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Head Coven Stephanie Bass (left) and Pam Prokop at the Women's Racing Clinic (WRC) Halloween Party. Pam won the 2005 Outstanding Witch Award for her accomplishments (and shenanigans) on Manhasset Bay.

The leaves are beginning to show their beautiful fall colors, boats are being winterized, and local boatyards are busy hauling boats for the winter season. An unaware reader may think that the sailing community is about to go into hibernation - and many sailing spouses may secretly hold out hope that their "to do" lists may finally get some attention. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news - but that list may have to wait, as our sailing friends are already quite busy. The Frostbite Fleet was out last Sunday for a try-out day, foregoing attendance at the Annual Moosehead Awards (which will be reported on next week) to introduce prospective sailors to the fine art of sailing in cold, damp, windy weather. For many of us who are advocates of winter sailing, there is nothing quite like being on Manhasset Bay in 30 degree weather in small dinghies. Maybe it's the thrill of a small boat racing downwind in good breeze, or the challenge of keeping the boat flat as one rounds a mark. Or maybe because it feels so good to get back on land and have some hot cocoa at the clubhouse. But ask any frostbiter and you will find out that cold weather sailing is some of the best, and most competitive sailing of the year. The Interclub Dinghy Frostbite Class website described the sport, "The Interclub Dinghy Frostbite class, originally envisioned as a class for Inter-Club racing on Long Island Sound, attracts some of the best sailors from a variety of other 'summer' classes and provide great short course sailing on Sunday afternoons in the Northeast. Frostbiting an InterClub is a funny sport. People often ask, 'why should I get into a small dinghy in the winter when I can sail a PHRF boat or sit at home and watch football?' Then they try it and find out that IC sailing is a blast! The boats are fun to sail, tack and jibe on a dime, and require real sill to drive. Crews soon discover the importance of team work and instinctive reaction." As in the past, IC dinghies will be sailed and there is some discussion of adding the Ideal 18s to the fleet. The season should be fun, and the Race Committee (who eat particularly well on Kraus' Kastle) and frostbiters look forward to another good season of sailing on Manhasset Bay.

Many institutions take pride in entertaining their members with hilarious stories, most of which have stretched the truth a bit to emphasize a particularly funny anecdote. The Storm Trysail Club comes to mind, as do those esteemed committee members of the Moosehead Awards, to say nothing of the high jinx during the Annual Frostbite Meeting held on New Years day. Well, move over, fellas! The Women's Racing Clinic (WRC), that group of ladies who race all summer, and do things like have a mother-daughter sail, seminars to teach racing rules, make plans for warm weather get-aways, also know how to have a good time. This year, the 5th Annual Halloween Party was held at Manhasset Bay YC on Thursday, Oct. 27, and all the clubs on the bay and Sea Cliff sent witches and other such scary people - to celebrate the holiday in a fitting manner. There was fortune - telling, costume judging, coven elections and wicked awards were presented, with the best saved for last. Stephanie Baas, as head Women's Racing Coven, ably supported by Vice Coven Cindy Jordan, conferred the "big enchilada" to fellow sailor-coven Pam Prokop. The description, in part, of the lengths Ms. Prokop had to go to receive this prestigious award: "And finally we come to our last award of this year's Halloween Coven gathering. It is especially gratifying for one of our members to achieve greatness in the muggle world. The MBO has been around for more than 75 years. A number of noteworthy sailors have passed through the class. Our witch took over the helming of the family MBO when her warlock husband was incapacitated. Great thing happened. During Race Week, it appeared at first that she might win the class, but alas, it was not to be. But her second place was great accomplishment in this competitive class. It was good enough for her to win the prize for top female skipper in Race Week. But wait - it seems Pam's MBO exploits go beyond her racing prowess. Pam took it upon herself to test the limits of the MBO. On a breezy afternoon she showed that a swamped MBO will not sink if she has the proper floatation. For that we award Pam a bailing cauldron to be used by her warlock crew next time she tests an MBO's stability. Not done yet.... Pam's racing success is caused because she is a fierce competitor as befits a coven member. How fierce you ask? As fierce as they come! There was a race this summer when one of her competitors dared to challenge her for room at an obstruction. Pam sensing a weakness in her rival put her boom in his cockpit and wrapped the mainsheet around his crew's neck. Yes, Pam, take no prisoners. For this fierceness we award Pam Prokop the Enchanted Scinutar - a single stroke and that mainsheet impediment is eliminated. We hereby find Pam the Outstanding Witch of 2005 and give her a 2005 Firebolt - the fastest broom in the fleet." To see photos of the fun event, go to

And now for a more serious note: The people over in Bermuda get it right. During the King Edward VII Gold Cup, junior sailors were invited to compete in their own regatta. Junior Optimist skippers from eight guest nations and Bermuda sailed in the Renaissance Reinsurance Junior Gold Cup Optimist Regatta as part of the weeklong festivities surrounding the Investors Guaranty presentation of the King Edward VII Gold Cup. Joining 28 local Bermuda Junior Optimist sailors this year are Philip Autenrieth, Germany; Claire Bethez, France; George Kool, New Zealand; Tina Lutz, Germany (World Champion); Sean Moynahan, USA; Sacha Pelisson, France; Kevin Peponnet, France; Matthew Rainback, UK; Matthew Schoener Smith, Trinidad; Mark Whittington, Australia; Daniela Zimmerman, Peru; Stephanie Zimmerman, Peru. It's nice to see at least one competitor from the United States. Wouldn't it be nice if some of the Regatta Chairs would plan to include some of our junior sailors? Think of the benefits - to both the juniors and the regatta participants. Just imagine being a junior and have the opportunity to rub elbows with "sailing stars." It seems like a "win-win", so why haven't more U.S. regattas done this? Might be a good idea for next year - right here in Manhasset Bay! Logo
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