It seems like everyone is getting on the bandwagon to "be green." And that is a good thing, if we want to preserve our way of life. Whether you believe that global warming is a threat or not, indications from Mother Nature make us at least question the changes we are seeing on our planet. The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has become aware of the threat to our environment, and is doing something about it. According to their website, "sailing enjoys a reputation of one of the most environmentally friendly sports going, and ISAF is aiming to maintain and further enhance the sport's image with the release of the ISAF Code of Environmentally Friendly Behavior. With regattas and racing regularly taking place in some of the most spectacular locations around the world, and the sport's unique link to the natural power of the wind, it is no surprise that sailors know the value of protecting the world's seas, lakes and waterways. By launching the Code of Environmentally Friendly Behavior, ISAF is aiming to showcase a few simple steps to sailors everywhere which will help preserve the natural venues that play host to our sport around the world."
Jane Moon, project chair overseeing the work of the Environment Group, said, "I have been pleased to work together with Michael Stoldt and Marta Weores to develop a set of guidelines to sailors which will further enhance our environmentally friendly sporting activities and encourage all sailors whether, racers, cruisers or leisure sailors to follow these guidelines and help to preserve our seas, lakes, and waterways."
The launch of the ISAF Code of Environmentally Friendly Behavior covers a few key areas where sailors can minimize their impact on the environment. While the following is not a complete list, some of their suggestions include: Garbage: do not throw overboard, and do not release poisonous or toxic waste (oil, paint, used batteries, cleaning agents, fuel) into the water; wildlife: do not feed or disturb wildlife and stay at least 300 to 500 meters from sea mammals and bird colonies; seabed: avoid sailing into reed banks, and other areas of dense vegetation along the shoreline and be careful when anchoring to minimize impact on the seabed. They also suggest sailors find out local environmental practices and respect the local environmental regulations. For a complete list, go to the ISAF microsite at www.sailing.org/environment where there will be the complete Code and some very good links to successful environmental sailing initiatives around the world and all the latest news on sailing and the environment.
The frostbiting season has ended and sailors are preparing for the upcoming warm weather sailing. As is tradition, the Long Distance Race is held on a Saturday followed by a great picnic at Manhasset Bay YC. This is not just any picnic, but one that is awaited with longing, for the steamers and clams, fried chicken, hamburgers and hotdogs are beyond delicious. This year, because there was no wind, the Race Committee cancelled the race in the morning, and the competitors settled in for a leisurely lunch on the lawn of the Junior Yacht Club. Just as the last morsel was eaten, a nice southerly appeared and even though some teams had already de-rigged their boats, they all agreed to race. In a flurry of activity, boats were taken off car tops, masts stepped, and life jackets donned. Four IC dinghy teams and two Ideal 18s competed. Results for the day: IC Dinghy division: 1. #536, Pedro Lorson/Sabrina Lorson, 2. #514, Ted Toombs/Ruth Haukeland and 3. #007, John Silbersack/Catryn Silbersack. The two Ideal 18: 1. Chris Shields/Shannon Shields and their two young children and 2. Claude Chazotte/Flo Paterno.
The beginning of the Challenger Series, called the Louis Vuitton Cup, the competition to determine which syndicate will compete against the defender, Alinghi, got off to a very slow start due to lack of wind in Valencia. In the past few days, things are picking up on the racecourse - including the wind - and there have been some interesting developments. For example, the new China team, in last place, just beat the top boat, BMW Oracle, the U.S. entry out of Golden Gate Yacht Club. In 12-15 knots of wind, which is the best conditions in Valencia so far, BMW Oracle lost their lead when they blew a headfoil. While making repairs, the China syndicate took advantage of the situation, and won the race, picking up two unexpected points.
For readers interested in the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup, there are two very good websites: www.sail-world.com/nz, and the official website of the Cup, www.americascup.com. In addition, VERSUS is using digital media outlets in conjunction with its television coverage of the America's Cup to present viewers with the most extensive coverage possible. Whether it's on VERSUS with distribution in more than 72 million homes, VERSUS.com or VERSUS On Demand, the event is available across all screens 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
"We're thrilled to have the opportunity to present the America's Cup to our viewers for the first time and wanted to give them a multitude of ways to access coverage and information of this one-of-a-kind, world-class event," said Gavin Harvey, president of VERSUS. "Our extensive coverage across all platforms is a way for viewers to have access to the Cup no matter where they are or the time of day. It's an intense competition for one of the world's most prestigious sports trophies and we don't want anyone to miss a minute of the action."
As part of its preliminary coverage of the America's Cup, VERSUS is airing daily two-minute highlight shows, "Cup Dates", throughout the Round Robin Series. These "Cup Dates" will air on VERSUS during the first intermission of the network's telecasts of the National Hockey League (NHL) Stanley Cup playoffs and will also be available on VERSUS.com. The network will begin airing live daily coverage of the Semifinals and Finals starting May 14 and the America's Cup on June 23. The "Cup Dates" will continue on VERSUS.com when the daily television coverage begins.
Hosts of the VERSUS telecasts include veteran broadcaster Craig Hummer along with former America's Cup sailors, Andy Green, who was a helmsman for England and Tucker Thompson, who sailed on America True. Tucker Thompson has been out on Long Island Sound for several years covering regattas in our area. He knows his stuff and is worth watching. Throughout the series, these men will interview sailing legends Dennis Conner, Tom Whidden, Bruce Kirby and Halsey Herreshoff. For the complete schedule of programs, go to www.versus.com.