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Last summer when Terry McLaughlin from Canada won the Knickerbocker Cup, he just squeaked by an up and coming newcomer to the match racing scene to take home the Cup. A very young team from New Zealand called Team Vision Yachting, with Simon Minoprio as skipper, forced McLaughlin and crew into a third race in a best of three series in the finals of the 2004 Knickerbocker Cup. Minoprio was leading down the first leg, but after some spinnaker problems, lost their lead rounding the final mark, and saw McLaughlin sail on to victory. At the time, spectators and participants in the KCUP knew that Team Vision Yachting was a team to watch. They were right. Minoprio has done it again, this time at the Warren Jones Regatta at the Royal Perth YC in New Zealand last January. There must be something about his competitive juices that kick in at the end of a competition. But when everything is on the line, it seems that this skipper has the ability to pull off a win. And that is exactly what he did by beating Michael Dunstan, the skipper named for the Australian American's Cup entry. In what has been called "a fascinating duel" in the last downwind leg of the third race, Team Vision Yachting held off Dunstan and took the victory in the Warren Jones regatta. Not bad for "a newcomer." And it's interesting that Minoprio's toughest race on the first day of competition was against Laurie Jury, who also was at last year's Knickerbocker Cup. These two relatively young skippers are making their mark in New Zealand racing circles, which includes participation in the new Warren Jones Memorial Regatta, an ISAF Grade 3 event with entry restricted to 25 years and under. Warren Jones, of Australia II fame, died suddenly in May of last year. He is best known for his greatest achievement to sailing which occurred in September 1983, when he overcame almost insurmountable obstacles to lead the first successful challenge for the America's Cup and wrested the "olde mug" from the New York YC for the first time in 132 years of competition. This year's Knickerbocker Cup will be held from August 24-28 and promises to be as exciting as last year's event. Plan to come out on Manhasset Bay to watch some great match racing next August. For more information on the Knickerbocker Cup, go to www.kyc.net.

After the sixth and final race of the 2005 Star World Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Xavier Rohart and Pascal Rambeau, France, are the new World Champions. According to the rest of the participants, they deserved to win the title as they produced consistent and skilled performances throughout the regatta. Mark Reynolds and Phil Trinter, USA, came in ninth . Trinter lives in Port Washington and when he is not sailing in some far-away venue, can be seen racing on Manhasset Bay with some of our local "rock stars."

Calling all sailors who have an extra $13 million to spare and would like the thrill of being in the next America's Cup. If interested, get in touch with the Sausalito Challenge. They are offering one of its 17 crew positions to the most qualified person willing to pay a "participation fee" to join the team. In an attempt to raise money, sailing manager John Sweeney has extended his invitation to the sailing community and thus far has received a handful of inquiries about the "celebrity crew" - a rapper, a sheik and an apparel company looking to place one of its athlete endorsers ( a soccer player) in a high profile position. According to Sweeney, " I think people understand that if you're not a billionaire, you have to be very creative. If you look at the teams in the Cup, everyone has a guy who, if he's not a billionaire, he's at least worth $100 million. We don't have that. We have to be creative." The America's Cup sure is changing. Dennis Conner, the four-time winner of the Cup, and who may be priced out of the next Cup challenge, and is known for some of his creativity in past challenges, said, " If he gets it, it's the best thing that's happened to the America's Cup. I think it would be a grand marketing coup."

Speaking of Dennis Conner, he has come to New York City to transform the crown jewel of the Manhattan waterfront, North Cove. Back before 9/11 North Cove has been the glamorous marina where the J/boats Endeavor and Shamrock docked when they visited the Big Apple together in 1989. North Cove was where mega yachts parked and where celebrities gathered. It was the stage where designers and manufacturers displayed new boats, and it was the place to be seen. And it was a place where people could enjoy the harbor. Located on the Hudson River in front of the World Financial Center in Lower Manhattan, it had been called "Monaco on the Hudson." That was all before that terrible September day that dawned bright and sunny, only to evolve into a day of destruction that changed not only New York City but the rest of the world. Now America's most famous sailor has breathed new life into North Cove. On Jan. 11, the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA), the governmental agency which owns the marina, and who managed North Cove since 2003, designated North Cove Marina Management, Inc. - a group whose principals include Conner - as the new operator. Joining Conner as principals are two local business people from Battery Park City, Michael Fortenbaugh and Jordan Gruzen. Fortenbaugh is director of the Manhattan Sailing School which has been based at North Cove for more than 10 years. He also was the mastermind behind Sail for America. Gruzen is a prominent architect whose firm Gruzen Samton has designed many buildings and waterfront facilities in Battery Park City and around the world. "We couldn't have made a better choice than Dennis Conner and his group to run the North Cove Marina," said James Gill, chairman of the Battery Park City Authority. "Dennis is world-renowned for his success in the America's Cup and is widely considered America's most successful sailor. In a neighborhood that demands excellence in all things, I'd say that Dennis and his team certainly fit the bill." Conner's team wants to bring the world to North Cove and rebuild the marina to its former glory. He hopes to begin attracting world class yachts. "Whether you are visiting for a day, a week or a month, I want you to know we are rolling out the red carpet at North Cove for you." Although the main focus of North Cove is the mega yacht business, all boats are encouraged to stop by. "If you enjoy boating, I want you to think of North Cove as your New York City home regardless of your vessel," said Conner. Michael Fortenbaugh summed up this new venture by saying, "This is a dream come true. Having Dennis Conner, my sailing idol, as the chairman of North Cove is the best outcome any of us could have dreamed of. I was here on 9/11, standing outside when the first plane struck... I said I would be back, not just to help restore my community but to build it bigger and better than before. But I never dreamed it would lead to such a positive conclusion." Thanks to Dennis Conner and his team for reminding all of us that no terrorists can dampen our American spirit. North Cove will once again bring the harbor closer to all those who enjoy the delights that only a waterfront can provide.


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