The U.S. National Team Trials were recently held at the Corpus Christi Yacht Club in Corpus Christi, Texas. One hundred twenty-one of the nation's top junior sailors (ages 8-15) converged upon the gulf town to compete for a chance to make the 2002 U.S. Optimist National Team. In addition, the top five finishers would compete in the Optimist Worlds slated for July, also at Corpus Christi YC. All sailors had qualified to compete at the Team Trials through various USODA events during the previous year. One hundred twenty-one invited competitors came from as far away as Florida, Maine, New Jersey, and California. Over three days of sailing, with winds ranging between 15-36 knots and with huge waves as high as 4-ft, the competitors sailed nine races on a trapezoid course set a half-mile offshore. For many, it was an unforgettable experience -- especially for the sailors from the Long Island Sound, who rarely experienced such conditions. According to Kenneth Andreasen, Director of Sailing for USODA, "Once again we saw that sailing is a true sport, where the sailors need to know about tactics, technique and sail setup, but also be in great physical shape to be able to handle the conditions." Racing four races on the first day of the regatta, Parker Dwyer, from Bellport Bay Club in Long Island, NY, held a commanding lead. The wind was so strong the next day that the Race Committee decided to have only three races, to the applause of everyone on the water.
In the end, several sailors from the group that practiced at Manhasset Bay YC this past spring (with Erin Maxwell, the former all-American skipper from Dartmouth) were invited to join the U.S. National Team, a team comprised of the top 40 junior sailors (under the age of 16) in the country. This included Manhasset Bay YC's Teddy Himler, a seventh-grader at Manhasset Middle School. Others from the spring sailing group who earned a place on the U.S. National Team were Mark du Moulin (Larchmont YC), Cameron Cullman and Scott Furnari (American YC), Leigh Hammel (Noroton YC), and Ariel Koehler (Cow Harbor Sailing Program).
The top five finishers who qualified for the USA Worlds Team are: Parker Dwyer, Bellport Bay Club, Long Island; Mitch Hall, Clearwater YC, FL; Jackson Benvenutti, Bay Waveland YC; Kyle Rogachenko, Toms River YC, NJ; and Timothy Murphy, St. Petersburg YC, FL. The 2002 ADT Optimist World Sailing Championship will be held in Corpus Christi from July 3-14.
Frostbite racing is over for the season. The last race, the Long Distance Race, was held on Saturday, April 27. Eight teams of sailors competed in the event, and called it the "best long distance race in years." While there was little to no wind, and the IC Dinghies had to be towed out to Kraus' Kastle, the competitors were quite pleased with the innovative way the Race Committee, especially Herb Schmidt and Sue Miller, handled the wind conditions. Instead of setting a course before the race, these two veteran RC members, decided it would make sense to set only the first mark, and then set subsequent marks according to the wind conditions at that time. For a racer, this means that their team would sail to the first mark, and receive instructions on the location of the second mark as they rounded the mark. Race Committee members hovered near the mark in crash boats ready to supply the needed information, while other RC members quickly planted the next mark. The result of these efforts enabled the participants to enjoy a longer race that took them to the outer bay - to Plum Point and over to Kings Point - but not out into the Sound as originally planned. The race lasted approximately one hour and 20 minutes and ended at the Manhasset Bay YC dock. At the conclusion of the racing, family and friends enjoyed what could easily be called the "best part of frostbiting." The Annual Picnic, which is always delightfully delicious, with a menu of clams, mussels, hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken, didn't disappoint. This close-knit group enjoyed a leisurely lunch with good friends, with a glorious view of Manhasset Bay as a background. The only good thing about the end of the frostbiting season is that the "other" season of sailing is about to begin. Winners of the Ocean Race: 1. #536, Pedro Lorson/Mimi Berry, 2. # 514, Ted Toombs/Matt Cornachio, and 3. #007, John Silbersack/Johanna Silbersack.