Happy spring! Early in the morning last Sunday, March 20, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) national weather service put out a winter storm advisory with "snow and freezing rain" until 9 a.m. Those of us who were awake had a moment of dissonance - wasn't this the first day of spring, and why was Mother Nature continuing to torment us? At precisely 7:33 a.m., spring arrived and many of us wanted to celebrate by dancing in the street, but if we did, we would have been cold and wet. While our area did not get another snowstorm, the day was overcast and rainy. Not exactly the kind of day that screams "spring" - we'll have to wait for another day to have brilliant sunshine highlight a few crocuses and buds on the trees. Our frostbiters didn't seem to let the dreary day put a damper on their spirits, but one must realize these folks are used to this kind of weather, and some even say, they like it. By the time they arrived back at the club after a good day of competition, spirits were high, the conversation animated, and the mood electric. After many Sundays of no sailing because of ice or high winds, this group has lots to celebrate for they have raced now for two weekends in a row. The Race Committee ran five races and one crew race in light wind out of the SE. The Crew Race this week was extra special. Johanna Silbersack, 13, skippering IC dinghy #707 with her father, John Silbersack as crew, demolished the rest of the fleet, crossing the finish line "miles ahead" of their nearest competitor. One would have thought this was an Olympic competition, as all the boats in the fleet were cheering them on at each mark rounding, and as they crossed the finish line, the Race Committee - that group who is committed to unbiased comments during a race - could be heard on land cheering their victory. Johanna is a product of the MBYC Junior Sailing program, and one observer was heard to say, "and it really shows." Team Silbersack's start did not bode well, for they almost capsized during what John Silbersack deemed "a radical roll tack," one that had him bailing water from the boat all the way to the windward mark. But Johanna stayed cool, and "didn't let the start faze her."
The men from SUNY Maritime were frostbiting again this week, with their new coach in tow. Not that the coach is new to sailing, or even to the sailing scene on Manhasset Bay. Steve Moore has recently joined the SUNY Maritime staff as coach of the Offshore Team. So it kind of made sense for Steve to get some of his sailors over to our bay to enjoy the camaraderie of frostbiting. After spending much of the afternoon coaching from Kraus' Kastle, he jumped into one of the boats, and with Reggie Rainard as crew, sailed to first place. So for at least the time being, Moore's reputation as an excellent dinghy sailor is intact - it's always nice to perform well in front of your students. Top on the leader board for Sunday, March 20: 1. #514, Ted Toombs/Matt Cornachio, 2. #121, "Fee" Mitropoulos/Amelia Amon, and 3. #511, Stephanie Baas/Dana Schnipper.
Speaking of Steve Moore, he will be over at Port Washington YC on Wednesday, April 6 at 7 p.m. to present a free PHRF and Sailing Seminar. Steve, who is from Quantum Sails, will discuss on the water tactics and the registration requirements for Cow Bay PHRF. He will also briefly describe the new IRC rules. This seminar is an excellent way for all sailors to get involved in local racing events. Steve is highly qualified to talk on racing rules as his racing resume is extensive. His has raced in 11 Newport-Bermuda races, 13 Block Island Race Weeks, 25 Vineyard Races, 4 Etchells World Championships, and has been racing and winning on Manhasset Bay since his days in Junior Sailing. Space is limited, so get your RSVP in early to Sean Elliott at 767-1614, ext. 11 or email Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With more than 140 boats on the line, the Acura Miami Race Week 2005 delivered on its promise of an "SORC Renaissance." Racing began on Thursday, March 10 and for four days there was serious competition among the international fleet that hailed form the United States, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Bermuda, Italy, Greece, Mexico and Monaco. Local sailor Bob Limoggio, skipper on his boat, Cabaret, came in second in the PHRF 1 division. This is no small feat. He, along with locals Daniel Limoggio, Robby Lager, Jamie Moger, Beth Hartigan, Scott McFarland, and Peter Christie, came in second to Dan Meyers, Boston, MA, on Numbers (19-13). To put some perspective on the competition facing Limoggio and his team, America's Cup Hall of Fame tactician Brad Butterworth called tactics on Numbers. According to Scuttlebutt, the on-line sailing newsletter, there was "very close racing against the Tripp 47, Cabaret, owned by Bob Limoggio, of Newport, RI." Congratulations to Bob and his crew for such a prestigious victory.
Most readers know Port Washington's connection with the Star Class. If you don't, you might want to wander over to the pocket park diagonally across from the Mill Pond and view the Star keel, which highlights the history of the most successful one-class design boat in the history of sailing. One of the reasons for the great success obviously has to be boat design. But some credit has to be given to the class that has kept the boat competitive all these year. They are doing something right. Take for instance, the Star Class Bacardi Cup perpetual. In former years only the skipper's name was engraved on this trophy. That changed this year when Commodore Marty Sandler presented Tito, the regatta winner, with a beautiful new trophy to be awarded to the winning crew. This means that both young men on this year's winning team, Mark Mendleblatt and Mark Strube, each got their names engraved on huge silver cups for eternity. This is a great idea - one that should be implemented for all regattas, and definitely for all junior competitions.
Race Committees take note. For all of you who have set marks, scored finishes, and awarded prizes to a multitude of racers, the Optimist class might be able to give you some pointers. More than 1,500 Optimist sailors from over 40 countries will participate in international regattas over the next two weeks. Included in this number are the 180 sailors from 14 countries who will participate in the IODA South American Championship in Buenos Aires. And at Garda Meeting, the biggest single-class regatta in the world, with last year 791 sailors from 22 countries participating, even more are expected this year. Already 19 countries have pre-registered over 600 sailors. What could be a RC nightmare turns into a great week of racing for the young Opti sailors, and could serve as a primer on great race management. For more news about the Optimist class, go to www.usoda.org for information on the United States Optimist Dinghy Association and to www.optiworld.org for the International Optimist Dinghy Association.