On The Bay
by Andrea Watson
The sailing season is just around the corner. The Mill Pond Model YC members have been out on the pond for the last three or four weekends and are having a terrific time. The Thirsty Thursday group will race on Manhasset Bay starting on Thursday, May 23rd. And Bay Racing will be in full swing in a few weeks. The Sonars had limited racing this past weekend, May 11-12, and plan to be out racing in greater numbers for their Tune-up Series. And these avid Sonar racers will be treated to an all day sailing clinic, led by Brian Hayes of North Sails on Saturday, May 18th from 9:00 am - 6:00 pm at the Manhasset Bay YC. The clinic is for Sonar skippers and crew and will include on the water and dockside tuning, with an afternoon video presentation. The Ideal 18s, which are increasing each year on the bay, are ready to go, and the KODs (Knickerbockers One Designs) and the MBODs (Manhasset Bay One Designs) will soon join the other classes to round out the starting line on upcoming weekends.
The start of the sailing season always brings to mind the topic of safety, and the need for all skippers and crew to be ready for any and all conditions at sea. The Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound (YRA-LIS) Safety-at-Sea Seminar, which was co-hosted by the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point gave some good advice to those who attended the seminar, which readers may find interesting. While the seminar is aimed at offshore sailors, much of the information is pertinent to day sailors on Long Island Sound, those who are planning to cruise this season, and to those racers who will join the Round Long Island Race, Block Island Race Week, the Bermuda Race, or any of the myriad scheduled regattas in our area. The seminar included information on boat safety, and skipper/crew safety. Steve D'Antonio, a boatyard operator from Virginia spoke about boat equipment installations. His themes were three: flood, fire and control. Don't ignore the basics, for it is the simple things that will get you into trouble. Boat owners should check that through hull fittings are not made of plastic, nylon or dissimilar metals. Seacocks with 2 to 3 inches of overlapping threads, and double hose clamps are the best, but use caution near the hose clamp "blades" that stick out at the ends. Batteries should be securely boxed in with no play. Electrical wiring should be cabled and secured with zero play, and thru-the-bulkhead passages should be chafe-protected. And always carry spares of everything. Dr. Mike Jacobs, a gastroenterologist and sailor from Martha's Vineyard spoke on skipper and crew readiness and safety. His themes: food, fluid, Fahrenheit, fatigue and fitness. He suggested that sailors eat lots of carbohydrates, drink 3.5 quarts of water a day, even if not thirsty. And to avoid hypothermia, wear clothing in layers, using a windbreaker to retard evaporation through the skin. Do not use cotton sweats as they absorb water. One way to avoid injury is to be very cautious near the companionway stairs, as this is one of the most dangerous areas, and remember that fingers are very susceptible to injuries, so plan before doing an activity. All skippers and crew should plan to practice a man-overboard drill at the beginning of the season, and it would not be a bad idea to get a basic understanding of isobars and three-dimensional weather models.
The US SAILING Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal is given to skippers of pleasure boats or race support vessels who effect rescues of victims from the water. The award is made for rescues in U.S. waters, or in races that originate or terminate in a U.S. port. The Rescue Medal has been in existence for twelve years and is administered by US SAILING's Safety-at-Sea Committee (SASC). This year the award was presented to the Texas A&M University of Galveston "Open Team Race" at their Graduation Ceremony on May 11th. US SAILING will present the Rescue Medal to the sailors-turned divers, first-aid and CPR providers and rescuers of the sailing team who saved a suicidal man and his five passengers (aged 6 months to 26 years of age) after he drove into Galveston Bay, Texas, landing and sinking 15-20 feet offshore in 9-12 feet of water. The van landed about 30 feet from the starting line of the team's regatta starting line. Participants in the regatta repeatedly dove into the water to reach the trapped victims, with visibility less than 12 inches. Failing to get the doors or windows open, the rescuers called for rocks from shore which they utilized, along with an to smash the windows. The sailors spent approximately 10 minutes recovering the remaining victims, all of whom were unconscious. All five occupants were administered CPR and first aid on shore by the sailor rescuers, and it was during this time that emergency vehicles arrived. Then the victims were transported to the hospital and were determined to be in critical condition. One month later, all were released from the hospital with good prognoses. Local emergency response professionals are amazed that no rescuers were themselves drowned, as the statistics for rescuers becoming trapped underwater are alarming. A well-deserved honor for this remarkable team of sailors from Texas A&M.
The Oyster Bay Sailing Foundation is hosting an Advanced Racing Clinic on May 25-27 at the Yocum Sailing Center, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point. The 14th annual event will offer three days of intense training and racing to 80 interested youth, collegiate and adult sailors. The daytime program consists of calisthenics, lectures, and on-the-water drills including tactics, sail trim, etc. On Saturday and Sunday evenings there are presentations covering racing skills as well as information from special quests on what is required for an Olympic campaign, college or high school sailing and other high performance topics. The Clinic is held in Lasers, Laser Radials and Club 420's. Applicants who are 14 years or older and a current member of US SAILING will be selected based on their experience and record. The deadline for registration is past, but there may be an opening available. For more information, call 516-367-3238.
Don't' forget HarborFest this Saturday, May 18th. Come down to the waterfront and enjoy a day devoted to all things nautical.