Boatyards are coming alive up and down Long Island Sound. Thoughts of spending time on the water are motivating sailors as they prepare their boats for the upcoming season. There are so many aspects to sailing. There is racing right here every weekend on Manhasset Bay - and for the model boats, over at the Mill Pond. Every Thursday evening, there is racing in bigger boats. And the Women's Racing Clinic has been training off the water all winter long and is now ready to begin their racing schedule on an evening to be determined. During the season different venues will offer racers an opportunity to "show their stuff" in regattas near and far, such as the Round Long Island Race, Block Island Race Week, the Bermuda Race. For those sailors who do not race, there is the sweet anticipation of an afternoon on the water with family and friends, enjoying a lunch or dinner together, or an evening sail that brings good winds and spectacular sunsets. Others may cruise this summer to ports near and far and bring home memories and new friendships that will last a lifetime. There are additional options this summer that may be of interest to sailing families. The Ocean Classroom Foundation, which is nonprofit, offers sailing adventures for various skill levels, starting as young as 13 years of age. There is the Seafaring Camp aboard the 1893 schooner Lettie. G. Howard, which introduces participants to the Maine coast on a 125-foot former Grand Banks fishing schooner. Aimed at the 13 - 16 year olds, the purpose of this camp is to have fun, but during the 4-week sessions, youths function as crewmembers and are involved in all aspects of sailing the two-masted gaff-rigged schooner. According to the Executive Director, Bert Rogers, the youths "develop a great deal of confidence about facing challenge, and develop the fortitude and determination to meet those challenges". Other programs offered by the Ocean Classroom Foundation include an accredited high school program aboard the schooner Spirit of Massachusetts, which focuses on serious research, and a two-week Marine Awareness Research Expedition, for high school and college students. Ocean Classroom Foundation, P.O. Box 446, Cornwall, NY 12518. Phone (800) 724-7245. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: http://www.sailgamage.org. More options next week.
Peter Holmberg, USVI, has won his fourth Congressional Cup in five years (1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002), beating Gavin Brady, Italy, with Ken Read, USA, defeating GBR Challenge's Andy Green to come in third place overall. With this win, Holmberg ties the record of the four-time Con Cup winner Rod Davis. Holmberg's crew is all New Zealanders, and all are key players in software billionaire Larry Ellison's Oracle Racing America's Cup campaign for San Francisco's Golden Gate YC. Ken Read, the helmsman for Team Dennis Conner's Stars and Stripes challenge for the America's Cup, sailing under the burgee of the New York YC, is the only all -American syndicate challenging for the Cup. Holmberg has match raced on Manhasset Bay several times at various Knickerbocker Cup competitions, most recently at the 2000 Knickerbocker Cup, which was won that year by Ed Baird, of St. Petersburg, Florida. Ken Read has also participated in a few Knickerbocker Cups, coming in fourth place last year. Other Knickerbocker Cup participants who were in the top ten finalists of the Congressional Cup include; Andy Green, Jes Gram-Hansen, Ed Baird and Luc Pillot. Congressional Cup Final Round Robin Standings (18 rounds): 1. Peter Holmberg, 15-3; 2. Ken Read, 12-6; 3. Gavin Brady, 10-8; 4. Andy Green, 9-9, 5. Jes Gram-Hansen 9-9, 6. Scott Dickson 9-9, 7. Rod Davis 8-10; 8. Dean Barker 8-10; 9. Ed Baird 6-12; 10. Luc Pillot 4-14.
Last Sunday, April 14, was a beautiful spring day, with temperatures in the low 70s. Unfortunately, there was very little wind and racing was postponed until 2:45, when a southerly filled in and four races were completed in 13 knots of breeze. The delay allowed Race Committee, skippers and crew to enjoy a terrific barbeque lunch together on Kraus' Kastle. Winners for the day: 1. #514, Ted Toombs/Matt Cornachio, 2. # 531, John Browning/Louise Browning, and 3. #121, Philip "Fee" Mitropoulis/Amelia Amon.
Germany's first-ever challenge for the America's Cup, illbruck Challenge, has officially withdrawn from the America's Cup. The syndicate put its Cup preparations on hold in March while they searched for financial backing. When none was forthcoming, the Duesseldorf Yacht Club notified the Challenger of Record Committee and Defender Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron that they would not participate in the challenger series. Michael Illbruck, the CEO of illbruck GmbH and the Chairman of the illbruck Challenge, said "While it's disappointing that we cannot keep the team together for the next America's Cup, we hope to find a long-term solution to challenge again some time in the future." There are now nine challengers left who will compete in the Louis Vuitton Challenge series in the fall.
Just when one thinks that more money cannot be poured into our sport, another regatta is announced with a spectacular purse for the winners. The Royal Perth Yacht Club announced that they are launching a new ocean race, called the Antarctica Cup, which will start and finish in Fremantle. This "nations cup" of blue water ocean racing is open to yacht clubs around the world, which will represent their country with boats skippered and crewed by nationals of the country they represent. The race will start in 2004, is scheduled to occur every two years, and will be a 45-day non-stop race around the Southern Ocean, with the winner taking $2.5 million, with the possibility of an additional $4.65. Total purse for the race is $6.4 million. John Longley, America's Cup winning sailor, who lives in Fremantle, said, "it is not often that a great idea corresponds with a great need. I am sure that everyone interested in long distance, blue water ocean racing will be captivated by the potential of this great race." Forgetting the purse for a moment, the concept of the race is interesting. Even though the race is nonstop, there will be eleven legs, with the fleet starting and finishing by passing through a gate (either a physical gate or with electronic waypoints). The gates, which will divide the race into legs, are also an important safety feature, because they will prevent the fleet from straying too far south into dangerous iceberg territory.