There is great news coming out of Knickerbocker Yacht Club this past week. The Knickerbocker Cup, an international match racing event that attracts racers from all over the country, just received word that they will be part of the World Match Racing Tour Qualifying Series. This is big! The World Match Racing Tour is the world's leading professional sailing series with 10 events that is the only global series of sailing events in the world touching five continents. Their racers come from the ranks of the America's Cup teams, skippers and world's top sailors in the ultimate "race of truth." The tour is sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and is one of three properties with "Special Event" status alongside the America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race.

The benefits of being part of the Tour Qualifying Series include an invitation to the winner of the Knickerbocker Cup to participate in a World Match Racing Tour Event. What an incentive to race right here in Manhasset Bay! In the past, the Knickerbocker Cup has brought top-rated racers to our shores, including Ed Baird, America's Cup winner 2007, Dave Dellenbaugh, Dave Perry (Long Island Sound racers), Paul Cayard, Russell Coutts, Peter Gilmour, Ian Williams, James Spithill, and Mattieu Richard. What all of these racers have in common is that in the early stages of their sailing career, they honed their skills on Manhasset Bay at the Knickerbocker Cup. Today, some of them rank at the top of the 2007 Championship Final Standings. In their wisdom, the folks at World Match Racing Tour saw the good work done at Knickerbocker Yacht Club in prepping some of the best racers of today and decided they would like to include the KCUP as part of their Qualifying Series.

This year the tour schedule includes: Brazil Sailing Cup, Vitoria, Brazil; Match Race Germany, Langenargen, Germany; Latium Match Cup, Rome, Italy; Korea Match Cup, Gyeong gi, Korea; Match Cup Sweden, Marstrand, Sweden; Troia Portugal Match Cup, Troia, Portugal; Danish Open, Frederikshavn, Denmark; St. Moritz Match Race, St. Moritz; Bermuda Gold Cup, Hamilton, Bermuda; and Monsoon Cup, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia.

Last year's winner of the Knickerbocker Cup, Chris Van Tol, from Bayview YC in Detroit, MI, is a great example of how the KCUP works its magic. After the big win on Manhasset Bay, Van Tol and his Bayview Yacht Club Match Racing Team, with Mike Hoey, John Van Tol and Mike Rehe, called themselves the "zero to hero" team. Van Tol explained, "We were here last year and only managed to win one race. We put it together this year by practicing a lot. Each race had us gaining momentum and confidence and by the time we got into the finals, we nailed it." According to Sailing Anarchy, an online newsletter, "Chris Van Tol (CVT to his friends) has quietly sailed his way to the number one U.S. spot in the ISAF's (International Sailing Association Federation) rankings, and is 31st in the world." The first question to Van Tol in the interview was "How did your little team of three (Van Tol, Mike Hoey and John Van Tol) get to be the top team in the country?" Readers may want to read the entire interview at to discover, not only the winning strategy for this "zero to hero" team but how their home yacht club, the Bayview Yacht Club, was instrumental in helping this up and coming team from the Midwest make their mark on the international match racing scene. And it all started (or was helped) by our own Knickerbocker Cup.

Last Sunday, Feb. 17, seven teams of IC dinghy racers were on the starting line. In a day that was predicted to be very windy, the Race Committee decided to have a go at a few races and see how many they could get in before the wind picked up. With winds ranging from 8-13 knots and temperatures in the high 30s, it was a good day for racing. A total of 5 races were completed. The scores for last Sunday: Race 1: #536, Pedro Lorson/Mary Wachowicz, 2. #537, Ralf Steitz/Hugh McKay, and 3. #121, Fee Mitropoulos/Sophia Mitropoulos. Race 2: 1. #537, 2. #17, Paul-Jon Patin/Felicity Ryan, and 3. #603, Matt Kelley/Mary Endsey. Race 3: 1. #536, 2. #17 and 3. #514, Ted Toombs/Jenny McCarthy. Race 4: 1. #17, 2. #537 and 3. #536. Race 5: 1. #17, 2. #536, and 3. #603. Overall winners for the day: 1. #17 Paul-Jon Patin/Felicity Ryan, 2. #536, Pedro Lorson/Mary Wachowicz, and 3. #537, Ralf Steitz/Hugh McKay. Only 2 points separated the top three teams, and the next two teams of Matt Kelley/Mary Endsey and Ted Toombs/Jenny McCarthy were tied. There was no crew race.

The International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS) of Newport will host its Third Annual Marine Industry Career Day on Saturday, March 1. The one-day event, the only marine-exclusive career fair in the state, comes at a time when newly released research tallies a 10 percent job vacancy rate in the marine business in Rhode Island and growing job opportunities for the future. So if any readers are looking to start a new career or are ready for a career change and would like to move up to Newport, this may be the right time to get serious about your job prospects.

Companies from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island are expected to attend Career Day. These exhibitors include builders of both classic and modern boats, boat yards, marine equipment manufacturers, and sailmakers. Many of these exhibiting companies employ a full set of trades, such as boat builders, carpenters, electricians, laminators, mechanics, metal fabricators, painters, welders, and yard crew.

Attendees can talk with employers, learn about job opportunities and the skills required, gather information on training programs, and watch hands-on demonstrations. According to the recent study of the industry in Rhode Island, salaries in this sector exceed the state average (for more employment-related data, see the summary below).

Marine Industry Career Day runs on March 1 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the IYRS campus at 449 Thames Street in Newport. Admission is free. The event is made possible with support from the United Way of Rhode Island. IYRS offers a two-year course in traditional boat building and restoration at its Newport campus, a one-year program in Marine Systems at its Bristol (RI) facility, as well as a full menu of continuing education courses. The Marine Systems program was launched in 2007 and was developed in conjunction with the American Boat & Yacht Council. IYRS also coordinates with state-wide organizations such as RIMTA and the RI Economic Development Corporation to help more individuals start careers in the marine industry and help current employees strengthen their skills and career prospects. For more information on Career Day and IYRS programs, visit the school's website at or call 401-848-5777, ext. 220. Logo
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