Kevin Morgan and Donna Marie Cipollone came out on top of the leaderboard on Sunday, Feb. 24. They are seen here at the Annual Frostbite New Year's Regatta jockeying for good position at the start of a race. Photo courtesy of Colin Fitzpatrick.
The International Yacht Restoration School and the Museum of Yachting are launching their 2008 Spring-Summer Events and it looks like there is a lot to please and attract sailors to Newport. If readers happen to be traveling north in March, you may want to consider the IYRS lecture on March 11 on Early Ocean Racing: Transatlantic Racing for Fame and Fortune in the 19th century. Queene Hooper Foster explores a bygone era in yacht racing-when big schooners like Dauntless and Coronet chased oceanic records; when wealthy owners competed for prizes and accusations of sabotage appeared in the press for months; and when a winner could be assured a fortune in prize money, the favor of the royal courts of Europe, and lifelong celebrity at home. Hooper Foster pulls from logs and newspaper archives to bring the offshore yacht racing of a past era to life in a captivating presentation. Part of the five-part IYRS Spring Lecture Series on "The Great Races." On March 25, the second in a five-part series on the "The Great Races" will be The Newport Bermuda Race: The 635-Mile (Exhilarating, Frustrating and Addictive) Offshore Race with the Lure of Bermuda at the Finish," presented by Sheila McCurdy. McCurdy comes to IYRS to look at a great race that has drawn over 46,000 men and women over its 102-year history: the Newport Bermuda Race. Every two years, the race departs in mid-June from Newport. The 635-mile course to Bermuda runs through the strong currents of the Gulf Stream, and the event has lured sailors who return again and again for an offshore challenge that McCurdy calls exhilarating, frustrating-and addictive. A veteran of the race herself, McCurdy is vice commodore of the Cruising Club of America and a member of the organizing committee for the 2008 Newport Bermuda Race. For more information: www.iyrs.org / 401-848-5777.
Last week this column reported on the ISAF World Match Racing Tour new "Tour Qualifier Series" and noted that the Knickerbocker Cup was invited to participate in the series which means that the winner gets an automatic invitation to an event in the World Match Racing Tour. What was left out last week was that the winner of the KCUP gets invited to a specific event, which in this case is the Bermuda Cup. This is really great news as the Bermuda Cup is one of the "jewels" of the tour. The concept behind the Tour Qualifier Series, which is a group of 19 events, is to provide up and coming match racing teams with a structured gateway to competing on the World Match Racing Tour. According to Director Craig Mitchell, "In the past, each stage of the World Match Racing Tour has hosted qualifier events in their own country. The new Tour Qualifier Series offers up to two qualifier events to each of the tour stages, and also in different countries to the host country. The result is the series extends the opportunity for foreign teams to gain entry to the official Tour events." Congratulations to the Knickerbocker Cup committee and to the club. Look for exciting match racing on Manhasset Bay on Aug. 19-24. For more information, go to www.worldmatchracingtour.com and www.kyc.net.
While we are on the subject of match racing, the Congressional Cup, which will be held on April 29-May 3 at the Long Beach YC, just announced that Chris Van Tol, Bayview Yacht Club (Detroit, MI) has been invited to the Cup. Van Tol is the highest ranking American match racer (#31) who is replacing Russia's Eugeniy Neugodnikov, who withdrew. As reported last week, Van Tol won the 2007 Knickerbocker Cup and has gone on to a stellar winning streak in match racing. Van Tol and his team have their work cut out for them at the Congressional Cup, as they will be going head-to-head again the globetrotting professional racing sailor Gavin Brady, a New Zealand native who lives in Annapolis and is going for his fourth win to equal the wins by Rod Davis and Peter Holmberg. Brady may be best known for his recent participation in last year's America's Cup with BMW Oracle. Other entrants include three of the world's top 10 match racers and six of the top 20, as rated by the International Sailing Federation. Name and (ranking): Pierre-Antoine Morvan, France (#8); Damien Iehl, France (#10); Philippe Presti, France (#14), Andrew Arbuzov, Russia (#15); Johnie Berntsson, Sweden (#19); Simon Minoprio, New Zealand (#26); Dave Perry, USA (#44); and Scott Dickson, also a New Zealand native but a Long Beach resident who qualified by winning last fall's Ficker Cup. Of those fortunate to be included in the 2008 Congressional Cup, 5 of them have competed here in Manhasset Bay. Past winners include sailing luminaries: Dennis Conner, Bill Ficker, Ted Turner, Rod Davis, Dave Perry, Chris Dickson, Peter Gilmour, Gavin Brady, Peter Holmberg, Ken Read, Ed Baird, Dean Barker and Mathieu Richard. For more information on the Congressional Cup, see http://www.lbyc.org/concup.
Interesting news coming out of New Zealand. Yachting New Zealand announced that Carl Evans and Peter Burling have been nominated to the NZ Olympic Committee to represent New Zealand in the Men's 470 event at the 2008 Olympics in Qingdao. Both these young men are just 17 years old and are still in their first year of competition in the Olympic two-handed boat. This team will be the youngest ever to sail in the Olympics. There may have been a single sailor in a crew at the sailing Olympics, in the days of open entry, but never a complete crew of this age. Their meteoric rise in the racing world (in just one year) will be watched closely by coaches around the world. And for the interested observer, it will be fun to follow their progress at the Olympics.
Our frostbiters had a great day of sailing last Sunday, Feb. 24. They raced 10 races, which may be a record, or at least a tie for the most races completed in one day. The teams must have been exhausted by the time they gathered for some refreshment at the MBYC grill. Five IC dinghies were on the starting line. No Ideal 18s raced. The top three boats, #603 with Matt Kelley/Mary Ensly, #625, Kevin Morgan/Donna Marie Cipollone, and #514, Ted Toombs/Pam Morris traded places throughout the afternoon. Morgan/Cipollone won for the day with 16 points, followed by Matt Kelley/Mary Ensly (18 points), with Toombs/Morris (26 pts) in third place. The crew race was won by Donna Marie Cipollone. For readers who want a breakdown of the top three boats in each of the ten races: Race 1: 1. #603, Matt Kelley/Mary Ensly, 2. #625, Kevin Morgan/Donna Marie Cipollone, and 3. #514, Ted Toombs/Pam Morris. Race 2: 1. #625, 2. #514, and 3. #603. Race 3 and 4: 1. #603, 2. #625, and 3. #514. Race 5: 1. #625, 2. #514, and 3. #603. Race 6: 1. #603, 2. #625, and 3. #514. Race 7: 1. #514, 2. #625 and 3. #603. Race 8 and 9: 1. #625, 2. #603 and 3. #514. Race 10: 1. #603, 2. # 625 and 3. #514.