Every August, Manhasset Bay Yacht Club has its Annual Race Week. Some years the sailors are greeted with good weather, and when they get really lucky, they have great wind. One time, about 10 or so years ago, the wind was strong and actually dangerous; T-shirts were designed with the logo "I survived Manhasset Bay Race Week." Well, this year the racers weren't so lucky. Mother Nature was in one of her moods and decided not to bestow her gifts on this year's regatta, held at MBYC Aug. 10, 11, and 12. Friday was a cold, damp and really windy day. Crew were seen trying to warm up in the clubhouse with toes bright red from the cold and damp weather. Just the opposite kind of weather greeted the teams on Saturday, when the wind was so light that some boats had to be towed back to shore - never a pretty sight. On Sunday, the wind was a little better and the Race Committee got in a few races. Considering the conditions, it is remarkable that the Sonar fleet got in eight races overall. So all was not lost because of the wind. Reed Whittemore was the event chair this year, with John Barry serving as the race officer. Especially beautiful trophies (thanks to Don Canfield) were awarded after the racing was completed on Sunday afternoon. Top boats in each division: Sonars (12 boats, 8 races): 1. #753, Rick and Tracy Dominique, 2. #375, Greg and Beth Danilek, 3. #682, Ralf Steitz, and 4. #421, Einar Haukeland/Bill Simon. The MBOs had eight boats on the starting line. These folks have just come off a big win at the Royal Burnham YC in England and were raring to race. (More about their great adventure across the pond in an upcoming column). Top on the leader board for the MBOs (8 boats, 3 races): 1. #26, Lew Lane, 2. #9, Cleas Larsson, and 3. #11, Clay Davenport. The KOD's top racers (4 boats, 4 races): 1. #14, Tom Powers, 2. #15, Roy Israel, 3. #12, Michael Aingorn. The Ideal 18s registered 6 boats according to the scratch sheet, but only three actually sailed because of the wind. Awards were given to the top two skippers: 1. #171, Vince Syracuse, and 2. #176, William Brakman. In the PHRF division only two boats registered and completed two races. Winner of the PHRF division was Dr. Mark Epstein on Vision.
On Aug. 4, City Island Yacht Club hosted a Women's Skipper Race. 23 women took the helm and raced in five divisions. Yacht clubs that participated included: Crestwood YC, Douglaston YC, Hempstead Harbor Club, Larchmont YC, Manhasset Bay YC, Morris YBC, NYAC, Stuyvesant YC, and, of course, the host club, City Island YC. Jane Viola, racing in Second Wind, a C&C 32 came in first in non-spinnaker division 5. In an email, Jane said, "It was an exciting race and I am very proud of our results." Look to see Jane and her husband, Anthony, out on Manhasset Bay on Thursday evenings. They sail in Division III with the Thirsty Thursday group. Congratulations to Jane. Maybe she will start a trend with more women skippers racing some of the other PHRF boats in our bay. We already have one or two out on Thursday evenings.
Speaking of Thirsty Thursdays......18 boats raced in four divisions on Aug. 9. Top boats: Division I: (4 boats, 6.79 nm, course BJ): 1. Avalanche, Al Albrecht, 2. Freedom, Mario Fichera, and 3. Grace, Gene Gold. Division II: (5 boats, 5.92 nm, course BC): 1. Xcite, Yalcin Tarhan, 2. Happy Daze II, Tom Egan, and 3. Vision, Marc Epstein. Division III (8 boats, 5.51 nm, course UC): 1. En Passant, Bob Ebenau, 2. Tootsie, Ron Fink, and 3. Second Wind, Anthony Viola. Division CATS had one entry: Renegade, Andy Ledins.
Many in our local sailing community are familiar with the International Yacht Racing School (IYRS) up in Newport. The IYRS connection to our bay is through the Manhasset Bay One Design fleet, which has had several MBOs restored at the school. So it is interesting to note that their 10th Summer Gala raised a record-breaking $650,000 which will be earmarked for the school's educational programs. It was quite an affair. For those who have been to IYRS, it is an industrial space with all the trappings of utility. On the evening of July 14, though, the school was transformed into an elegant environment with crystal chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling panels of fabric. Over 500 attended the gala event, which included a sit-down dinner, dancing and live and silent auctions. "There was definitely magic in the air," said Joseph Dockery (Newport, R.I./Greenwich, Conn.), an IYRS trustee who shared the event co-chairmanship with Carol O'Malley (San Antonio, TX). "Gary Jobson was a master at getting dinner guests involved in the auction: people dug deep into their pockets to find the funds that will help IYRS continue its good work." The funds raised at the Gala represent a record for this annual event and a 33% increase over the amount raised at last year's Gala. The success of the event comes at an important time: the marine industry has a continuing need for skilled workers, and IYRS has expanded its educational offerings with a new, one-year program in Marine Systems. Developed with the American Boat & Yacht Council, the systems program launches this fall and joins the two-year program in traditional boat building and restoration and an extensive menu of continuing education courses.
New this year was the expansion of the gala to cover an entire weekend and including a regatta onboard a fleet of spirit-of-tradition yachts that included match-racing between W-76s White Wings and Wild Horses, evening parties at estates and waterfront homes of IYRS supporters, and a farewell brunch and cruise on Sunday onboard a fleet of private yachts. People came from as far afield as Europe, Hong Kong, and the U.S. West Coast and Gulf coast to support the event. "Expanding the gala into an entire weekend of activity allowed people to come here for a real Newport experience," said O'Malley. "And it gave those people time to gain an appreciation for the work IYRS does, to understand the important purpose this school fulfills."
World-class sailor and journalist Gary Jobson served as the master of ceremonies for a live auction, which included such items as an IYRS-restored Manhasset Bay One Design sailboat and once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunities, such as an invitation to join Ted Turner, Jobson, and the Courageous crew at a dinner at the America's Cup Hall of Fame (Bristol, R.I.) to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the crew's Cup win. When asked for donations for critical safety equipment for the school, many hands were enthusiastically raised to make this the largest ticket item of the evening ($58,000). At the conclusion of the weekend, a thrilled Carol O'Malley commented, "I have never seen so much synergy at a fund-raising event, with such strong support for the work of a single nonprofit from so many different people." For more information on IYRS, visit www.iyrs.org or call 401-848-5777.