Even though spring began last Saturday, there was no frostbiting last Sunday, March 21st, because the wind was gusting to 25-30 knots, there were whitecaps on Manhasset Bay, and it was just too dangerous for the little dinghies to be out on the water. But if conditions had been a little calmer, what a day it would have been for sailing! Let's hope next Sunday provides us with weather conducive to sailing - after all it is spring.
On Sunday afternoon, April 4 at 2:30 pm, the Knickerbocker YC will have a very special presentation that is open to the public. Richard Sonnenfeldt, mostly known in this area for his adventures on his 45-foot sloop, Peregrine, on which he crossed the Atlantic three times during the '90s, will speak on his many lives which he has recorded in his autobiography Mehr als ein Leben (More Than One Life"). Mr. Sonnenfeldt was an American soldier, an armored reconnaissance scout, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, was one of the first Americans to enter Dachau, and became the Chief Interpreter of American prosecution of the Nuremberg trials. His story doesn't stop there. As a prize-winning engineer, he invented color TV. There's much more to this very complex man, so come to the Knickerbocker YC, 433 Main Street, to hear about his travels through a life that has lead him down many interesting paths.
Every once in awhile, there is a really nice story that lets the world know why sailing is such a great sport. The following is just one of many such stories. Gary Jobson, the newly inducted member of the America's Cup Hall of Fame, will be out on the west coast at the Long Beach YC for the 40th Congressional Cup, that annual match race sailing classic. He is being recognized with an honorary Crimson Blazer for his role as longtime competitor and TV commentator in the Congressional Cup. The Crimson Blazer is customarily awarded to the winning skipper. The Meet the Skippers Dinner on Monday, April 19, the night before five days of racing commence, will be three days shy of the date last year when Jobson received a diagnosis of lymphoma---the day he was scheduled for a speaking appearance at the club. Since then Jobson, 53, has received intensive chemotherapy and, late last year, a stem cell transplant that he described as "the hardest thing I have ever endured in my life." Former winners Peter Gilmour of Australia (1988), Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis ('92) and Gavin Brady of New Zealand ('96, '97). Gilmour, the 2001-02 champion, currently leads the standings, with Brady seventh. Other competitors include Ed Baird, St. Petersburg, Fla., ranked third in the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) match race rankings; Scott Dickson, Long Beach; Allan Coutts, Cameron Appleton and Kelvin Harrap of New Zealand; Jes Gram-Hansen, Denmark, and Mattias Rahm, Sweden.
Many of the above Congressional Cup sailors have been in our bay over the years competing in the Knickerbocker Cup. Peter Gilmour has won the event several times, and Ed Baird has come out on top of the leader board, too. Terry Hutchinson, Cameron Appleton, Jes Gram-Hansen and Mattias Rahm have all been here. This year's event, an ISAF Grade 1 event, is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, September 1
It looks like there is going to be great competition to represent the United States in the Star Class. (For those who may not know, the Star boat was designed and built here in Port Washington). Mark Reynolds, who holds two gold medals (both in the Star Class) and one silver medal - a rare feat in the sport of sailing - is competing against his friend and competitor Paul Cayard. Cayard who was the first American to lead a team to victory in the Whitbread Round the World Race, now called the Volvo Ocean Race, and has been a major player in the world's premier sailing event, the America's Cup. Twice he has lead teams to the challenger finals, and once into the final match. Both Californians, Reynolds from San Diego, and Cayard from San Francisco, they led very different sailing lives. Reynolds, 48, stayed with the Star Class while Cayard, 44, went with big, high-profile boats. For Cayard, he will be giving the Olympic Trials his best shot. . "On the pure sports side, winning a gold medal is something I'd still love to attain," Cayard said. "It's unique in awards because it needs no explanation. In sailing you can be a five-time world champion, but there are a hundred world championships a year. But you tell somebody that you won a gold medal at the Olympics . . . that's why I've put in so much effort." The outcome will be decided by Sunday, March 28th, when the 16-race series is completed. After four races with no discards (22 boats) Paul Cayard/Phil Trinter is in first place, with Mark Reynolds/Steve Erickson in 4th. But there are still many races left. Stay tuned.