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Key West Race Week seems like a distant memory. For three great sailors out of Knickerbocker YC, the memory may well not soon be forgotten, though, as their adventures were rewarded with top prizes. Tom Start, with Greg Mazarin and David Lindenbaum (a student at Schreiber High School) on board Stark's Swan 45, Rush, won first place in their division and first place overall in the highly competitive international Swan 45 fleet. Information gleaned from the KYC newsletter tells the story of how these three won top honors. Seems like the first day of sailing on Monday, January 19 in 72 degree weather and 15 -20 mph winds was a tough one because the RC tried to move the leeward gate without sufficient notice to crew, with subsequent protests taking up much time in protest rooms. At this point in time Rush was 2 points off the pace. On day two, with the crew having to suffer another day of 72( weather and good breeze, Rush (4,2,2,4) trailed the leader Vim (2,2,4,1) by only three points by the end of the day. Wednesday, with the same weather but slightly lighter winds, found Rush in the lead by the end of the day, beating their nemesis soundly, and ahead by three points. Thursday dawned warm and windy, and while Rush did not sail quite as well as hoped, managed to stay ahead of Vim, but with no throw out and every race counting, Friday's one race determined the winner. This is racing at its best, with Rush just two points ahead of Vim and three points over another competitor. So what does Rush do to protect the lead - she goes out and wins the start with very aggressive sailing that protects the right side of the course. With Vim at her heels throughout the race, Rush sails to victory and brings home some nice silver. Congratulations to all.

Even though Manhasset Bay is still frozen (and has been since the beginning of January), the ocean out at Robert Moses State Park looked pretty good with its dark blue waves cascading to shore.

While our local frostbiters have been frozen out of sailing since the beginning of the year, 25 teams from all over New England, New York, New Jersey, and Ohio came to compete in InterClub Midwinters at the Severn Sailing Association, Annapolis MD. Twenty races in total (ten in each division) were completed in blustery Northwest winds, but the short fetch off the Naval Academy breakwater kept the seas relatively flat. Final results: 1) Chad Demarest / Whitney Besse and Steve Kirkpatrick / Jane Kirkpatrick, 95 pts; 2) Jesse Falsone / Nancy Gilreath and Simon Strauss / Lisa Pline, 98 pts; 3) Mike Ingham / Liz Bower and Wayne Pignolet / Barb Evans, 113 pts. For more information, go to www.interclub.org

After a three-year decline in boating accidents, fatalities rose sharply in 2002 with 750 deaths compared to 681 the previous year, according to a preliminary report by the Coast Guard. Operator inattention, inexperience and excessive speed were prevalent factors in the accidents. Drowning accounts for 70 percent of fatalities and 85 percent of those who drowned were not wearing a life jacket. Boating fatalities involving alcohol use rose to 39 percent in 2002 an increase from 34 percent the year before. Fatalities involving canoes and kayaks decreased from 101 fatalities reported in 2001 to 78 the following year. The number of registered boats continued to rise, breaking the 13 million mark in 2002, with powerboats (41 percent), personal watercraft (28 percent) and cabin boats (15 percent). "These statistics confirm the need for boaters to take charge of their safety and the safety of their passengers throughout the year," said Captain Scott Evans, chief of the Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety. "We want to be sure boaters are getting the message."

It's a hubbub of activity at three south Florida yacht clubs as the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials-Sailing got under way for five of the nine classes chosen for the 2004 Olympic Games. Ft. Lauderdale Yacht Club is hosting the trials for the Europe and Finn classes; Key Biscayne Yacht Club is hosting the 49er and Yngling; and Miami Yacht Club is hosting the Tornado. The first race of the series (24 planned races for 49ers, 16 for all other fleets) started Saturday, February 14. The format for the U.S. Trials is to replicate the Olympic Games as closely as possible. Racing continues until Sunday, February 22, with a mandatory lay day yesterday (Wednesday, February 18). At the series conclusion, the winners in each event will be named to the 2004 Olympic Team that will represent the U.S.A. in Athens, Greece next August at the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad.

From all indications, the Olympic Team Trials-Sailing will be as tough, if not tougher, than the Olympic Regatta itself. US SAILING's Olympic Director Jonathan Harley explained: "Though some of the athletes competing are ranked nationally among the top five teams in their classes and are members of the annually-designated US Sailing Team by virtue of those rankings, the Trials are a winner-take-all proposition. Everyone starts with a clean slate, which means previous regatta standings, championship titles and rankings mean nothing. There is no room for mistakes, and if you don't win, there is no consolation prize." Not every country runs its Olympic Sailing Trials that way, but Harley insists that it has--over the last five Olympiads--helped to make the U.S.A.'s Olympic Sailing Team one of the most successful of those competing in the Summer Olympic Games, with 27 medals won during that period.

The New York team of Hannah Swett, Joan Touchette and Melissa Purdy sailing in the Yngling class was in second place after four races at the Coral Reef YC and US Sailing Center at the end of last weekend. Saturday had great breezes on Biscayne Bay but Sunday brought rain showers alternating with sun, accompanied by heavy chop on the water. Monday brought a dying northerly breeze to the bay, and the 49er racing was cancelled after a 90 minute postponement. The Yngling class managed to complete two races on Monday, February 16, with our team from New York landing in a three way tie for second place with Betsy Alison and Carol Cronin after six races with one discard. The leading team of Sally Barkow, Carrie Howe and Debbie Capozzi with eight points, is ahead by six points. Complete results: www.ussailing.org/olympics/OlympicTrials/2004/index.asp


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