Herb Schmidt receiving an award at the Manhasset Bay YC Commissioning in May, 2007. Herb is the founder of Sonar Fleet #11. To recognize his efforts over the 27 years he has been Fleet Captain, the inaugural Sonar Long Island Sound Series Award will be named after him.

It's not too late! Pat Healy, that inveterate speaker on sailing-related topics will be right here in Port Washington tonight. His topic tonight will be "The Ten Most Common Mistakes Seen on the Race Course," and for anyone who has ever raced, this topic is for you! Any sailor who has claimed never to have "been there, done that," well, just watch his (or her) nose grow longer by the minute. Pat will be at the Manhasset Bay YC and will begin at 7:30 p.m. This seminar is sponsored by the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound (YRA of LIS) and is open to the public. Call the YRA of LIS at 767-9240 for reservations or just come and pay at the door. Cost for the seminar (not dinner) is a mere $20 for YRA members and $25 for non-members. Visa and MasterCard accepted. For those wishing to dine with their sailing buddies, hash over last year's season while enjoying some fine dining, dinner reservations are available starting at 6 p.m. Reservations needed; call the club at 767-2150.

While the boatyards are not full of activity yet, promise is in the air. Just walking by the boats with their clanking halyards gets ones blood flowing. Soon they will be a bevy of activity as sailors leave behind the long winter months and head to their boat to sand, varnish, and do all the preparations for the upcoming season. Just to get readers more in the mood (as if we need to, after a long winter!), news has become available about a championship regatta that is very special to our area. The Sonar Fleet #11 is sponsoring, along with the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and Manhasset Bay YC, the Sonar Atlantic Coast Championship on May 30 and June 1. This regatta is part of the Sonar Long Island Sound Series, which will include Sonar fleets from Sachems Head, CT, Noroton, CT and Oyster Bay, NY, who will compete in three regattas for a Sonar L.I. Sound Series Award. In addition to the inaugural event at Manhasset Bay, the Long Island Sound Championship at Sachems Head will be in September, followed by the Sonar North American Championship at Seawanhaka Corinthian YC in October. For the inaugural year, the award will be named for Herbert J. Schmidt, Jr. Herb was the founder of the Sonar Fleet here in the bay and has been the fleet captain for 27 years. He has worked tirelessly in this labor of love to build and maintain a very successful fleet which races every Saturday and Sunday from May to October. Several years ago, WindCheck magazine interviewed Herb for their monthly SoundPeople column, which said this about Herb, "Every once in awhile a man comes along who, in his own quiet way, makes a big difference to those of us who escape the bustle of everyday life by going sailing. We are not talking about a difference in a national or world arena, but at the community level, where it is so important to spread the word of the joys of sailing. Herb Schmidt does just that; he gathers young and old, those new to sailing or the totally uninitiated and gets them out on the water. He single-handedly developed Sonar Fleet #11 in Manhasset Bay...." To which Herb, in his typical modest way, when asked what the highlights of his life have been, mentioned his wife of 48 years, his professional accomplishments, and "finding social activities where I can enjoy, participate and contribute". It is not only Herb who enjoys and participates; he makes it so much fun that the Sonar fleet which started back in 1981 with a few boats, now boasts a fleet of 20 or more. As for fun, just ask any Sonar sailor about their parties and awards dinners.

This column will provide more information in the intervening time before the start of the Sonar Atlantic Coast Championship, but for readers who would like more information now, please contact Bill Simon at

Another sign of spring and the upcoming sailing season was an email sent to all the CBCA (Cow Bay Cruising Association), aka, Thirsty Thursday, from Yalcin Tarhan. The annual spring meeting will be Thursday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m in the upper lounge of the Port Washington YC. Complimentary appetizers will be served and there will be a cash bar to be charged through your yacht club. Plan on coming to this meeting to help vote of topics of interest to will impact your racing during the season.

US SAILING, the national governing body for the sport, has created a new financial aid program - named Sailorships - aimed at providing financial assistance to junior sailors between the ages of 13 and 19 who are interested in competing in US SAILING Championships and/or clinics. The goal of the program is to assist young sailors with the development of their sailing careers regardless of their financial resources. The program, made possible by a generous donation from two US SAILING members, offers travel funds to youth sailors traveling to US SAILING Championships and/or clinics. Depending on the amounts granted, US SAILING could help up to 100 youth sailors before the program's conclusion at the end of 2009.

The amounts awarded through the Sailorships program will vary from $100-$500 per person per year based on need. Awards may be requested prior to or after a 2008 or 2009 event, but only one award per year may be granted per sailor. Interested sailors and parents can complete on online application and are asked to submit a letter of recommendation from an officer of their sailing organization. Sailing organizations are encouraged to nominate deserving junior sailors. All parties must be US SAILING members to be eligible.

An additional service of the Sailorship program will be travel grants to the U.S. sailors competing at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship scheduled for July in Denmark. A total of $10,000 will be awarded to help with travel expenses. For more information about the US SAILING Sailorship program, please visit

For those unfamiliar with US SAILING, it was founded in 1897 and is headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. The organization provides leadership for the sport of sailing in the U.S. offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Teams. For more information, go to Logo
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