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Sonar Fleet #11 held their Annual Awards dinner at the Manhasset Bay YC on Saturday, Nov. 9. One of the fastest growing fleets on Long Island Sound, the Sonar dinner was a capacity crowd, attended by the largest number of sailors in recent years. After what was described as a "sumptuous" dinner, Herb Schmidt, fleet captain, announced the winners in their respective categories. The winners for the 2002 season: top sailors for both the Championship Series (36 days of racing) and the Saturday Series (18 days of racing: 1. #652, Sounder, Rich Jordan/Jeff Shane, 2. #451, Ping, Sue Miller/John Browning, and 3. #396, Delight, Bob Kirtland. The top three positions for the Sunday Series: 1. Ping, 2. Sounder, and 3. Delight. The Handicap Series (6 races) winners: 1. #387, Serendipity, Alan Salomon, 2. #678, Whimsey, Ed Adler/Jeff Kovner, and 3. #96, Free Spirit, Herb Schmidt/Bill Cornachio. Winners in the Holiday Series (2 racing days): 1. Whimsey, 2. #356, Laurie B, Bob Baskind/Steven Phillipson, and 3. #436, Lark, Bill Brakman. Top honors for the Tune Up Series: 1. Delight, 2. Sounder, and 3. #421, Weekend Warrior, Bill Simon/Dan Simon. The Crew Series was held on Memorial Day - the winners: 1. Ping, 2. Sounder, and 3. Weekend Warrior.

The frostbite sailors met with disappointment last Sunday, Nov. 24, as racing had to be cancelled due to the high wind conditions. Even with Kraus' Kastle moved closer to shore, the white caps and the waves on Manhasset Bay, even near the dock, provided dangerous conditions for sailing in IC Dinghies. Interesting to note, though, that a fleet of 10 Optimist sailors was out on the bay during the rough weather, as they were practicing for the upcoming Optimist Mid - winter competition. One might question why these young sailors, aged 12-14 years old, could sail on such a windy day while the adult frostbiters were relegated to stay indoors. It all has to do to the boats each respective fleet sails. IC Dinghies are quite unforgiving - translate "they capsize easily", while the Optis are build wide and stable. One could think of the Optis as small bathtubs that skim the top of waves. This description does not mean to diminish the skill, motivation and courage of this young group of sailors who braved the weather and, as their reward, had a beautiful sunny, but challenging, afternoon of sailing on Manhasset Bay. Kudos to these talented young competitors.

Manhasset Bay is not the only area having difficulty with weather conditions. The Louis Vuitton Cup was abandoned for the third day in a row because of the fickle conditions on the Hauraki Gulf. Saturday's racing (November 23) was cancelled due to not enough wind, Sunday's racing had to be canceled because of extremely stormy and gusty wind out on the race course, and last Monday's competition was abandoned when the wind refused to rise above the seven-knot wind limit before the 4 p.m. deadline. Climate scientist Georgina Griffiths said that this spring - it is spring "down under"- the predominant winds were coming from the west, or southwest, but for the past three years the wind pattern at this time of year had been from the north or northeast. Either way, she said, racing fans should just get used to the fickle gulf weather upsetting the official race schedule. "That's just life," said Griffiths. "Traditionally, especially in September and October, it would be tough for them to get racing in every day because typically at this time of the year it's windy out on the gulf." Even with increased wind limits for racing, 18 out of 30 race days have been disrupted since the Louis Vuitton challenger series began on Oct. 1. But Griffiths predicted that wind levels during the America's Cup races in February should be similar to those of three years ago, when Team New Zealand beat Prada 5-0 to hold the cup. Winds then tended to even out between northerly sea breezes and southwesters. "We would anticipate a lot more settled climate in the New Year, and the El Nino impact would be much, much reduced.

Team Dennis Conner and Prada Challenge, challengers for the America's Cup today issued the following joint statement on Sunday, Nov. 24: "The New York Yacht Club, the longest-standing trustee of the America's Cup, and Yacht Club Punta Ala, the present Challenger of Record, have today filed a joint application with the America's Cup.

Arbitration Panel regarding Seattle Yacht Club (OneWorld Challenge). The application follows recent access to evidence in connection with the possession and use by OneWorld of other syndicates' design information. In the interests of the event, the applicants believe that there must be a full and timely investigation. NYYC and YCPA are now waiting for directions from the Panel. No further comment will be made whilst the application is pending."

Ellen MacArthur, who has been informally titled the Queen of the Ocean, crossed the finish line of the Route du Rhum off Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe Saturday, Nov. 23, smashing a plethora of records. Thousands of wellwishers lined the beaches to welcome her and were on hand to enjoy the flares she set off just minutes before crossing the finish line. MacArthur, the 26-year-old winner of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award in 2001, is the first female skipper and the first British citizen to win the monohull class of the Route du Rhum. The previous record for monohulls in the Route du Rhum was 15 days, 19 hours, 23 minutes (Yves Parlier sur Cacolac d'Aquitaine en 1994), Ellen MacArthur has established a new record time on the course Saint-Malo/Pointe-à-Pitre, at 13 days, 13 hours and 31 minutes, 47 seconds.

Said MacArthur, "My strongest memory is the pleasure I've had aboard! It is hard getting used to the idea that I will have to leave it. The race has been really hard and I would like to share this victory with my entire team who helped me. I was never alone. This result is down to teamwork, especially during the months spent preparing the boat. The motivation is energy passion, emotion from everyone around. And the people following the project have spent some moments that weren't easy. I think about those who are behind a lot when I'm out there."

To all our readers: Have a wonderful, happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.


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