Last Sunday, March 12, was a cold, dreary, and rainy winter day. But that did not stop our frostbiters who finally got in some sailing on Manhasset Bay. With wind predicted to be all of 0 - 3 knots, it was an "on again, off again" kind of decision, but the Race Committee set the course, and by early afternoon there were nine teams getting their boats ready for sailing Five Ideal 18s and 4 IC dinghy teams were on the starting line. Results for the Ideal 18s: 1. #176, Chip Whipple/Alex W., 2. #175, Bob Kirtland/Alan Thompson, and 3. #177, Bill Simon/Dan Simon. The results for the IC Dinghies: 1. #514, Ted Toombs/Matt Cornachio, 2. #121, "Fee" Mitropoulos/Sophia Mitropoulos, and 3. #007, John Silbersack/Catryn Silbersack.
John Storck, Jr. is a sailor from Huntington, but is well-known in these areas. He and his family came out high on the leader board at the three-day St. Pete Lands' End NOOD regatta recently. In what was described as uncooperative weather throughout the three days, John and his team on their J/80 Rumor was the first overall champion of the nine-event 2006 NOOD circuit. "We have a very good crew," said Storck Jr. "We've sailed together for a long time." John brings the experience while the next generation, including son Eric, nephew Bobby, daughter Kaity, and family friend Leigh Kempton provide the youthful enthusiasm. It proved an unbeatable combination in the 11-boat class as they won all three races and finished with a six-point lead over second. For the complete story see http://sailingworld.com.
A few familiar names have been prominent in frostbiting over the years - names that are familiar locally as these teams have returned year after year to sail in our Annual New Year's Regatta. A while ago, 48 competitors braved subfreezing temperatures to sail in the Interclub Mid-winters at Larchmont YC. The regatta uses a college style format with an "A" and "B" team alternating every two races. The team of John and Molly Baxter and Bill Healy and Meredith Killion won the event by six points over the team of Paul-Jon and Annie Patin and Eduardo Cordero and Kate Cronin. Third place went to Ned and Dorsey Roseberry and Ben and Kim Cesare. John and Molly Baxter won A division while Bill Healy and Meredith Killion won "B" division. For complete results see, www.larchmontyc.org.
Legends of America's Cup sailing - Ben Lexcen (born Robert Miller, New South Wales, Australia) and Stephen A. Van Dyck (Clearwater, FL, USA), have been named as the 2006 inductees to the America's Cup Hall of Fame. The inductees, who exemplify the best in both the design and tactical aspects of racing for the Cup, will be honored on the occasion of the Rolex America's Cup Hall of Fame 14th Annual Induction Ceremony to be held Thursday, Oct. 26. This black-tie dinner, sponsored by longtime supporter Rolex Watch U.S.A., is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Union League Club, New York, NY. Tickets are available to the public by contacting the America's Cup Hall of Fame at 401-253-5000 or e-mailing email@example.com.
America's Cup Hall of Fame President Halsey C. Herreshoff, who will preside over the induction ceremony, said: "The selection of these two outstanding America's Cup individuals fits perfectly with the mission of the Hall of Fame to elevate only the very best to the honored status for the America's Cup. Ben Lexcen oversaw the design of a fantastic 12-Meter yacht Australia II that was the first to lift the cup from America. Steve Van Dyck sailed in two America's Cup matches and was particularly significant to the close, hard-fought match of 1970 aboard Intrepid. I take my hat off to these special individuals that we honor."
Ben Lexcen is a name synonymous with the winged keel and is known as the most prolific cup designer over the five-match period that ran from 1974 through 1987. Of the six 12-Meter boats that he designed, three sailed in cup matches. Most important, one of those boats, Australia II, became the first challenger ever to win the America's Cup. Born Robert Miller in New South Wales, Australia, he left school at the age of 14 and discovered boats in the coastal town of Newcastle. He built his first boat at 16, started winning races, and became a sailmaker and part-time yacht designer specializing in the 18-foot skiff class, which he revolutionized. He designed light-displacement ocean racers, including Apollo for Alan Bond. From Southern Cross through Australia IV (1987), all his 12-Meters showed a flare of originality. People who worked with Lexcen have described him as brilliantly intuitive. Bob Fisher, a British yachting journalist and member of the America's Cup Hall of Fame Selection Committee, has described his talent as "outrageous in its naiveté, fundamental in its approach, and gloriously effective in its delivery." His premature death from a heart attack left a vacuum in Australian yachting, and the entire America's Cup.
Stephen Van Dyck epitomizes the skilled and successful Corinthian yachtsmen who crewed Cup boats during most of the 12-Meter era (1958-1987) as well as a new breed of tactician. Born in Rochester, NY, he grew up sailing in Southport, CT. and as a youth learned extensively from involvement with America's Cup Hall of Fame member Briggs Cunningham who sailed the 1958 defender, Columbia. Van Dyck sailed on two Cup defenders: Constellation as a trimmer in 1964 when a college student and Intrepid in 1970 as tactician for skipper Bill Ficker. While Ficker concentrated on steering the small-ruddered boat and never looked at the competition, Van Dyck called the tactics and directed the sail trimmers. After 22 years as a deck hand, tactician or advisor in seven campaigns, Van Dyck retired from the America's Cup after 1983, but his involvement with the sea continued. He actively raced two 48-footers named Wonder to Bermuda and along the East Coast in the 1990s. Now retired from the Philadelphia-based shipping company he ran for many years, he heads INTERTANKO, an organization working to protect the marine environment. He is once again competing in meter boats, the one-man 2.4-Meter miniature 12-Meter. Thirty-five years after beating Gretel II in Intrepid, he is still identified as a Cup winner. "When I am introduced giving speeches these days, I am still a little amazed at how people still refer to me as an America's Cup tactician," he said.