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SoundWaters, the 80' schooner that will visit Port Washington for a weeklong celebration starting on May 9. She arrives to celebrate the Town of North Hempstead's recent environmental achievements and initiatives.

All who wander down to the bay on Saturday, May 10 will be treated to an unusual sight. An 80-foot, three-masted sharpie schooner will arrive in Port Washington and stay for several days. The maritime visitor SoundWaters is part of a celebration honoring the town of North Hempstead as a "SoundHarbors" community. The honor is being bestowed by SoundWaters, a Stamford, Conn.-based environmental educational organization that has been offering "floating classroom" sessions to students in the Port Washington School District since 1993.

SoundHarbors celebrates municipalities united in their commitment to safeguard Long Island Sound. To date, SoundWaters has honored the Town and Village of Mamaroneck, N.Y., and Greenwich and Stamford, Conn. This year, North Hempstead joins this elite group of champions of the Sound. "SoundHarbors communities have spearheaded initiatives to address their impact on the environment," said Leigh Shemitz, executive director of SoundWaters. "Activities on the Sound, both commercial and otherwise, generate more than $5 billion annually for our regional economy, which is why Long Island Sound is often regarded one of the most important and valuable estuaries in the country," added Shemitz. "It is our hope that this annual program will motivate people to help preserve the valuable resource we have in Long Island Sound."

On May 10, town officials, including Supervisor John Kaiman and Councilman Fred Pollack will board the schooner to help launch a week-long SoundHarbors celebration. Patrice Beneward, executive director of the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee, and Eric Pick, executive vice president of the Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington, will also attend. As part of the celebration, the group will enjoy a sail on the Sound in a boat designed in the style of an early 20th century schooner.

SoundWaters is honoring several of North Hempstead's recent environmental achievements and initiatives, including its: Sheets Creek cleanup effort, Mill Pond renovation and improvement, plans for a combination park and walkway from the Town Dock to Manorhaven Park, and the water testing program.

Throughout the week, fourth-grade students from Guggenheim, Manorhaven, John J. Daly, South Salem and Sousa Elementary Schools will also have the chance to sail on the schooner. The visit marks the 15th year children in the Port Washington School District have enjoyed SoundWaters' environmental education courses. Aboard the schooner, students help raise the sails, haul in a trawl net, and examine firsthand the rich diversity of life that exists beneath the waves.

Founded in 1989, SoundWaters is the leading environmental educational organization on Long Island Sound, with a mission to educate children and adults about the wonders and beauty of Long Island Sound and its watershed. Through education, SoundWaters provides people with an understanding and awareness of the changes they can make in their lives and communities to restore, protect, and preserve Long Island Sound and the environment. Programs take place at the Coastal l Education Center in Cove Park in Stamford, Connecticut on SoundWaters, and at schools, community centers and field sites throughout the region.

The United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York, continues to set the bar higher and higher for safety at sea training. In early April they ran their second hands on seminar where 140 sailors took the helm during crew overboard exercises with a real person in the water, shot off flares and fire extinguishers, inflated life rafts and climbed in from the water in full foul weather gear with life jackets on and more. UK-Halsey was one of the sponsors that helped make this event happen.

To help educate sailors who did not make it to the seminar, UK-Halsey Sailmakers video taped some of the sessions and will continue to post new clips in their Safety at Sea online library. The latest video covers fighting shipboard fires. Brook West, a life long sailor, volunteer firefighter and staff member of Landfall (formerly Landfall Navigation) was the main presenter during this session. Brook's main advice is stay calm, get your crew on deck ready to abandon ship if the fire gets out of control, keep the fire from getting behind you and always have a way out of the boat. If possible have some help get you combustibles like sails, cushions, and crew gear away from the fire. When you use a fire extinguisher remember PASS: Pull the safety pin, Aim at the base of the flames, Squeeze the trigger handle and Sweep the spray across the base of the flame. He also recommends using up the whole extinguisher to make sure the fire is out.

UK-Halsey is in the midst of posting a library of safety at sea videos; new segments are posted each month. Topics to be included, beyond the Quick stop episodes already posted, are how to launch and right a life raft, how to set and use storm sails, first aid including how to use a skin stapler to close wounds, and some basic damage control techniques. For more information, go to www.ukhalsey/learningcenter.

The American YC Spring Series had all kinds of weather to greet the 100 boats in 12 divisions. Last Saturday it was a wild and woolly kind of day, with a bit of damage to several boats: One J/44 was dismasted, two boats were in a collision at the windward mark, one NY 42 lost a forestay and only six NY 42s finished their race. In other classes, there were one broken boom, multiple torn mains, and a bunch of shredded spinnakers. Then, on Sunday, there was very little wind. Mother Nature must have tired herself out on Saturday. Results of some of the boats readers may recognize: Three from Manhasset Bay area: Louis Nees, PWYC, 4, IRC Div 6, Georgetown III, George Marks, NSYC, 3, J/122 Div 5; and Andiamo, Paul Struach, MBYC, 3, J/105 Div 4. For complete results, go to www.americanyc.org.

Save the date: Thursday, May 15 at Manhasset Bay YC, Gary Jobson will present "Speed and Passion" as part of the Mount Gay Rum Speakers Series. The talk is at 7:30 p.m., with a cocktail party starting at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call the YRA office at 767-9240 or email at yraoffice@earthlink.net. The cost for tickets is $25 for YRA members by May 7, $35 for non-YRA members. There is a $10 charge for all tickets on or after May 8, including tickets at the door.


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