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Leeward mark rounding at the Frostbite YC Annual New Year's Regatta. There was much traffic at the mark as the IC dinghies and Ideal 18s arrived at the mark about the same time.

Remember going to grandma's house when you were young and anticipating the great big hug you would get just as you escaped the confines of a long road trip? And what about the great aromas emanating from the kitchen that made you instantly hungry? Great memories of a person and place from a long-ago time, a place where you were made to feel as if you were the most important person in the world. One of the best parts of going to grandma's house was contemplating just how wonderful the visit would be. Nothing changed much between trips, and that was good. It was the sameness of those trips that made them so special. Over time, stories and events about visiting grandma took on a life of their own, and various accounts were debated and discussed and passed down to the next generation.

Just as families have their treasured traditions, so does the sailing community. One such local tradition is the Frostbite Yacht Club Annual New Year's Regatta. Held yearly since 1932, each year's weather offers up an assortment of challenges. In 2003, for instance, the weather was wretched and cold, causing one frostbiter to comment, "It was one of the most miserable days of sailing ever." Last year, the warm weather caused some concern to a fleet of sailors who, according to William Taylor, the yachting correspondent for the New York Herald in 1932 said, "Relish sailing in 11-foot open boats in the middle of a snowstorm - and enjoy it." But Mother Nature came to the rescue and provided cold, damp, and very rainy days. This year, the weather forecast was for mild weather, mid-40s to 50 degrees, but again, the frostbiters' reputation was not tarnished, as the weather turned out to be really raw, with rain mixed with ice toward the end of the first day of racing, Saturday, Dec. 31. New Year's Day was flat calm, and after the Past Commodore's Race was cancelled, the Race Committee took advantage of the extra time and enjoyed a leisurely lunch at Manhasset Bay YC waiting for word from Herb Schmidt, race committee chair. Waiting as long as he could, Herb finally had to cancel racing on Sunday due to lack of wind. But with six competitive races completed on Saturday, there were enough races to constitute a regatta. So while the weather may change yearly, the regatta itself is the same year after year. There is always the Wassail Bowl, followed by the very serious annual meeting, which in turn is followed by the award ceremony - which is serious and not to be confused with the light-hearted and fun banter during the official meeting.

Past Frostbite YC Commodore Dan Coughlin (left) welcomes incoming Commodore Mimi Berry.

The first order of business had Commodore Dan Coughlin, Steve Moore, Special Awards, and John Browning, Fleet Measurer, welcoming skippers, crews, family and friends. Pedro Lorson rang eight bells for those who have sailed their last race, which this year included Tom Godfrey, a sailing friend to many who has raced MBO for many years. With the help of young sailors in the crowd, the Wassail Bowl was distributed to all, and glasses raised on high to thank the race committee and competitors for another year of great racing. Next up was the treasurer's report. Commodore Robert F. Mitchell, treasurer, sent in his report from his luxurious suite in the new hotel in Dubai. Read by Steve Moore, Commodore Mitchell reported that the "Emir is anxious to open a station of the Frostbite YC and has offered to build an enclosed sailing facility for dinghy racing. The temperature will be controlled to provide frostbiting weather and large fans will be computer operated to provide winds of varying velocities and interesting wind shifts." He continued, "I am sorry to report that we are still having trouble collecting dues...the following names are two or more years in arrears: Paris Hilton, Pedro Lorson, Britney Spears, Tom Cruise, William Gates, John P. Barry, Bob Kirtland and Steve Moore." Commodore Mitchell, after consulting with the auditors, Messer's Cheatum, Robum and Run, proclaimed (with the audience chanting along - there are certain traditions that never die) that the Frostbite YC has "No assets! No Liabilities! No nothing!" Captain Matt Kelley won the Royal Order of the Bath with Expert Clusters, for his performance of a classic Interclub Death Roll followed by a dip in the chilly waters of Manhasset Bay. Captain Greg Corkett won the Royal Order of the Bath with Chief Boat Wrecker Clusters. Rather than give details of how Captain Corkett won this prestigious honor, readers will have to accost him in person. He usually can be found out on the bay throughout the year, or enjoying a few at Manhasset Bay YC. You may even find him walking his dogs along Shore Road. You may want to inquire how his aft floatation tank is doing. At the conclusion of this year's Special Awards, one needs to remember the words of Past Commodore Fee Mitropoulos, who commented last year, "the truth has little to do with the Special Awards." Readers are free to form their own opinions!

There were a few (very few!) moments of serious business at the annual meeting, one of which was the election of officers for next year. By a unanimous voice vote, the following were elected for 2006: Commodore: Mimi Berry; Vice Commodore: Steve Benjamin; Rear Commodore: Stephanie Baas; Treasurer: Robert Mitchell; Measurer: John Browning; Secretary: Lynn Whipple; Fleet Captain: Matt Kelley; Dock Captain: John Silbersack; and Harbor Master: Ralf Steitz.

After the annual meeting, Don Coughlin, assisted by Manhasset Bay YC Commodore, John Barry, handed out fleet and perpetual awards. This year there were three fleets racing: the IC Dinghies, Penguins and Ideal 18s. Winners in the IC Dinghy class (11 boats): 1. Steve Benjamin/James Whitcomb, Larchmont YC; 2. Paul Jon Patin/Anne Patin, Larchmont YC; and 3. Pedro Lorson/Mimi Lorson Berry, Manhasset Bay YC. Winners in the Penguin class (2 boats): 1. Malcolm Hendry/Karynne Reichel, South Hampton YC. It should be noted that his wife, Teresa Hendry, along with Ken Nilsen, came in a close second to her husband in this fleet. In the Ideal 18 class, the top boats (7): 1. Einar Haukeland/Ruth Haukeland; 2. Alex Whipple/Chip Whipple; and 3. Bob Kirtland/Alan Thompson. Alex Whipple is a junior sailor and the youngest skipper in competition this year. His boat handling skills were noted by the Race Committee and competitors.

Perpetual trophy winners will be reported next week.


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