With at least 3-5 inches of rain falling last Sunday, April 23, and with some high wind gusts, the few frostbiters who came down to the water's edge decided it would be better to cancel racing for the day. The next, and last, chance to frostbite this year will be next Saturday, April 29, for the Long Distance Race. The race begins at 10 a.m., with the annual end of the season picnic at Manhasset Bay YC. Let's hope we have some good wind for this fun-filled day.
The final Notice of Race for the 2006 Centennial Newport to Bermuda Race has been released, updating the previously-released Provisional Notice of Race. Competitors are encouraged to download this new document and the list of revisions from the Notice of Race section on the official website, www.bermudarace.com. The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the Cruising Club of America, organizers of the Bermuda Race Centennial, Newport Bermuda 2006, announced that Coldwell Banker Previews International will have a major presence in race activities. These include presenting the Official 2006 Bermuda Race Centennial Video to be produced by Gary Jobson and the Horizon Marine iBoatTrack system to be used for the first time in the 2006 race on their website. Coldwell Banker will also sponsor a big screen kiosk at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club which will present race position graphics and finish results for spectators awaiting the sailors arrival after the race. To add even more excitement to an already great event, HRH The Princess Royal (Princess Anne) will be visiting Bermuda in June of this year, at the end of the Centennial Newport Bermuda Race. At the invitation of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Her Royal Highness will be the guest of honor at the Newport Bermuda Race Prizegiving, which will be held at Government House on Saturday, June 24, and at associated events. Among her many other charitable interests, Her Royal Highness is President of the Royal Yachting Association.
Adam Minoprio of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron made it three in a row for the family when he won the Warren Jones Youth Regatta match racing, on Perth's Swan River, beating the local entrant 2-1 in the final. Adam's brother, Simon, won the two previous events, with Adam as mainsheet trimmer last year. Readers may recall that big brother Simon competed here on Manhasset Bay last year in the 2005 Knickerbocker Cup, coming in 4th behind Mark Campbell-James (GBR), Matteo Simoncelli (ITA) and Ian Williams (GRB).
Speaking of match racing, the 42nd Congressional Cup, held on April 10-15, was won by Gavin Brady, who won his third Crimson Blazer. Ian Williams (GBR), ranked 7 in the ISAF match racing standing, was the top dog, but Gavin Brady (New Zealand), ranked 21, got on a roll and was next to invincible. He won 16 of his last 17 races, including the last 12 in a row and all four on Saturday when he swept local hope Scott Dickson in the semis and Ian Williams in the finals, 2-0 each. This year, the cup has added some fleet racing for the first time. Instead of parking their boats on the fifth and final day, the six competitors who fail to reach the semifinals after two round robins will run a fleet race for a $1,000 winner-take-all prize, before the four semi-finalists sail off for the championship. The new consolation fleet race was won by New Zealand Simon Minoprio, followed by countryman Cameron Appleton, Brian Angel of Redondo Beach, CA, Peter Wibroe of Denmark and Johnie Berntsson of Sweden. According to Even Chair Randy Smith, the fleet race was inspired by the America's Cup introduction last year of the "Acts" series of fleet races in Europe and the U.S. Said Smith, "If two boats are fun, six boats are a show. I have always thought it was a waste of great talent to have six of the 10 teams sitting around with nothing to do on the last day." Several of the names competing in the Congressional Cup should be familiar to readers. Ian Williams, Simon Minoprio, Peter Wibroe, and Cameron Appleton have all competed in past Knickerbocker Cups. Some of them will be returning for the 2006 Knickerbocker Cup, scheduled for Aug. 30-Sept. 3.
Remember Amanda Clark and Sarah Mergenthaler, the team that is going for the gold in the next Olympics? They were here in Manhasset Bay a few seasons ago giving sailing seminars for the junior sailors from all three yacht club junior programs. Their team, named Team Go Sail, has just finished the Princess Sofia Trophy, an ISAF Grade 2 event, where they came in 6th overall. The team is now ranked #7 in ISAF world rankings. In an April 15 email, Amanda and Sarah share some of their accomplishments:
"Yesterday was the Medal Race, marking the end of the Princess Sofia Trophy. As many of you know, a new Olympic format was started this year that includes a final medal race featuring only the top ten boats in the fleet. The course is shorter; all scores count double and may not be dropped. We experienced this format at the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta in January. This format really forces competitors to play the points game! Our game plan was to start conservatively as an OCS (over at the start) is deadly in a race you cannot drop. We rounded the first mark mid- fleet, keeping tabs on the Spanish and Israelis. We immediately started passing downwind, picking off the Brits and finally the Israelis. We caught a great lift coming off the left side of the course and held on to finish 3rd in the race. However, this did not change our overall 6th place position for the regatta. This finish bumped us up to number seven in the ISAF World Rankings. Sixth at the Princess Sofia is a very solid score and we are pleased. It is now time to persue a top five finish. Another chance lies ahead as the Semiane Olympique Francias Regattas in Hyeres, France begins on April 23. We arrive in France to begin a week of training before the event."
Chris Nihill, of Port Sailing School, has some good news. His oldest daughter, Kristen has received a promotion and will be the captain of the cutter Kittiwake based in Hawaii. Kristen, 23, has helped her father out at the sailing school teaching navigation. She was also a launch driver for Oyster Bay Marine Center. According to her proud father, "Like my other kids, she is a natural on the water." Her last assignment was on a cutter in Key West. Kristen is a Lieutenant j.g. and graduated the United States Coast Guard Academy in 2004. Chris plans to visit Kristen in Hawaii this fall. Congratulations to the Nihill family.