For the past few weeks, each of the yacht clubs on Manhasset Bay, during their time-honored tradition of commissioning, was asked, "Is the club ready to go into commission?" Each club in turn heard a hearty reply, "Yes, the club is ready!" Thus begins another season of sailing. Just the thought of getting out on the water gets the blood flowing a little faster. With schedules a little tighter as we struggle to find time to put the last coat of varnish on the boat, or buy another part that really does need replacing, thoughts - of winning the race that somehow eluded us last season, or of an afternoon sail out to Long Island Sound returning just in time to see another gorgeous sunset over our bay, or day sailing with our young offspring aboard for their first sail - sustain us until the day when the boat is actually launched. It won't be long now when all the boats will be out of their winter confinement, and bobbing contentedly at their mooring, awaiting their owner to skipper them once again to another season of adventures.
Just as the yacht clubs begin their season each year with commissioning, the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce has their own celebration of our waterfront. While not as formal as a commissioning, it is great fun, with lots of people and activities down at our Town Dock. Check the schedule that is printed in this paper and plan on coming down to the waterfront and enjoy of day of meeting your neighbors, eating good food, watching good entertainment. All with a backdrop of Manhasset Bay! What could be better? While you are wandering about, you may want to support the third grade children over at the Mill Pond as they race their handmade boats in a regatta. These budding "boat builders" have given their boats "go fast" names and are anxiously waiting for the chance to see how their boat does on the water. Lots of excitement and yes, much school spirit will be going on - so don't miss the action!
With the onset of the sailing season comes the end of the winter frostbite season. And while we all look forward to warm weather sailing, it is always a little sad to let the winter sailing go. There is something very special about our frostbiters. Yes, they are very skilled racers, but that is not the entire story. These sailors are a very close-knit group who really care about each other in the true Corinthian spirit. If someone new shows the slightest interest in winter sailing, they might want to think twice about voicing that opinion - and run for the hills as fast as they can. For once a frostbiter sees a potential winter sailor, watch out! For those who sail in the winter are so very passionate about its wonders, that it is not unusual for a skipper to mentor the newcomer, and spend considerable time introducing them to either the IC dinghy or an Ideal 18. And the best part about winter sailing? It is truly a family sport. Each Sunday, the fleet sees more and more children of skippers and their wives out on the water, racing together.
The end of frostbiting ended with the Annual Long Distance Race, but the final activity for the season was their Awards Dinner. Always a good time, this year was an especially wonderful event. For starters, Herb Schmidt, winter racing chair, retired after 17 years. To celebrate all the wonderful things that Herb has done for frostbiting, the group signed a frostbite burgee that was framed and given to him. So many people wanted to honor Herb, an additional burgee was added, this one from MBYC where Herb is a member. What a joy to honor a dedicated sailor and his wife, Barbara. Race Committee is already mourning the loss of Herb's leadership and Barbara's delicious cookies that sustained them through many a cold Sunday afternoon.
Another very special honor was given to Fleet Captain John Silbersack, the man behind the scenes who provided frostbiters a great sailing season, including the Annual Frostbite New Year's Regatta and the very successful Frostbite National Championship. Frostbite Treasurer Greg Corkett presented the Howard F. Seymour Award to John, which is awarded to "the Frostbite crew, skipper, or Race Committee participant who best demonstrates dedication, desire, and enthusiasm for the sport of winter sailing." Seems like this award was written for John Silbersack. He is all of these and much more. To all who know him, John is a true gentleman. He is also a wonderful mentor to newcomers and an enthusiastic promoter of sailing as a family sport. Congratulations to John and his family.
The frostbite season awards: Winners of the Championship Series and the Spring Series in A Division: 1. Paul-Jon Patin/Anne Patin, 2. Pedro Lorson/Johanna Silbersack/Sabrina Lorson, and 3. Kevin Morgan/Donna Marie Cipollone. B Division: 1. Ted Toombs/Jenny McCarthy, 2. Jonathan Siener/Amelia Amon, and 3. Philip "Fee" Mitropoulos/Sophia Mitropoulos. Top boats in the Fall Series, A Division: 1. Paul-Jon Patin/Anne Patin, 2. Pedro Lorson/Johanna Silbersack/Sabrina Lorson, and 3. Ralf Steitz/Greer Ferguson. B Division winners: 1. Matt Kelley/Cory Lawrence, 2. Jonathan Siener/Amelia Amon, and 3. Ted Toombs/Jenny McCarthy. Winners in the Winter Series, A Division: 1. Paul-Jon Patin/Anne Patin, 2. Matt Allen/Cory Lawrence, and 3. Matt Kelly/Cory Lawrence. B Division: Kevin Morgan/Donna Marie Cipollone, and 2. Jonathan Siener/Amelia Amon. Winners in the Spring Series, B Division: 1. Jonathan Siener/Amelia Amon, 2. Chip Whipple/Lynne Whipple, and 3. Philip "Fee" Mitropoulos/Sophia Mitropoulos. The top crew in the Fall Series went to: 1. Sophia Mitropoulos, 2. Sabrina Lorson and 3. Greer Ferguson. Best Crew in the Winter Series: 1. Cory Lawrence, 2. Felicity Ryan, and 3. Jenny McCarthy. In the Spring Series, the top crew: 1. Sabrina Lorson, 2. Amelia Amon, and 3. Jenny McCarthy. The best crew in the Championship Series went to Sabrina Lorson, an 8-year-old who has shown great skill in skippering her father's IC dinghy. According to the scorer, the crew vying for honors in the crew race was very close, only one point separating the top contenders - which makes it all the more exciting that an 8-year-old claimed the top prize.
Now for the winners in the Ideal 18 fleet: Championship Series and the Spring Series; 1. Bob Kirtland/Alan Thompson, 2. Vince Syracuse/Steve Moore, and 3. Mike Silverman/Ryan Christie. In the Fall Series; 1. Chip Whipple/Lynne Whipple, 2. Bob Kirtland/Alan Thompson, and 3. Einar Haukeland/Ruth Haukeland. Winter Series winners; 1. Ed McLaughlin/Chris Shields. 2. Bob Kirtland/Alan Thompson, 3. Steve Moore/Andrew Syracuse. Winner in the Crew Race for the Fall Series: 1. Steve Moore, 2. Lynne Whipple, and 3. Alan Thompson. In the Winter Series: 1. Andrew Syracuse, 2. Alan Thompson, and 3. Steve Moore. And in the Spring Series: 1. Chris Shields, 2. Alan Thompson, and 3. Lynne Whipple.
Craig Leweck, from Scuttlebutt, the daily online sailing newsletter (www.sailingscuttlebutt.com), brought your columnist's attention to an error in last week's On The Bay. At the end of the article, mention was made about the 32nd America's Cup coming live to your computer via Sail.tv. So far that information is correct. But what was left out is the following: "The offering will only be available to viewers where there is no exclusive TV Rights holder agreement in place, and unfortunately viewers within these countries will not be able to subscribe to the package." Since the United States has such an agreement with Versus, Sail.tv is not available for subscription. Many thanks to Leweck for pointing out this error. So where can you view the Semi -finals and Finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup? Go to www.versus.com to get all the details.