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It's that time of the year again when the brisk fall air and cool winds beckon those hearty sailors - the frostbiters - out to Manhasset Bay for another season of cold weather sailing. While most people are busily storing their boats for the season and looking forward to sports other than those having to do with the water, our frostbiters have been fine tuning their IC dinghies and eagerly awaiting the first day of racing. When Sunday, November 7 finally arrived, Mother Nature gave us a sunny and very warm day - not the kind of day frostbiters are used to. But there were no complaints by the eight teams that were on the dock over at Manhasset Bay YC, rigging their boats and generally having a great time. Though the wind was in the 12-15 knots range, with higher gusts, the Race Committee, under the leadership of Herb Schmidt, got the first race off, and the 2004-2005 Frostbite Season was officially open for business. With two boats OCS (On Course Side which means over early at the start), these sailors were in high gear, and ready to take on the competition. Increasing winds had RC carefully watching the boats as they rounded the first mark, for these IC dinghies are rather unstable and capsize easily. And capsize is exactly what one boat managed to accomplish. RC plucked the two out of the water immediately (they were hardly even wet), but retrieving their boat was a little more difficult. RC delayed the start of the second race, and then finally cancelled racing for the day, due to the wind conditions and the fact that it took two RC boats to retrieve the capsized boat. A discerning reader might question why frostbiters choose to sail in small, unstable dinghies when the Manhasset Bay is so cold. What is it about these little boats that make sailing in the winter so much fun? Take an IC dinghy out for a spin during the summer and it's just not the same. When sailors look at an IC dinghy, they envision wintry skies, good wind, rain, snow and sleet - and cold fingers and toes. Winter sailors are a breed unto themselves. And they are the best, most dedicated, highly skilled and fun -loving sailors around. If anyone really wants an answer to why we sail in IC dinghies, come out next Sunday and we'll show you just how much fun they can be.

Frostbite Race Committee retreiving a capsized IC dinghy on the first day of the season, Sunday, November 7. Left to right: MBYC Commodore John Barry and Jeff Shane standing by to help Ralph Heinzerling, Arthur Donovan, Alan Wofford, Brendan (last name not known), Ed Du Moulin and Tom Smyth.

On November 12-14, US Sailing will hold a first-ever One-Design Symposium for one-design sailors and class organizers. The lineup of guest speakers is impressive: racing rules expert Dave Perry, Olympians Carol Cronin and Meg Gaillard, Sailing World Editor John Burnham, one-design specialist Greg Fisher, US Sailing Team Coach Skip Whyte, five-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Betsy Alison, plus many more. Topics covered in the Symposium include: fleet building, promotion, involving youth sailors, sponsorship, class organization, increasing participation, measurement techniques, newsletters, building web pages. For more information or to register online, visit www.ussailing.org/odcc.

Speaking of Dave Perry, his new book, Understanding the Racing Rules of Sailing Through 2008 is already available. An excerpt from When Boats Meet - Right of Way "If the rules of Part 2 [of the rule book] apply to you and you are approaching a vessel that is clearly not in any way a part of a race, e.g. a cruising boat or commercial tug, then you are required (note the word "shall") to comply with the Inland Navigational Rules (in U.S. waters) or the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (outside of a country's waters) or other applicable government right-of-way rules. If you don't, you can be penalized under rule 64.1 (Penalties and Exoneration)." Readers can get more information by visiting http://www.ussailing.org/member/library/urrs20041103.htm. And for those of us who would like to use this "off season" to read up on the new rules that are in effect until 2008, here is a link to purchase Perry's book. http://www.ussailing.org/merchandise/detail.asp?product_id=71031.

Anyone out there know of some really good sailing coaches? US Sailing is asking for nominations for the Coaches of the Year Awards for 2004. These are part of the US Olympic Committee (USOC) Coaching Recognition Program. There are three categories of coaches: National Coach of the Year, Developmental Coach of the Year, and Volunteer Coach of the Year, and will be chosen based on their accomplishments during 2004. Nominations will be accepted until Dec. 1 and the winners announced in mid-December. A nominee for the National Coach of The Year is coaching an elite-level club; a collegiate, Pan Am, or world championship team; or an elite athlete who is competing at the highest level of the sport. Previous winners include Scott Ikle, originally from Manhasset who now hails from Geneva, N.Y., and Betsy Alison, Newport, RI, who was sailing here on Manhasset Bay a few weeks ago at the Port Washington YC Leukemia Cup Regatta. Developmental Coach of the Year Nominee is a coach of a youth club, high school or junior level coach directly responsible for developing athletes to the elite national or junior national level. Previous winners include Long Islander Amy Gross-Kehoe from Bayville, NY and Mike Zani, Bristol, R.I. and Adam Werblow, St. Mary's, Md. The Volunteer Coach of the Year category Nominee is a coach who does not receive payment in any form for their involvement in coaching at any level. The nominee should be involved in developing athletes, have a coaching record, and contribute to the community and the sport. T. Park McRitchie (Port Clinton, Ohio) won sailing's Volunteer Coach of the Year Award in 2003, the first year the award was presented. Full story, www.ussailing.org/pressreleases/2004/coachawards.htm


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