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Mother nature seems to be playing tricks on us. Two weekends ago, when frostbiting season began, the weather was cold, damp and about 20 degrees lower than the normal temperature for the early part of November. One could say that, even for a frostbiter, the weather was basically unpleasant, especially when it is the first excursion out on Manhasset Bay for our "winter sport." Fast-forward to last Sunday, Nov. 10, and the Sunday competitors were greeted with an overcast sky and almost balmy weather, reaching the mid-60s. But the wind was so strong, at 15-20 knots out of the SW, with higher gusts, that the RC cancelled racing for the IC dinghies and ran four races off the Manhasset Bay dock for the six Laser sailors. One might ask why RC would allow one class of boats to sail and not another. IC dinghies, a two-man boat about 11 feet long, are "unforgiving" boats, easily capsized, and quite difficult to right, especially in windy conditions. The one-person Lasers, on the other hand, capsize frequently, but are easily righted, as the skipper merely crawls to the high side of the boat and stands on the rudder to bring the boat and sail back to the normal sailing position. The laser sailors had a lot of practice "righting" their boats last Sunday, as RC counted at least 15 capsizes, but then stopped counting. For readers unfamiliar with this boat, rest assured that the skippers were safe at all times, as three crash boats followed them around the racecourse. But only once did a Laser sailor need RC assistance, and that was only to untangle lines that had wrapped around a mooring.

Even though high winds prevented the IC dinghies to compete on Sunday, two veteran dinghy sailors asked to be given starts and received permission from the RC. Pedro Lorson/Mimi Berry and Ted Toombs/Mark Cornachio match raced throughout the afternoon, and as was expected, did not capsize. Results for Sunday, Nov. 10, only for the Lasers, as the two IC dinghies were racing unofficially: 1. #166158, Rick Dominique, 2. #156932, Brian Burke, and 3. #24, Adam Blackwell.

Tom Stark, from Knickerbocker YC, sailing on his new Swan 45, Rush, won the Swan 45 Class, Class B (25 boats) and was third overall (112 boats) in the 2002 Swan Cup, hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy. The Swan Cup is contested every two years. In addition to class honors, Tom won the prestigious Highland Fling Trophy for the best Owner/Driver, and the Volvo trophy for first overall in the long distance race. Stark functioned as tactician for Ed Baird in the match race series held before the Swan Cup, which they also won.

The America's Cup Louis Vuitton Series has completed Round Robin Two and the teams have had several weeks off to work on their boat designs, trying to get their boats to sail just a little bit faster, as a second or two can make a difference in winning or losing a match race. According to Tom Schnackenburg, from Team New Zealand, the 2003 Cup defender, syndicates are allowed to change the boat as much as 50 percent of its hull surface without needing a new sail number, which is really a huge amount. A team can change their boat "5 percent here, 5 percent there and 10 percent here and add up to something a little less than 50 percent. So we've got an enormous amount of freedom to race." Only two syndicates plan to use another boat for the Louis Vuitton Cup quarterfinals. Team Dennis Conner plans to sail USA-77, the boat that sunk off the California coast three months ago. Ken Read, helmsman on Stars and Stripes, said that USA-77 has a speed edge over their other boat, and the boat builders and the team's shore crew has worked hard to ready her for competition. OneWorld, out of Seattle, will bring in USA-65 to replace USA-67. While OneWorld won all their races in the first round robin, they lost three races in the second set of races.

Starting on Nov. 12, weather permitting, the eight remaining syndicates will compete in a best of seven series. The line-up for the best of seven series: Wight Lightning GBR 70 versus Stars & Stripes USA 77; Alinghi SUI 64 versus Luna Rossa ITA 74; Orm SWE 73 versus Le Defi FRA 69; and Oracle BMW Racing USA 76 versus OneWorld USA 65.

The historic 133-foot schooner Coronet, flagship of the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS) in Newport, RI, has received $350,000 in funding from the Save America's Treasures program Historic Preservation Fund within the National Park Service. The funding will be directed toward Phase II of Coronet's restoration and reconstruction, allowing the yacht to be hauled from its dockside berth at IYRS this February for continued work on its hull. Phase I, begun in 1999, included exhaustive research and documentation of Coronet's history.

"Coronet is the oldest and most original grand yacht in the world," said IYRS Chairman and Founder Elizabeth Meyer. "She is a priceless historical artifact and a magnificent example of American design and engineering. Her state of preservation is extraordinary and her hull and interior are substantially original. This is why Coronet has been recognized by our government as one of America's historical treasures."

Built in 1885 in New York City, Coronet is the only vessel of her size and age to survive the golden age of sail intact to the present day. Her history encompasses notable achievements in racing, voyaging and exploration, including winning the 1887 Transatlantic Race; being among the first American yachts to round Cape Horn; and completing 19th century visits to Hawaii, the West Indies, Palestine and Japan.

ESPN2 will host a one-hour program, The Best of the West, on Monday evening, Nov. 18 at 10:30 pm. The program includes highlights on the Nautica 2002 Star Class Championships, the St. Francis YC (CA) Big Boat Series and the Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race.


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