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Readers may recall a past column of On the Bay that mentioned the Model Sailboat Regatta that was part of HarborFest last May 18. Unfortunately the day was cancelled because of rain, to the disappointment of many who had planned to attend. Probably most disappointed were the school children from Port's third grade classes who had built sailboats out of recycled materials in conjunction with their science unit on buoyancy. Well, patience paid off, for these children who worked so diligently on their creations had a chance to complete the project by competing in the very delayed, but exciting Model Boat Regatta, which was held on the Mill Pond last Saturday, June 8. Many parents, grandparents and friends watched as Mike Block and Ed Lawrence, the creators of this educational and fun project, waded into the pond to start four race divisions. The two men gathered boats from each division and place them in what appeared to be a "starting block" which closely resembled a ladder placed horizontally on the water. With a short countdown of five seconds, the long - awaited event began to cheers from the crowd. Comments heard from the crowd included, "I think you're ahead," "oops a capsize" and a delightful dialogue between mother and daughter: mother: "how do you know when the race is over"? her daughter's reply: "I don't know." Not a competitive crowd, this group, but children and parents enjoying our most precious natural resource - the waterfront. Your reporter happened to catch up with one of the boat-builders, 9-year-old Sousa third grader, Madelaine Reis, daughter of Alyce and Sandy Reis, who really understood the concepts underlying the boat-building project. She spoke of keels and buoyancy, sails and recyclable materials. When asked what she meant by recyclable materials, she replied, "We made a boat of reusable materials, which helps save the environment, because less space is needed for garbage." This is education at its best, thanks to Mike Block and Ed Lawrence, with the support of the third grade teaching staff at Port's schools.

Thirsty Thursday results for June 6: Division I (Course ZMC, 5.49 nm): 1. Avalanche, Al Albrecht, 2. Promise Kept, Sandy Lindenbaum, and 3. Rising Star, Yehuda Rosenstock. Division II (Course ZMI, 4.54 nm): 1. Xcite, Yalcin Tarhan, and 2. Vision, Marc Epstein. Division II (Course ZMI, 4.54 nm): 1. En Passant, Bob Ebenau, and 2. Tootsie, Ron Fink. Division catamaran (Course ZMC, 4.54 nm): 1. Renegade, Andy Ledins.

On Saturday, June 8, 11 Sonars were on the starting line for the one race that was completed for the day. The wind was very light out of the northeast, which prevented the RC from giving the Sonars additional races. The winners for the day: 1. #451, Ping, Sue Miller/John Browning, 2. #652, Sounder, Rick Jordan/Jeff Shane, and 3. #436, Lark, Bill Brakman. Race results for Sunday, June 9 were unavailable at press time.

America's Cup update: Team Dennis Conner christened and launched Stars & Stripes, USA-77 a few weeks ago at a ceremony held at the team's training compound in Long Beach, CA. Sponsors, New York Yacht Club members, family and friends attended the celebration, which marks the next phase of Conner's America's Cup challenge. "There were a lot of smiles on a lot of faces today," said Dennis Conner after his wife Daintry ceremoniously blessed USA-77 by smashing a bottle of Moet Brut Imperial over the bow. "This day symbolizes how committed myself, our team, the New York Yacht Club and our corporate sponsors are to bringing the Cup home to America. It has been my dream for 20 years to win the Cup and return it to the east coast. With these new boats and our veteran crew of American sailors, I feel this is one of the best campaigns I've ever put together. The bare hull of USA-77 just left Newport, Rhode Island two weeks ago and here she is going sailing today, which is true testament to how hard our whole team has worked to make this day possible." The two-boat testing phase will continue through the end of July, when the team will relocate to Auckland, New Zealand to train on location for the Louis Vuitton Cup later this year - and hopefully challenge Team New Zealand for the America's Cup in mid-February, 2003.

Did you know that college sailing began in the 1890s as an informal club sport and has grown to include more than 200 active colleges since racing became organized in 1928. The first women's championship was held in 1967 at Wilson College in Pennsylvania. Racing now occurs every weekend during the fall and spring and on many weekends during the winter. Proof that college sailing is the best incubator for the development of racing skills can be found in the significant numbers of former college sailors progressing to Olympic and America's Cup competition.

Saturday June 15 at 4 pm ESPN2 will present Leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race from La Rochelle to Gothenburg.

Happy Father's Day to all our dads, grandfathers and great-grandfathers. Enjoy the day!


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