The new year arrived in Port Washington and Manhasset like a lamb, with weather in the mid - 50s range, light winds and great sunshine that glistened over Manhasset Bay. While landlubbers with the exception of skiers were delighted, it was worrisome to those who sail in the frostbite fleet - how would they ever live up to the expectations of a Frostbite Sailor if the weather was denying them the opportunity to sail in hail, wind, snow and sleet, as was mandated by those sailors of yesteryear who started all this back in 1932? Last year the weather was perfect for frostbiting, as the weather was wretched and cold, causing one sailor to comment, "it was one of the most miserable days of sailing ever." But Sunday, January 4th, saved the day. It was overcast, raining, cold, damp and generally not a lot of fun to be on the water. Not that anyone noticed, as everyone was having a great time, sailors and Race Committee alike.
Because New Year's Day this year fell on a Thursday, the schedule for racing in this year's regatta was altered from previous years. Only the Past Commodore's Race was held on New Year's Day, followed by informal racing. The next days of racing were on Saturday and Sunday, with the traditional Wassail Bowl and 73rd annual meeting on Saturday and the awards ceremony at the end of racing on Sunday. As usual, the Frostbite elected officials were up to their usual high jinks at the annual meeting. After a moment of silence for "sailors who have sailed their last race," Sabrina Lorson, daughter of Sheilah and Pedro Lorson, along with a few other "volunteers," helped distribute cups of cheer for the Wassail Bowl. Then the three officials at the head table, Steve Moore, Fee Mitropoulos and Malcolm Hendry, raised their cup high and toasted the Race Committee and all those participating in the regatta, and offered thanks that "we didn't get hit by the skeet shooters." Robert E. Mitchell gave his usual hilarious Treasure's Report, in absentia - people are beginning to believe he is either afraid to show his face after all these past years of reports, or that he is a phantom of someone's imagination. After a few other very important reports, it was time for the Special Awards, those spurious tomes usually written by one Steve Moore. Well, this year it was Mr. Moore's turn to receive his very own award. Called the Supreme Order of the Loon with Saboteur Clusters, it seems that Mr. Moore executed a terrific back dive into the chilly waters of Manhasset Bay on New Year's Day. The story goes somewhat like this (keep in mind who wrote this award): Commodore Pedro Lorson wanted to re-created Chip Whipple's perfectly executed back dive last summer while sailing with the MBO fleet. But whose boat could he sabotage and how could he accomplish his goals? The Supreme Order of the Loon continues, "What better excuse than gear failure? Who would ever suspect that? But whose gear? Captain Lorson considered which boat to sabotage and quickly realized that Captain Moore was the perfect foil. With all his complaining about no awards, Pedro knew there would be so sympathy for him. Pedro chose well. Steve was in second place at the leeward mark of the Past Commodore's Race, right on Pedro's heels, when suddenly his mainsheet parted and he plunged backwards into the chilly waters of Manhasset Bay. Incidentally, the judges gave his dive a 5.5. Therefore, on this Third Day of January, 2004, Commodore Stephen W. (for wet) Moore is awarded The Supreme Order of The Loon with Saboteur Cluster." Readers do not be too concerned about poor Steve Moore and his ability to keep his boat rigged safely. Ed du Moulin, a member of the Frostbite Race Committee, presented Steve with a new mainsheet to prevent a reoccurrence of his moment of glory. Time will only tell if the new mainsheet will bring success to Steve and his crew on IC Dinghy #510. In concluding the Special Award section of the meeting, Past Commodore Fee Mitropoulos commented "the truth has little to do with the Special Awards." No surprise there!
There were a few moments of serious business at the Annual Meeting, one of which was the election of officers for next year. Ted Toombs, who served as the Nominating Committee, presented the following slate to the membership, which was quickly approved. Elected were: Commodore: Bob Black; Vice Commodore: Dan Coughlin; Rear Commodore: Mimi Berry; Fleet Captain: Steve Benjamin; Dock Captain: Stephanie Baas; Treasurer: Robert Mitchell; Measurer: John Browning; and Secretary: Matt Kelley.
After the conclusion of racing on Sunday, January 4th, all skippers, crew, family, friends, and the Race Committee gathered at Manhasset Bay YC to await the results of the three days of sailing. A note to all readers: awards for sailing accomplishments are taken very seriously and are not to be confused with the aforementioned Special Awards, whose dubious research is legendary. Winner of the Past Commodore's Race: Pedro Lorson/Mimi Lorson Berry. Top of the leader board for the 72nd Frostbite Annual New Year's Regatta: 1. #536, Pedro Lorson/Mimi Berry, 2. #603, Matt Kelley/Lynn Kochendefer, 3. #514, Ted Toombs/Dave Cornachio/Matt Cornachio, and 4. #661, Jonathan Siener/Yasu Kawahara.
The following perpetual trophies were awarded; The Baker-Taylor Founders Trophy for the highest percentage in any class sailing in the Annual New Year's Frostbite Yacht Club Regatta went to Pedro Lorson. William Taylor, for whom the award is named, joined in 1934 and was a small boat sailor. While he was sports editor of the Herald Tribune, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the 1934 America's Cup Race. He became the managing editor for Yachting Magazine, and was one of the founders of the Frostbite YC. The Henry A. Alker Perpetual Trophy is awarded to the outstanding Manhasset Bay YC skipper and was awarded this year to Pedro Lorson. Henry A. Alker was a member from 1910-1952 and owned a power boat Aradus and a sloop Chicks. Pedro also won the Sam Wetherill Trophy, which is awarded to the outstanding skipper in the Annual Frostbite Dinghy Regatta. Sam Wetherill was one of the original group of frostbiters in 1933. Pedro also won the Commodore Robert W. Fraser Memorial Trophy for winning the Past Commodore's Race. Robert Fraser joined in 1913. He was a Commodore, Secretary and Race Committee Chairman. As Race Committee Chairman he initiated a Fall Regatta which later became MBYC Race Week. He was a delegate to the YRA, and was on their Nominating Committee. While he was a trustee of MBYC, he negotiated the purchase of a Naval Assault Barge, the first Worry Wart. He sailed the schooner Sirene, a Victory Class boat. The last award, Geoffrey C. Hazard Frostbite Award, went to Malcolm B. Hendry for his outstanding performance in the Penguin Class in the Annual New Year's Frostbite Regatta. Upon accepting his award, Malcolm said "I have been here since I was 14 years old and am glad to be here with all of you today." Final comments belonged to Steve Moore who thanked the Race Committee members who were manning the crash boat that picked him out of Manhasset Bay on New Year's Day. And this time, Moore was serious, and his praise truly meant.