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Mark Campbell-James (GBR), with crew Andy Clark, David Mason, and Andrew Yates, has won the 2005 Knickerbocker Cup. Quarter finals were dispensed with and racing began Sunday, Aug. 28, the fourth and last day of racing, with Matteo Simoncelli (ITA), ITway Match Race Team up against Simon Minoprio (NZL) and Campbell-James (GBR) vs. Ian Williams (GBR) in the semi-finals, in a best of three series. The first match between Campbell-James and Williams was quite close but Campbell-James prevailed and crossed the finish line first. The second match between the Brits had Williams ahead at the first mark, but Campbell-James was able to overtake him, and go on to win, giving them a 2-0 score, and moved the team into the finals. Matteo Simoncelli also moved into the finals with a 2-0 win over Simon Minoprio. In the finals, it was Campbell-James vs. Matteo Simoncelli in a first to three points race to win the cup. Simoncelli won the first match with the next three points going to Campbell-James. In the last match of the day, Simoncelli needed to win this match and give him another chance against Campbell-James and at the cup, but when they were behind by at least 10 boat lengths for most of the race, it looks like it was time to pack up and go home. But the Italians woke up, found a good puff of wind and caught the Brits on the last downwind leg, and overtook them. With spinnakers flying, it looked like another photo finish was in the making. But a win was not to be for the Italians, for when both teams had to jibe to make the finish line, Campbell-James jibed inside Simoncelli, took his wind and sailed to victory. According to Campbell-James, "we just got beat in the first race, but won the start on the next two and lead the whole way. Every time they tacked , we'd tack on them. In the petit-finals, a first to two point series, Ian Williams (GBR) beat Simon Minoprio (NZL) 2-1, with Minoprio winning the first match, and Williams coming on strong to take the next two matches.

This was a "big win for us," said Campbell-James. "Beating the other British team three times when they are ranked 7th in the world is a big deal for us. We always felt we were at least as fast as everyone else. By the time the semi-finals and finals came around, we thought we had the best boat handling. When the air was light on Manhasset Bay and all the other teams were waiting for the wind to come in, we were out there practicing and then practicing some more." Their diligence and hard work paid off, and now this young team from Great Britain, who was ranked 23rd in the world, has won the 2005 Knickerbocker Cup and will have their name engraved on the cup along with match racing stars like Paul Cayard, Russell Coutts, Peter Gilmour, Ed Baird and Roy Heiner.

This year Abilities!, formerly the National Center for Disability Services, an independent, multi-faceted nonprofit organization based in Albertson, was the beneficiary of the 2005 Knickerbocker Cup. Abilities! partners with more than 200 regional and national corporations that hire people with disabilities, and provides technology and consultation services to educational entities and governments around the world. Through education and employment, Abilities! focuses on transitioning students to settings in which they can have the greatest interaction with their non-disabled peers, whether in local schools, higher education, or the workforce. Their one purpose is "to create a world in which people with disabilities live simply as people." Abilities! also operates the Henry Viscardi School, a K-12 New York State-accredited school for 240 children with severe physical and medical disabilities. Viscardi, who was a disabled sailor on Manhasset Bay for many years, was the founder of Abilities! and he would be proud today to know that this nonprofit has grown to become a global leader in the full integration of people with disabilities into everyday life. In addition to prize money for participating skippers, proceeds of the event will go toward employment, education and technology programs operated by Abilities!.

A regatta this size takes a tremendous amount of man-hours to plan and orchestrate, all of which is accomplished by volunteers from the membership of Knickerbocker YC, which numbers just 120 active members. Most of the yacht clubs that host a match racing event at this level of competition have at least 2,000 members to help support the club. According to Ted Weisberg, the past President of the Match Racing Association, and a Director of the Swedish Match Racing Grand Prix Tour, skippers, crew, umpires and all those associated with match racing on an international level, think the Knickerbocker Cup is one of the best match racing events of the year, and look forward to coming to Port Washington because "of the warm hospitality that is always extended" to the competitors. Members of Knickerbocker who deserve mention: The Governing Committee: P/C (Past Commodore) Ed du Moulin, chairman emeritus, Commodore Howard Hirschmann, P/C Joel Sterling, P/C Ted Weisberg, Paula Davis, David Schwartz and Tinette Sterling. The Steering Committee: Commodore Howard Hirschmann, P/C Joel Sterling, David Schwartz, and Paula Davis. The Race Committee, who did an outstanding job setting good race courses: P/C Ted Weisberg, P/C Norman Schefer, P/C Maurice Mandel, Commodore Howard Hirschmann, Jeff Wenger, Robert Marcus, Sue Reilly (PRO) and from Manhasset Bay YC, Sue Miller and Jean Shope. Others who spend an inordinate amount of time over the last five days to ensure the smooth running of this year's event include Robin Helfat, Jeff Davis, Kris Piechota, David Lurie, Manny Greene, Debbie Dubowsky, Arthur Seidman, Lori Beth Schwartz, Felice Borer, Ilene Silberstein, Judy Hirschmann, Richard Farber, Fred Fenster, Dan Levy, Linda Necroto, William Cardew, Carl Friedman, David Silberstein, Joel Wagner, George Magiet, Bob Schwartz, Eric Roise, Jim Walsh, Aaron Alpert, Jeff Lamother, Ben Mostel, Rosalie and Howard Minkow, Norman Tanner, Brian Raskin, Bob Ebenau, Jon Mostel, Andrea Watson (Sailing Press, Inc.) and Marla Freeman (Smallkaps Associates, Inc.). Thanks also are due to Commodore John and Nan Barry, Manhasset Bay YC for their support and assistance, and to the Port Washington YC for their assistance with this year's event.

As in past years, skippers and crew sailed in J105's for this year's event. Owners of the boats who demonstrated their dedication to match racing and their generosity in lending their boats for the event: (boat name, owners): Pal, Bill Bohnsack, Larry Specht and Roberto Mitnone; True North, Jim Brigger; Morning Glory, Dr. Carl Olsson; She's The Boss, John and Sue Sutherland; Elmo, Bobby Coffe; Andiamo, Jayne and Paul Strauch; and Pal, SUNY Maritime Center.

The Knickerbocker Cup has grown to become a leading Match Race Event, having gained status as part of the Match Racing Association, of which Past Commodore Ted Weisberg is the immediate past president. The dream of having an East Coast Match Racing Event, which started more than 20 years ago, has become much more than the founders, Ed du Moulin and Arthur Knapp, could have expected. Today the Knickerbocker Cup is known throughout the world as a well-run match racing event, with skippers and crew eager to be invited to compete on Manhasset Bay. This year, of the 12 teams to compete, 7 came from foreign countries. Past winners have included top names in match racing: Dave Dellenbaugh, USA (1985), Paul Cayard, USA (1991), Ed Baird. USA (1993, 1994, 2000), Roy Heiner, Netherlands (1995), Russell Coutts, New Zealand (1996), Peter Gilmour, USA (1998, and 2001), and Tomislav Basic, Croatia (1999). For more information and to view Cup photos:

Mark Campbell-James (GBR) 1
Matteo Simoncelli (ITA) 2
Ian Williams (GBR) 3
Simon Minoprio (NZL) 4
Terry McLaughlin (CAN) 5
Brian Angel (USA) 6
Laurie Jury ((NZL) 7
Scott Dickson (USA) 8
Peter Wibroe (DEN) 9
Martin Angsell (SWE) 10
Jon Singsen (USA) 11
Christian Hamilton (GRA) 12
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