This past weekend was not the best one for enjoying our beautiful waterfront as the weather was unusually cold and much of the weekend was rainy. But sailors, being who they are, didn't let a little foul weather stop them, and weekend racing continued as usual. Results for last weekend and the Memorial Day weekend follow. Results for Saturday, June 5, where ten Sonars were on the starting line for four races. Manhasset Bay YC was Race Committee for the weekend. Race #1: 1. #451, Ping, Sue Miller/John Browning, 2. #652, Sounder, Rick Jordan/Jeff Shane, and 3. #682, Puff, Ralf Steitz. Race #2. 1. Sounder, 2. #487, Viento, Jonathan Siener, and 3. #396, Delight, Bob Kirtland. Race #3. 1. #375, Housemartin, Greg Danilek/Beth Danilek, 2. Puff, and 3. Viento. Race #4: 1. Sounder, 2. Puff, and 3. Housemartin. On Sunday, the Race Committee ran three races, in spite of the cold and rain. Results for Race #1: 1. Housemartin, 2. Sounder, and 3. Delight. Race #2: 1. Sounder, 2. Housemartin, 3. Puff. Race #3. 1. Housemartin, 2. Ping, and 3. Puff.
Knickerbocker YC was RC for the Memorial Day weekend. Results are available for Sunday and Monday racing. Results for Sunday, May 30: Race One: 1. #487, Viento, Jonathan Siener, 2. #396, Delight, Bob Kirtland, and 3. #451, Ping, Sue Miller/John Browning. Race Two: 1. Ping, 2. #421, Weekend Warrior, Dan Simon/Bill Simon, and 3. Delight. Race Three: 1. #677, Serendipity, Allyn Salomon, 2. Viento, and 3. Delight. Race results for Memorial Day: Sonars for both Race One and Two: 1. Ping, 2. Delight, and 3. Weekend Warrior. Results for the MBO's, Race One: 1. #21, Blue Chip, Chip Allen/Einar Haukeland, 2. #9, Miss B Haven, Grace Allen/Ralph Heinzerling, and 3. #11, Curt Champlin. Race #2: 1. Miss B Haven, and 2. Blue Chip.
The big boats were out racing last Thursday evening, June 3. Results for all the divisions are as follows: Division I ( J, 5.96 nm): 1. Avalanche, Al Albrecht, 2. Free Fall, Bill McFaul, and 3. Promise Kept, Sandy Lindenbaum. Division II (Course CD, 5.83 nm): 1. Xcite, Yalcin Tarhan, and 2. Irish Blessing, Ed Gillen. Division III (Course CD, 5.83 nm): 1. Tootsie, Ron Fink, 2. En Passant, Bob Ebenau, and 3. Goodwill, Jim Lyman. Division IV (Course CD, 5.83 nm): 1. Resolve, Frank Loprisi, and 2. Quaker II, Steve Lapham. Division Cats (Course J, 5.96 nm): 1. Renegade, Andy Ledins.
Now that the sailing season is in full swing, it is important to remember that the sport we all love so much can be dangerous, and each and every sailor needs to take appropriate precautions to keep themselves, their boat and crew out of harms way. Sometimes incidents occur, though, that even the most cautious sailor is unprepared for. The following story, submitted by Ron Fink, serves as a gentle reminder that accidents do happen in spite of all we do to prevent them. Ron is an experienced sailor who has sailed in five Newport to Bermuda Races, an Annapolis to Newport Race, almost every event on Long Island Sound, and frostbites in Lasers at Seawanhaka. He is also Commodore of the Cow Bay Cruising Association (CBCA), better known as the Thirsty Thursday group. Two years ago he bought his first fishing boat, but remains a sailor first and a fisherman second. Thanks to Ron for reminding us to be careful out on Manhasset Bay and LI Sound, and wherever our sailing takes us. His story, which prompted him to say "in all my years on the water I have never been this scared, albeit for only a few seconds," follows:
It was Thursday morning, June 3, 2004. When I finished exercising, I noticed the rain had stopped, so I decided to go fishing (his boat is a 17 foot center console skiff with an outboard engine) and by 7:30 a.m. I was anchored approximately 100 yards west of Gangway Rocks, cut my bait and started fishing. The sky was clearing as the front had passed through and the wind was from the North. The current was still flowing from West to East, as the boat was laying with the bow to the west and the stern facing Gangway Rock Pile. The boat was between Gangway and the North Tower of the Throgs Neck Bridge. The wind had started to pick up as there were whitecaps on the water in the gusts.
I was reading my paper when one of my reels started to click as if something was nibbling on it. I got up and went to the forward rod holder on the starboard side of the boat. It was not a fish, but a plastic bag. I started to let the line go back down, and as I turned slightly to the aft of the boat I caught a glimpse of something out of my right eye. On turning to the south I saw this large sailboat motoring straight toward me. I could not see anyone at the helm, because this was a large, very wide cruising boat. They were approximately 30 feet away. It took a second or two to register that they did not see me. I started to yell. They kept coming straight at me, their bow aiming directly at where I was standing in the middle of my boat. I yelled louder. They were about to split my boat in two. With about five feet to go they turned sharply to starboard, but it was too late. The initial impact was two feet forward of the transom. The sailboat's bow rode over the stern quarter of my boat, forcing my port transom quarter to go underwater. I was sure the boat was going under. My rods were bent over, having been pushed away by the bow and the Stainless Steel Rod struts holding their boat's Bowsprit in place. My boat started to turn stern to the north as I heard the crunch as the boat slid off my hull and ripped the engine cowling off my engine. The engine then went partially under water. The whole engine well filled with water and started to flow over into the cockpit. I thought my boat was going under; but then the boat popped up and I realized I was going to live to fish another day.
After shouting some not so nice comments I took stock of my situation. By then they had motored 100 yards past. As they started to circle and come back to me I tried the engine - it started. While apologizing profusely and asking if I was injured, I realized they were as "shook up as I was." We exchanged cell phone numbers and names as well as boat names and home ports. I apologized for my language and wished them a good trip home, telling them I would call later that day. As soon as I arrived home my wife could tell that something had happened. She hugged me and would not let go. I am not a religious person, but it was clearly not my day to die.
Remarkably, the boat only has some minor trim and fiberglass damage. The most frightening reminder is the bottom paint that remains on the top of my outboard motor. Later that day, I learned the boat was a Shannon 43, a 43' long, 13'5" wide cruising ketch that displaces 27,500 pounds. It had stayed in Manhasset Bay for the night and was returning to its home port in Rhode Island. In the words of the person at the helm of the other boat: "I never saw you."