first-ever catamaran specifically designed for a disabled sailor could hit the water as early as next to July. Mike Browne, who has been confined to a wheelchair since breaking his back in a skiing accident eight years ago, plans to sail The Impossible Dream around the world - single-handedly. The 53-year-old Browne, who sailed for the UK in the Sydney Paralympics, said this unique catamaran would be owned and used by a charity he set up, Sporting Activities for the Disabled. "This is an opportunity to open a few eyes, especially to any people with disabilities who have given up on doing anything interesting or exciting in life. It is about enjoying life on the sea and proving that anybody can sail," said Browne. "There is no reason technically why, as a wheelchair user, I can't be the skipper," he added. Boats have been adapted for disabled people before, but there has never been a yacht designed from scratch to do this job." The 58-foot catamaran, designed by Nic Bailey, is expected to cost more than $1million.

Looking for something to do with your young sailors over the school holiday? The Norwalk (CT) Seaport Association is holding a vacation program for children kindergarten through sixth-grade, from February18- 22. For information, call 203-838-9444, or log onto their website at www.seaport.org.

Another date to keep in mind for junior sailors aged 13-19. On June 14-16, Sail Newport will hold an Advanced Racing Clinic in Lasers. Laser Radials and C420s. The clinic is limited to 12 boats in each class, based on resumes. For information: www.sailnewport.org/clinic/


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