Move over Punxsutawney Phil. Here in Manhasset Bay we have better predictions for the onset of spring. Just a few weeks ago, your reporter was driving past the s-curve near the Science Museum and saw one lone sailboat near the Plandome shore. She was beautiful with her full sails against a bright blue sky. And just this past weekend, another lone sailboat, this time a little bit smaller, was sailing on Mill Pond. Closer investigation found Charlie Blume, from the Mill Pond Model Yacht Club, sailing his East Coast 12. This traditional-looking model with graceful lines has not sailed in our area, but is part of a large competitive class in Maryland, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Blume built his little model from a kit and was attracted to her because of her traditional lines, rather than a "high-tech" look. He said he may wander over to NJ to competitively sail her, but for now is content with enjoying sailing her on Mill Pond. Kind of makes one's heart beat a little faster just thinking about the spring and the first sail on Manhasset Bay. It won't be too long now!
Last Sunday afternoon was an excellent day to sail on the Bay, with sunny skies and temperatures hovering around the low 40's. Eleven teams competed, which is an excellent number, considering the fact that some sailors were still on school holiday, and competition from the Olympics, which had Canada facing the US for the Gold Medal in ice hockey. There were six racing throughout the afternoon. Winners for the day: 1. #536, Pedro Lorson/Mimi Berry, 2. #514, Ted Toombs/Matt Cornachio, and 3. #531, John Browning/Louise Browning.
On Friday March 22, at 8 pm, John Atkin, president of Save the Sound, Inc. will be at the Manhasset Bay YC to talk about Long Island Sound. Sponsored by the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound (YRA of LIS), Mr. Atkin will give a retrospective on Long Island Sound, an update on Long Island Sound environmental conditions, and local initiatives. Save the Sound, Inc. is a 30 year-old regional nonprofit environmental organization whose mission is to protect, restore and appreciate Long Island Sound and its watershed through advocacy, education and research. Mr. Atkin serves as the chairman of the Interstate Environmental Commission, chairman of the board of Restore America's Estuaries, co-chairman of the Citizen's Advisory Committee for the Long Island Sound Study, and chairman of the Long Island Sound Watershed Alliance. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Coast Alliance and treasurer of Earth Share New England. Prior to assuming his position at Save the Sound, John wrote and taught about the Sound, and served ten years in the Connecticut State Legislature, four of them in the State Senate. There is no charge for the talk, but membership and donations to Save the Sound are welcome. Call the YRA of LIS office at 767-9240 to make a reservation.
News for Optimist sailors - the United States Optimist Dinghy Association (USODA) and the Corpus Christi YC have been selected to host the 40th annual International Optimist Dinghy Association's World Sailing Championship regatta. This is the first time that the regatta has been held in the US since 1966. Sponsored by Tyco International, Ltd., this prestigious youth sailing event will be held from July 3 - 14, 2002. Each of the 90 nations invited to the regatta will send five of their best Opti sailors to represent their country. At eight feet in length, the International Optimist Dinghy is the largest and fastest growing sailboat class in the world. In the United States alone, there are over 11,000 registered Optis. With over 100 nations having Optimist fleets, the IODA reports over 113,000 registered boats worldwide. The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) recognizes the International Optimist Dinghy as the official sailboat for children from 7-15 years of age. The Opti is the springboard for future Olympic sailors, as 50 percent of all dinghy skippers at the Sydney Olympic Games were former Opti sailors. Today's Opti can take a child from his or her first pleasure sail to the largest international sailing competitions in the world. It is estimated that 9,000 children worldwide started to sail in an Opti last year (approximately 1,000 of those were in the USA). On the racing side, 59 countries participated in the 2000 International Optimist World Sailing Championship in Spain, making it the largest World Championship of any one-class design. The first Optimist appeared on our Bay in the mid-80's allowing our youngest sailors to participate in local sailing programs at 8 years of age, two years younger than was previously allowed. Opti websites of interest: Optimist Worlds 2002 official site www.optimistworlds2002.com, and United States Optimist Dinghy Assoc www.usoda.org.; International Optimist Dinghy Assoc www.optiworld.org.
ESPN has acquired the rights to televise the America's Cup finals, beginning Feb 15, 2003. Their agreement with Team New Zealand provides coverage of the best-of-nine finals between New Zealand and the winner of the Louis Vuitton challenger series. The races will be aired during prime time on ESPN2, which reaches 81.4 million homes. ESPN.com will produce a section to debut in 2002, devoted to the America's Cup. The Outdoor Life Network has a tentative agreement to televise the entire Louis Vuitton Cup series. The Network plans to broadcast hundreds of hours of daily competition. The only problem is that the network doesn't reach as many households as ESPN. Maybe by end fall, something can be worked out so more families will be able to enjoy this high-level competition.
Ever wonder how the terms port and starboard came about? On Feb. 18, 1846, by general order, the United States Navy officially adopted "port" for the left side of a vessel facing forward. Previously the left side was called "larboard," but it was so easily confused with "starboard", and thus the change. Now to figure out the origins of starboard .....