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The sailing season is really getting close now. The days are getting a little longer, the weather is getting somewhat warmer, residents have begun strolling near the waterfront, and boats have been sighted on the Mill Pond and Manhasset Bay. Just last weekend brought two models boats match racing on the pond, and there were nine Optimist prams sailing on Manhasset Bay on Saturday. The Opti group was part of an Advanced Optimist Clinic. Thanks to Peter Himler, of Manhasset, who organized the clinic, nine young Opti sailors had the opportunity to spend time with Erin Maxwell, a four- time All-American women's collegiate sailor from Dartmouth. Erin, who graduated from Dartmouth last spring, and is now working at Lehman Brothers as a Global Prime Broker in New York City, has won the National Junior Women's Double Handed Championships two times, the Club 420 North American Championship twice, and most recently was 14th in the 470 Worlds last September in Slovenia. She plans to train for the 2004 Olympics in Athens. For this clinic, she focused on starting line strategies, and downwind tactics. Never having met the group before, Maxwell was able to immediately establish rapport with these young sailors, and her whiteboard talk captured the attention of even the youngest sailor in the group, who was 10 years old. At the end of her presentation, she had the group suited up and in the Optis, sailing out to Manhasset Bay to practice their starts over and over again. Great wind conditions on Saturday allowed a full day of sailing, but Sunday's high winds, kept them ashore, where they spent the morning with Maxwell learning more about their sport. Next week, she will be back on our bay to coach the group again. Local sailors included Tedd Himler, of Manhasset and Mark du Moulin, of Larchmont, the son of Richard du Moulin, who sailed on our bay as a junior, and the grandson of Ed du Moulin, who sails his Lady Del locally, and who is known for his involvement with the America's Cup. Other participants in the clinic included: Ariel Koehler, Cameron Cullman, Scott Furnari, Philip Forgione, Ed-Jude Glackin, Jay Greenfield, and Austen Anderson.

Started in 1996 by Bob Baranaskas of Northport, the Cow Harbor Sailing Team, affectionately called the "Cows," has approximately 100 junior sailors from Eastern Long Island, New York City, Westchester, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, who sail 420s Lasers, and Optis. The idea behind this group is to give these advanced sailors an opportunity to have more individualized coaching by some of the top sailors. Upcoming clinics this spring, which will be hosted by Manhasset Bay YC and other yacht clubs on western Long Island Sound, will bring Olympic bronze medallist Courtenay Becker Day and world-class 470 sailor Elizabeth Kratzig to coach these lucky juniors.

The final day of racing of the 2002 Acura SORC (Southern Ocean Racing Conference) brought conditions that the sailors had been waiting for all week: bright blue skies, warm sun and winds building to 15 knots. Held off the shore of Miami Beach on March 6-10, this annual competition was established by a group of Florida yacht clubs in the winter of 1941. Originally called the Southern Circuit, the SORC reached its peak in 1973, when skippers, crews, boat designers, sailmakers, navigators and tacticians could build their reputations on performance at the SORC. But offshore racing design changed and increase demands on skippers/crews leisure forced the format to change from six races spread over four weeks to a one week of intensive sailing. Local sailors participating in this year's Acura SORC included John Thomson on Solution, a Farr 40. Thomson, with Stretch Ryder on board, came in eighth overall in the Farr 40 class. Not only was this class the largest fleet to compete this year in the SORC, but it is also generally known as the most fiercely competitive class.

Sandy Lindebaum of the Cow Bay Cruising Association (CBCA), better known as Thirsty Thursday, has announced that the CBCA Annual Meeting and presentation of awards will be held on Saturday, March 30 at 10 am at the Knickerbocker YC. Some of the issues to be discussed at the meeting include the order of starts, catamarans, rules, Women Skipper night, moving to the YRA and USSAILING starting sequence, division realighment, postponement sequence and rating questions. Sailors planning to participate won't want to miss this important meeting.

For those readers interested in colleges that have good sailing programs, Sailing World magazine's coaches have ranked the top sailing colleges in the U.S. The panel of coaches included Michael Callahan (Georgetown), Ken Legler (Tufts), and Mike Segerblom (USC). Top five Coed colleges (previous rank): 1. Harvard (1), 2. Georgetown (6), 3. St. Mary's (7), 4. Tufts (4), and 5. Hawaii (5). The top five Women's colleges (previous rank): 1. St. Mary's (1), 2. Brown (2), 3. Old Dominion (3), 4. Connecticut College (4), and 5. Yale (5). For complete rankings: www.sailingworld.com.

US SAILING has posted eight pages of Racing Rules of Sailing that readers may want to check out. It appears that some of the rules may have been changed since the 2001-2004 rulebook was published. The website: www.ussailing.org/rules/Prescriptions.pdf

Readers may enjoy a hilarious tugboat sequence found on a website. You have to see it to appreciate the humor. Titled "Just Another Day on the Water," the website is: www.graddon.net/towboat/towboat.htm


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