There is something very special about the Frostbite YC Annual New Year's Regatta. It could be that this annual traditional sailboat race is perceived as part of the holiday festivities year after year. It also could be the challenge of sailing in a regatta after a long evening of celebrating the upcoming year, in weather that most likely won't be very comfortable. But most likely the draw of this terrific regatta is two-fold: the quality of the competition combined with the family aspect of the competitors. Teams were made up of husband-wife, father-daughter, uncle-niece, brother-sister, and various other mixed age groupings. There was one couple who raced against each other as skippers and another couple who crewed for a skipper of an IC dinghy racer and an Ideal 18, respectively.
This year the regatta was won by Molly and John Baxter, a husband-wife team from Larchmont YC who made their mark on the winter frostbiting community by winning the 2007 Interclub National Championship. The Baxter team beat second place Steve Benjamin, an Olympic silver medalist, who with crew Charlie McHugh, ended up tied with the Baxters with 33 points each. The tiebreaker went to the Baxters, who had three first-place finishes to Benjamin's two. (Yes, the competition in the winter is that competitive.) Rounding out the leader board was past Lightning NA champion Bill Healy and Meredith Killion in third, followed by the winner of last year's New Year's Regatta, Sunfish World Champion Paul-Jon Patin and crew Felicity Ryan. The Patin team also won the Past Commodore's Race. Second place in the Past Commodore's Race went to Dan Couglin and Matthias Mueller, followed by the brother-sister team of Pedro Lorson and Mimi Berry.
Pulling off a repeat of their stellar win in the 2007 New Year's Regatta, Bob Kirtland and Alan Thompson easily won the Ideal 18 class with a total of 15 points, with the father-daughter team of John Browning and Laura Browning capturing second place and Michael Silverman and Ryan Christie racing to a third-place finish. What is exciting about the winner of this fleet is that Bob Kirtland has been sailing in the New Year's Regatta for many, many years. While unavailable to interview after the regatta, sources close to Kirtland indicated that he may have competed in the 1946 New Year's regatta.
The regatta was a two-day event held at Manhasset Bay YC on Sunday, Dec. 31 and Tuesday, Jan. 1. The weather on Sunday was cold, damp, and gray, with just enough wind to finish a fine day of sailing. Tuesday was a different story. Early on, just about the time many were enjoying a leisurely breakfast, the Manhasset Bay area was treated to high winds, sleet and lots of rain. Would this deter the racers? Remember, one of the challenges and fun of frostbiting is inclement weather (though this is hard for landlubbers and warm weather sailors to understand). But with gusts reaching 45-50 knots, which would be dangerous for dinghy sailing, there were not just a few racers concerned about the regatta. But Mother Nature smiled on the frostbiters and gave them a great day of racing, albeit a wet one. By the end of the last race, 11 races were completed, and tired teams put their boats to bed and descended on the club to enjoy the roaring fire at MBYC and grab some hot chocolate.
Next week: The Frostbite YC Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony.
2008 Frostbite YC New Year's Regatta Final Standings:
IC Dinghy Class: 1. John Baxter/Molly Baxter (Larchmont YC); 2. Steve Benjamin/Charlie McHugh ( Larchmont YC); 3. Bill Healy/Meredith Killion (Larchmont YC); 4. Paul-Jon Patin/Felicity Ryan (MBYC); 5. Kevin Morgan/Donna Cipollone (MBYC; 6. Pedro Lorson/Mimi Berry (MBYC); 7. Dan Coughlin/Matthias Mueller (MBYC); 8. Matt Kelley/Mary Endsley (MBYC); 9. Gabe Jostrom/Ashley Austin (Larchmont YC); 10. Ted Toombs/Jenny McCarthy (MBYC); 11. Jonathan Siener/Amelia Amon (MBYC); 12. Philip Mitropoulos/Sophia Mitropoulos (MBYC); 13. Rich du Moulin/Louise Browning (Larchmont YC); 14. Al Constants/Holly Constants (Seawanhaka YC); 15. John Silbersack/Catryn Silbersack (MBYC); 16. Ralf Steitz/Jamie Gross (Storm Trysail); 17. Kerry Saladino/Peter Saladino (Larchmont YC); 18. Tom Browning/Emily Browning (MBYC); 19. Dan Schnipper/Brandan Rogers (MBYC); 20. Theresa Hendry (crew not known); 21. Peter Beardsley/Rachel Beardsley (Larchmont YC).
Ideal 18 Class: 1. Bob Kirtland/Alan Thompson (MBYC); 2. John Browning/Laura Browning (MBYCC; 3. Michael Silverman/Ryan Christie (KYC): 4. Bob Schwartz/Tom Powers (KYC); 5. Claude Chazotte/Flo Paterno (MBYC); 6. Ming Wang/John Gross (MBYC): and 7. Vince Syracuse/Rita Syracuse.
Past Commodore Race: 1. Paul-Jon Patin/Anne Patin (MBYC), 2. Dan Couglin/Matthias Mueller (MBYC); 3. Pedro Lorson/Mimi Berry (MBYC); 4. Ted Toombs/Jenny McCarthy (MBYC); 5. Rich du Moulin/Louise Browning (Larchmont YC); 6. Teresa Hendry/ Jeff I. (Southampton YC); Philip Mitropoulos/Sophia Mitropoulos (MBYC); and Malcolm Hendry/Alyssa Bouchard (Southampton YC).