Sports
Sabrina Lorson, in boat #536, at the helm of the start of the crew race on Sunday, March 25. Notice how confidently she is handling the boat in the middle of a very competitive starting line!

There is a saying that good things come in small packages. This was proven once again out on the waters of Manhasset Bay this past Sunday, March 25. Readers are probably scratching their heads and wondering what in the world can sailing have to do with small packages. This time it isn't the little sailing dinghies under discussion, but one little girl who is making news this week. She is Sabrina Lorson, eight years old and in second grade. She has been crewing for her father for two or so years, and had the chance this past Sunday to skipper their IC dinghy (#536). Race committee called for the Crew Race with their loud hailer, and Sabrina was ready to go, eager to get that tiller in her hand. Pedro, the attentive father (and expert sailor) was positioned at the transom of the boat, ready to step in when needed. But this little skipper did just fine. To appreciate just how confident and skilled this young lady is, one has to have an idea of the scene at the starting line. There were 12 IC dinghies all crowding to the favored end, vying to good air. Right in the middle of all this jockeying comes #536 with young Sabrina at the helm, calm and collected. She looked like she had been doing this forever. They didn't win the crew race, but then again, that would have been something for the history books, because Sabrina was competing against Matt Wefer at the helm of Paul-Jon Patin's boat. For those unfamiliar to sailing, Paul-Jon is a local frostbiting "rock star" and the Wefer family has produced several generations of great sailors. So while they didn't win the crew race, Pedro and Sabrina did take line honors for the day. Back at the yacht club, your reporter was able to catch up with this little dynamo, and ask her about the day. "Was it a little scary at the start with all those boats so close?" "Not really," came the reply from this pint-sized sailor. "What about rounding marks - how was that?" Her reply, with a little smile, "I got a little help from my dad." Sabrina admitted that this is the second time she has skippered the boat, but that was last fall when she was so much younger. Kudos to this up-and-coming sailor - and to her father for providing her the opportunity to hone her skills.

The results of frostbiting for Sunday, March 25: IC dinghies: 1. #536, Pedro Lorson/Sabrina Lorson, 2. #514, Ted Toombs/Jenny McCarthy, and 3. #661, Jonathan Siener/Eva Lund. The Ideal 18s had three boats on the starting line, and finished in the following order: 1. #171, Bob Kirtland/Allan Thompson, 2. #12, Sandy Lindenbaum, Bob Schwartz and 3. #44, names not available.

Last week's column promised the results of the Stanley Bell Regatta over at Larchmont YC on the weekend of March 17-18. Readers may recall that on Saturday Mother Nature gave us one terrific ice storm. The regatta was cancelled that day, but on Sunday the wind was a solid 20 and gusting to 27. Only a few boats - these being unforgiving IC dinghies (read: they capsize easily) ventured to race the three races that the RC provided. Of those who did, there were a high percentage of teams taking a swim in the harbor. Steve Benjamin, from Larchmont YC, who is Commodore of the MBYC Frostbite YC, won the event. Six teams from our area were registered for the regatta: Paul-Jon Patin/Felicity Ryan, Pedro Lorson/Mimi Lorson Berry, Jonathan Siener/Amelia Amon, John Silbersack/Catryn Silbersack, Ted Toombs/Jenny McCarthy, and Fee Mitropoulos/Sophie Mitropoulos. According to Paul-Jon Patin, the regatta was "a lot of fun. I would have liked to sail more than three races for a major regatta." And Pedro Lorson added, "the regatta was very challenging - the most challenging I have ever sailed. The winds were shifty and the wind velocity was up and down. The wind could be 10 then jump to 20 and if you didn't let the mainsheet out fast - over you went. The downwind runs were really something and had to be careful not to do an accidental jibe." Both these excellent sailors will be competing against each other and other top sailors at the IC Dinghy Nationals in mid-April.

The America's Cup, with its rich heritage and tradition dating back to 1851, has been called the oldest trophy in sport. When the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896, the America's Cup was already 45 years old. In just one week, racing begins in Valencia, Spain with the Louis Vuitton Act 13. In preparation for racing starting next Tuesday, March 3, the superyachts have arrived in anticipation of Cup racing. For the next three months, Valencia will be the center of match racing for most of the world.

Here in the United States, we also have some match racing. The Congressional Cup, out in Long Beach, CA is set for May and the Knickerbocker Cup in August. But first to the Congressional Cup. The world's best match racing sailors outside of Valencia are lined up for the 43 Cup which will take place May 15-19. And while several top players will be involved in the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger trials and not available to compete this year, the Congressional Cup remains a Grade 1 event, with a purse of $41,000. There is definitely a tie between the Congressional Cup and our Knickerbocker Cup. Of the ten competitors accepted to compete in the Congressional Cup, six have raced on Manhasset Bay at the Knickerbocker Cup: Mattieu Richard, France, #3 in the world rankings, Simon Minoprio, New Zealand, #17, Martin Angsell, Sweden, #23, Andrew Arbuzov, Russia, #24, Brian Angel, Redondo Beach, CA, #34, and Scott Dickson, Long Beach, #87 have all been to our shores. Scott Dickson, the younger brother of Chris Dickson, skipper and CEO of BMW Oracle's America's Cup team, is competing for the 11th time in the Congressional Cup after winning his berth in the Ficker Cup sail-off last September. The racing will be intense and it will be interesting who ends up wearing the Crimson blazer this year. To follow the action, go to http://www.lbyc.org/concup.

In addition to the Congressional Cup in May and the Knickerbocker Cup in August, there is some talk of another match racing event in the United States. A recent news story out of Maine from the Morning Sentinel indicates that the World Match Racing Tour, which is sanctioned by the ISAF International Sailing Federation, will bring its professional sailors, America's Cup teams and Olympic Gold medalists to our northern neighbor. According to tour director, Scott MacLeod, "we are in very positive discussions with Maine and we are very interested in the potential of the venue, but we haven't finalized an agreement at this date." To read the article, go to:

http://morningsentinel.mainetoday.com/sports/stories/3718692.html

While we are on the subject of match racing, readers may want to read an article by Stuart Streuli, the Senior Editor at Sailing World Magazine, called Five Ways to Improve the America's Cup. Streuli provides his thoughts on what sailing can learn from Mark Cuban, Britney Spears, and NASCAR. He starts out with "I know what sailing really needs. It's not a made-for-TV professional circuit, a hot new one-design, a simpler set of racing rules, or a grand-prix rating formula that encourages fast, fun boats. Sailing could certainly use all those things. But it really needs something else." Read the entire article online at www.sailingworld.com.


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