As frostbite sailors woke up Sunday morning, November 17th, the wind on Manhasset Bay was predicted to be in the gale force range, and thoughts of sailing during the afternoon hours were all but forgotten. Race Committee Chairperson Herb Schmidt held off canceling for the day to wait to see if the wind might decrease and prove the weather forecasters wrong. Luckily for the sailors, who really do not like to miss a weekend of sailing and eagerly await the opportunity to sail in cold, damp and rainy weather, the front was stalled keeping the wind between 12-14 knots out of the NNE, perfect for the little dinghies. Seven teams of racers competed in five races, with the last race of the day a crew race. There were no Laser sailors out last Sunday. The winners for the day: 1. #536, Pedro Lorson/Mimi Berry, 2. #661, Jonathan Siener/Monique Gaylor, and 3. #707, Bob Kirtland/Mark Cornachio. Mimi Berry won the crew race. Normally this column does not record second place in the crew race, but this week an exception is being made. Louise Browning, who is 12 years old, came in second to Mimi Berry, who is a very experience sailor. Louise skippered her IC dinghy with confidence and skill, and it was a joy to see her do so well. Louise is the daughter of John Browning and Stephanie Baas, both of whom are avid Sonar and Ideal 18 sailors in the warm weather months and skipper their own "his and her" IC dinghies during the winter.
Several local college freshman from our area participated in the Atlantic Coast Freshman Championship that was held at Hobart and William Smith College on the weekend of November 9-10. Kelly Barry, sailing for Boston University, placed 9th in the B division and 11th overall. Emily Whipple, a freshman from Connecticut College, placed 7th in the B division, and was 5th overall. Ed du Moulin, sailing with the Georgetown University sailing team, and who is the grandson of Ed du Moulin of Sands Point, came in 2nd in the B division and 2nd overall. 12 races were completed over the two-day regatta, with wind from the SW at 10-15 knots on Saturday. Higher winds challenged the competitors on Sunday, with wind ranging from 15 -25 knots, providing surfing conditions in the large waves.
The Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas was the host for this year's Farr 40 World Championship, which concluded on November 16th after four days of competition in poster-perfect sailing conditions. Steve Phillips of Arnold, MD, with tactician Mark Reynolds, a three-time Olympic medallist from San Diego and the recipient of the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award in 2001, came in first overall. Second place went to the only woman skipper in the regatta, Deneen Demourkas of Montecito, Calif. Local sailor John Thomson, skippered his boat, Solution, to a 20th place overall. Ralf Steitz, who has America's Cup experience, and sails both in the summer and with the frostbite fleet, was one of Thomson's crew on Solution.
America's Cup update: The Quarter Finals of the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series is over. Sweden's Victory Challenge and Team Dennis Conner of the U.S. have advanced to the Quarterfinal Repechage Round of Louis Vuitton Cup 2003. The two teams advanced to the next round of competition after winning their Flight 5 matches. Victory defeated France's le Défi Areva and Team Dennis Conner downed GBR Challenge, each by a score of 4-1 in the best-of-seven series. Oracle BMW beat OneWorld 4-0 in the Quarter Finals, knocking down OneWorld to the Quarter Final Repechage and advancing directly to the Semi Finals where they will pair off with Alinghi on December 9th. Italy's Prada Challenge pulled out of the remaining matches in its Louis Vuitton Cup quarterfinal series against Switzerland's Team Alinghi, sending the latter to the Semi Finals to sail against Oracle. Prada had trailed the best-of-seven series 3-0. Prada and OneWorld Challenge will have to sail in the Repechage round, scheduled to begin on November 23rd. On the strength of its Round Robin record, OneWorld will pick its opponent for the Repechage.
For those readers who enjoy following the news out of Auckland (Louis Vuitton Challenger Series/America's Cup), there are some great stories and photos, and reportedly the "inside scoop" on what is really happening behind the scenes, visit the Harken website at http://www.harken.com/acup/acdefault.php
A brochure arrived at my desk the other day from the Naval Institute Press in Annapolis, MD that described some interesting books for those of you out there who love to read about the history of the sea, or are thinking ahead to holiday gifts. Some of the titles include: USS Constellation: From Frigate to Sloop of War by Geoffrey M. Footner, Medicine Under Sail by Zachary B. Friedenberg, and Sailing Warships of the U.S. Navy by Donald L. Canney. For more information, call 800-233-8764 or visit the website at www.navalinstitute.org. And there is a recently published book called J Class - The Book, which chronicles the history of these exquisitely beautiful yachts, and includes a number of prints that are fit for framing. For more information, see http://yachting-heritage.com.