A mark rounding at the Mill Pond on Sunday, Aug. 5. These A Class model boats race on Sundays out of the Mill Pond Model YC. Left to right: #30, Scott Spacie, #71, Charlie Wanker, and #76, Allan Hoffman, commodore of the MPMYC.
The folks over at Sea Cliff Yacht Club have been busy this past month. First it was preparing for the Around Long Island Race (ALIR), which is no small feat. Then it is the actual race with all the details that go into running a race that starts off in Manhattan. By all accounts, the race was a success. Alchemy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy's entry, completed the ALIR with a new course record of 17 hours, 48 minutes and 40 seconds. Captain Chris Gasiorek and Coach Ralph Steitz led the midshipmen aboard the USMMA Andrews 77 to victory. Their finish time beats the previous record of 19.9 hours held by the multihull Mirage set in the 1983 ALIR. The best mono-hull time for the ALIR was set in 2002 by Bright Star with 22.2 hours. Readers may be familiar with the name Ralf Steitz, who is a member of Manhasset Bay YC and has been involved with the America's Cup over the years, is an active racer on our bay, (owner of Puff, a Sonar) and a frostbiter in the winter. Chris Gasiorek, owns Sonar #752 and races on weekends with the Sonar class. Other local sailors who placed high on the leader board in the ALIR include John Towers, MBYC, owner of Ripple, a J/37, who brought home a armful of silver. He won the Double-handed Division, came in 3rd in the IRC - 2 Division, and won the Bohemia Trophy for the best performance for a first time entry in the ALIR. There were 23 first time captains, so this was no walk in the park to come in first. According to John in an email, the ALIR "was an absolute fantasy race. It was wonderful." It looks like we are going to see a lot more of this skipper and his Ripple in the coming years. Bill McFaul, Port Washington YC, on Free Fall, his Swan 44, came in 2nd in Division 8 and Steve Benjamin (Commodore of the Winter Frostbite YC here on the bay) came in 3rd in Division 10 on High Noon, a Tripp 41 C. The John B. Thomson trophy went to Mark Hansen in Division 10 sailing his Sweet Lorraine, a J/145C. For more information on the Around Long Island Race, go to www.alir.org.
This column has been known to speak of our bay in glowing terms - her beauty at sunset, her restorative powers after a day of sailing, and her powers over us in heavy weather. What we sometimes fail to comment on are the boats that sail into our harbor, attracted by the beauty of Manhasset Bay. Such was the case this past weekend. Sunday was just a wonderful day to be out on the water, with bright sunshine and lots of wind. Manhasset Bay was in her glory. And then, much to the surprise of those fortunate enough to be out sailing or racing, along comes Aphrodite. Yes, that Aphrodite - the 74-foot commuter boat that ferried Mr. Whitney from his boathouse to Wall Street during the 1930s. Now fully restored by Chuck and Deborah Royce, Aphrodite, which has been sailing in Western Long Island Sound recently, was born right here on Manhasset Bay at the Purdy Boat Yard. In her heyday, she sailed local waters with a guest list that included film stars such as Fred Astaire, Sir Laurence Olivier, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, tycoon Henry Ford II and presidential adviser Harry Hopkins. In 1962, after Whitney returned from four years as Ambassador to Great Britain, he donated the boat to a youth training program and thus began her long decline. After several owners had tried to revive her, Royce found Aphrodite in the Florida mud - a forgotten hulk - and brought her to the Brooklin Boatyard (Brooklin, Maine) in 2003. After 33,000 hours, Aphrodite is beautiful again and has been clocked at 38 knots (about 43 mph) and will cruise at 23 to 25 knots. Fortunately for Aphrodite, and for all of us who care about nautical history, Deborah and Chuck Royce have returned Aphrodite to her former elegance. According to John Schinto, Riverside YC, who was on board this past Sunday for the sail across the Sound, "Aphrodite was on a day sail and we decided to sail over to her original home - the Whitney boatyard." Last Sunday was a great good day on the water, and when Aphrodite sailed into Manhasset Bay, she was just the perfect addition to a day of sunshine and wind on a Sunday afternoon in August.
There were 21 boats on the starting line in four divisions last Thursday, Aug. 2. The results for Division I (6 boats, 6.45 nm, Course UJA): 1. Free Fall, Swan 44, Bill McFaul, 2. Ripple, J/37, John Towers, and 3. Grace, Swan 53, Gene Gold. Division II (5 boats, 5.63 nm, Course UCA): 1. Xcite, X Boat 33, Yalcin Tarhan, 2. Happy Daze, Pearson 10M, Tom Egan, and 3. Irish Blessing, J/30, Ed Gillen. Division III (9 boats, 5.10 nm, Course UDY): 1. Sundance, Pearson 30, Joel Ziev, 2. En Passant, Islander B30, Bob Ebenau, and 3. Tootsie, Scampi 30, Ron Fink. Division- Cats: (1 boat, 6.45 nm, Course UJA): Renegade, Stiletto 27 GT, Andy Ledins.
There was no wind and no racing on Saturday, Aug. 4, but sailing was great on Sunday. Top boats for Sunday, Aug. 5: Sonar Fleet (14 boats, 2 races). Race 1: 1. #375, Housemartin, Beth and Greg Danilek, 2. #682, Puff, Ralf Steitz and Ted Toombs, and 3. #421, Weekend Warrior, Dan Simon, Bill Simon and Einar Haukeland. Race 2: 1. #396, Delight, Bob Kirtland, 2. #729, no information available, and 3. #684, Cypher, Tony Dalia. Top boats in the MBO class (1 race): 1. #5, Escape, Ned Baker and Richard Moore, 2. #23, 23 Skidoo, Carole Alexander and Don Richardson, and 3. #17, Frolic, Bill Martin. The KOD class (2 races): Race 1: 1. #15, Dybbuk, Roy Israel, 2. #14, Phoenix, Tom Powers, and 3. #12, Sonic, Michael Aingorn/Peter Wermuth. Race 2: 1. Phoenix, 2. Sonic, and 3. Dybbuk. There were 11 Ideal 18s out on the water. No names available.
Manhasset Bay is not the only place where racing takes place on the weekends. Mill Pond has its model boats that race on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturdays are for the ODOM class (one design, one meter) and on Sunday, the A Class, sometimes called the Marblehead Class, sails. This latter model boat is a developmental boat, which means that the owners buy a basic class boat but can try different "go fast" additions to the boat to see what works best. These models are based on the 5.5 meter boats with an overall length of 50 inches, and carry 800 square inches of sail. There were four racers out last Sunday, Aug. 5 but one boat had some repair needs and did not compete in all the races. Allan Hoffman, Commodore of the Mill Pond Model Boat YC, Wally Roff (NJ), Joseph Wojcik, Plainview, the Fleet Captain, Scott Spacie, and Charlie Wanker, Whitestone, were all on the shore of Mill Pond enjoying the sun and wind that Mother Nature provided. These A Class boats are part of the American Model Association (AMA) and the International A Class Association. These five men were having a great time and they "invite all skippers to join them on the weekend" at the Mill Pond. Why not give it a try - it's a lot of fun, and not as expensive as racing the bigger boats.