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Six New Yorkers vied for spots on the United States Olympic Sailing Team, all of them women - Meg Gaillard from Pelham NY/Jamestown, RI; Kathleen Tocke from Buffalo, NY/Newport, RI; Hannah Swett, from New York, NY/Jamestown, RI; Debbie Copozzi, Bayport, NY; Jody Swanson, Buffalo, NY; and Cory Sertl, Rochester, NY. As of Tuesday, February 24th only one qualified for the U.S Olympic Sailing Team, in the "winner takes all" Olympic Trials. Meg Gaillard has gone from series leader to series winner in the Europe Class after crossing the finish line first in both races on Saturday, February 21st at the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team Trials being run from Lauderdale Yacht Club. That performance turned her lock on the lead position into a mathematically unbeatable low score with two races remaining in the planned 16-race event. Gaillard sat out the final two races of the series, even though doing so added 15 points to her score for each race in which she takes a DNS (did not start). Those penalty points got discarded courtesy of the scoring system that allows competitors to drop their two worst finishes.

Gaillard set the pace from the outset of the regatta, only failing once to cross the finish line first - in race 10 -- when she finished second to fellow New Yorker Kathleen Tocke . She and two other sailors were over the starting line early, an infraction which required them to restart properly, leaving Gaillard with some ground to make up. She was in fifth place in the 14-boat Europe fleet at the windward mark, third at the leeward mark, and second at the finish. "I learned a bit every time, which definitely helped," replied Gaillard when asked how this Olympic Trials (her third) differed from the two previous Trials in which she finished fourth (the 1996 Trials in the 470 Women's event), and second (the 2000 Trials in the Europe class). Of her competitors in Ft. Lauderdale she noted that she had to work hard as "with all the training the girls have done, they have closed the gap." And although undecided as to how or where she would celebrate her win of the Trials, there is no doubt as to where she will be next August -- representing the U.S.A. at the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens, Greece.

On Biscayne Bay, light winds kept the 49er, Tornado and Yngling fleets postponed ashore for a good part of the day last Saturday. The breeze finally settled in at 5-7 knots which allowed three races to be held for both the 49er and Yngling sailors, and two for the Tornado class. However, it made for a late day on the water, with most racing concluding after 1800. By Monday, February 23rd, the Yngling Class had its U.S Olympic winners: Carol Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.), Liz Filter (Stevensville, Md.) and Nancy Haberland (Annapolis, Md.) with a total of 31. Hannah Swett with Joan Touchette (Newport, R.I.) and Melissa Purdy (Tiburon, Calif.) came in five points behind in second place, with third place going to Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wisc.), Carrie Howe (Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.) with New Yorker Debbie Capozzi with a final score of 38 points. Kathleen Tocke, Jody Swanson, and Cory Sertl did not place in the top three on the leaderboard.

Before Meg Galliard is off to the Olympics in Athens, Greece, she will be in Newport, RI on June 11-13, along with Zach Lenoard, Bob Merrick, Brad Read, Sam Macky, Mike Kalin, Bern Noack, Peter Alarie, Peter Levesque and John Mollicone for the third annual Sail Newport Advanced Racing Clinic. Scheduled to take place right before the Youth Championships, this clinic is patterned after the successful CISA Clinic in Southern California and will be held in Club 420s (spinnaker and trapeze), Laser Full-rigs and Laser Radials for sailors ages 14-19. Participation is limited to a select number of sailors so applications should be e-mailed early. For more information, go to: www.sailnewport.org

This Saturday, February 28, sailors (both sail and power) are invited to the Halloween YC for a boating seminar called "Destination Block Island: An Adventure Cruise." Jack Alexander, who has been cruising local waters for three decades on his Oh Boys, will share his advice and tips on how to enjoy a boating vacation at one of the favorite cruising ports, and will describe how getting there can be half the fun. This multi-media program will begin at 10 a.m. sharp and will adjourn at noon. Although the workshop is free, there will be a $1 charge for coffee, donuts, and a ticket for a door prize. For reservations call Bernie Weiss at 203-329-2503. The Halloween YC is just three minutes off 1-95, Exit 8 in Stamford. For those who cannot attend, Jack's PowerPoint presentation will be available on CD for $5, with all proceeds going to the Stamford Sailing Foundation, a local 501 (c)(3) nonprofit that helps local at-risk and disadvantaged youngsters experience the wonders and beauty of Long Island Sound through sailing and related marine and environmental studies.

This ran a few weeks ago but is repeated again because of the importance of the topic. The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound (YRA-LIS) will host the 2004 LIS Safety at Sea Seminar on Saturday, April 3 from 9 a.m. - 5 pm at Kings Point. Ralph Naranjo, US SAILING Safety-At-Sea Committee Member will be the moderator of this information packed seminar aimed at making skippers, crew and boats better prepared for the challenges of sailing offshore. Whether you are cruising the Sound and the East Coast, racing in the Around Long Island Regatta, or racing to Bermuda, attendees will learn valuable information about hypothermia and medical emergencies, weather routing through storms, boat and crew preparation and USCG rescue. Featured again will be the on-the-water demonstration by members of the USMMA Varsity Offshore Sailing Team and rescue teams from USCG Activities New York and the Air National Guard. This is a US SAILING sanctioned Safety-At-Sea Seminar. Attendance will fulfill the requirements of the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda YC for the Newport Bermuda Race. Attendees may also qualify for insurance discounts. To obtain an Attendance Application Form, visit www.yralis.org.


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