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The Ideal 18 fleet at the start of one of the races on Sunday, Nov. 20.

Many think that once the yacht clubs go into decommissioning and the boats are hauled for their winter stay in various shipyards that water sports are done for the year. Quite the contrary! Manhasset Bay does not shut down for the winter and this past weekend is a good example of just how active our bay is all year round. For the sailors who truly love being on the water (is there any other kind?), our bay hosts a bevy of activities, even in the colder weather. This past weekend saw a group of junior Optimist sailors honing their skills in a two-day seminar/workshop, the Mill Pond Model YC had their last race of the season, the Millennium Cup, the frostbiters were out in both IC dinghies and Ideal 18s, and the Sonar Fleet had their 25th Anniversary Awards dinner. Not bad for a late fall week-end. And even though members of the Mill Pond Model YC had to break up the ice on the pond before they could begin racing, both days turned out to be beautiful, with bright blue skies and a lot of sunshine that helped temper the cold temperatures.

This season the Frostbite Fleet has decided to set a course for the Ideal 18s in addition to the IC dinghies that have been sailed over the years. The Race Committee gave starts to five IC dinghies and seven Ideal 18s. By mid-afternoon the air temperature was 52º and the water temperature 47º, with SW winds at about 5-7, higher later in the day. Five races and one crew race was completed before the group retired to the club for refreshments. Top boats in the IC Dinghy fleet: 1. #603, Matt Kelley/Alicia Martorella, 2. #511, Dana Schnipper/Lois Scaglione, and 3. #121, "Fee" Mitropoulos/Sophia Mitropoulos. The crew race in the IC Dinghy fleet was won by Alicia Martorella. Top boats in the Ideal 18 fleet: 1. #171, Ralf Steitz/Jamie Gross Steitz, 2. #174, Rick Dominique/Tracy Ceravino, and 3. #176, Bob Kirtland/Alan Thompson. Vince Syracuse won the Ideal 18s crew race. Yesterday's sailing demonstrated how diverse this group of sailors has become. Cindy Jordan was on an Ideal 18 with her two kids, Wilkie and Robby and their friend Alex Whipple. And the Women's Racing Clinic (WRC) was represented, sailing on another Ideal 18. These ladies, who have only sailed in the summer, found out how difficult (and different) winter sailing can be. Some great sailors were out there this weekend but these women took line honors for one race. What fun it was to hear the whoops of joy as their boat crossed the finish line in first place. You would have thought they had won the Olympics they were so excited. So congratulations to the team of Aviva Pinto, Vivian Shiah and Liz Wolf. Another sailor had a great day. Vince Syracuse, who is the co-chair of the MBYC Ideal 18 Program along with Bill Brakman, had his first win ever in a sailboat. Congratulations to Vince - we expect that this is only the first of many triumphs on the water. And the last note about the frostbite fleet - they have a new PRO (Principal Race Officer). His name is Dirk and he is a Scottish terrier owned by Rita and Vince Syracuse, who accompanied Commodore John Barry in the committee to make sure the course was set properly, watched for boats in distress, and in general, kept tabs on the fleet. He looked quite dapper in his bright red sweater with matching life jacket. The fleet expects to see him out next week lending his support to the teams. Yes, winter sailing has begun in earnest, and with it, the great stories - some tall tales, some hilarious antics - that always seem to accompany this fun-loving group.

MBYC Commodore John Barry and the new "PRO" (Principal Race Officer) Dirk, a Scottish terrier who rode on the Committee boat to ensure the safety of the Frostbite Fleet last Sunday.

US SAILING is asking for nominations for the 2005 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. Only one male and one female can prevail, and they must be U.S. citizens. If you are a US SAILING member, you have only until November 30, just six days after Thanksgiving, to vote. After the nomination period ends, a shortlist of nominees is presented to a panel of noted sailing journalists who discuss the merits of each and vote by secret ballot to determine the award winners. In February 2006, the winners will be announced and presented with the perpetual Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Trophy and a specially engraved Rolex timepiece. Recent winners include Paul Foerster and Kevin Burnham/Jody Swanson (2004), Augie Diaz/Hannah Swett (2003), John Kostecki/Liz Baylis (2002), Steve Fossett/Cory Sertl (2001) and Reynolds/Liljedahl and Isler/Glaser (2000). Other well-known winners are Ed Baird, Ted Turner, Ken Read, Dennis Conner and Dawn Riley. Conner, along with Ed du Moulin donated the Dennis Conner - Ed du Moulin Junior Match Racing Trophy which is awarded every year to the winning team from one of the Manhasset Bay junior sailing programs who competes in a match race on our bay. This year the Port Washington YC team of Jessica Nees and K.C. McCarthy won. Ken Read, Ed Baird, the late Larry Klein, Kevin Mahaney, Cory Sertl, JJ Isler and Dawn Riley have actually sailed in our bay, competing in the Knickerbocker Cup in past years. So if you are a member of US SAILING, go to their website at http://www.ussailing.org/awards/rolex, enter your membership number, and nominate the sailors you think have turned in the most notable on-water performances in this calendar year.

The Women's Racing Clinic (WRC), those ladies who are sailing every week during the season, and are now playing paddle tennis and have infiltrated the Frostbite Fleet, are at it again. They don't let much dust gather at their heels. Plans are underway to include kayaks next season along with their Ideal 18s. For those ladies who are not quite comfortable in a sailboat or who would prefer something different, a kayak is the perfect alternative to getting out on the water on a warm summer's eve. This group seems to come up with all sorts of ideas to get the ladies involved in water sports. Who knows what their next adventure might be. Stay tuned....

Speaking of women and sailing - here is a news item that is rather remarkable. Donna Lange, a 44 year old grandmother from Rhode Island has departed for a non-stop journey to New Zealand via South Africa on her 28-foot Southern Cross sailboat loaded with a five-month supply of canned food. She has full confidence in her ability to complete the trip. "This boat and I have already sailed 12,000 miles together," she says, referring to her recent trip sailing solo around the Atlantic Ocean. Experienced sailors shake their heads at Donna Lange's audacity. She does not seek to create new records, nor does she have wealthy sponsors trying to publicize sailing gear. So, why does Donna Lange want to sail around the world? The answer, best expressed on her web site, has several facets. First, it has been a long-held dream. Secondly, she loves the challenge of solo sailing. But also, she wants her voice heard. Donna Lange is passionate about female self-realization. She believes females should define their own existences and pursue their dreams by being more "willing to be educated." Through this extraordinary journey, Donna Lange hopes to reach more women through her writings. She plans publishing her ideas and adventures in magazine throughout the world. -- www.donnalange.com

Next week, the column will report on the Mill Pond Model YC Millennium Cup and the 25th Anniversary of the Sonar Fleet. Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers - have a safe and wonderful holiday.


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