Sports

Throughout the summer there are fun activities for the family. Some focus on land-activities while others celebrate our waterfront. The Port Washington Manhasset Bay Kayak Run falls in the latter category. Billed as a family event, the Kayak Run is not a race and everyone who participates has a chance to win a prize. The way it works is simple: kayakers pass through "gates" on a course that is located on the bay, and depending on the number of gates a kayaker passes, he or she receives a chance for the grand prize, which is a kayak donated by John Thomson at Atlantic Outfitters. So, rather than basing the Kayak Run on speed or length, even the novice, who manages to kayak through only a few gates, has a chance to win some of the prizes.

This year the organizers are hoping to attract families. What could be more fun than gathering your son or daughter and spending a Saturday morning exploring the harbor around Port Washington? Seeing land from the perspective of a kayak is quite an experience. Besides, kayaking is fun! There is something about the closeness to the water that even the smallest dinghy can't provide. Plus kayaking is great exercise.

The Kayak Run is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 2 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Town Dock. The prize drawing is at 1 p.m. for not only the grand prize, but other prizes as well. Early entry fee is $25, with day of event entry fee $35. To promote kids and young adults (under 21) the entry fee is just $5. This year, organizers are asking local yacht clubs that have kayaks to help promote family participation by loaning their kayaks to their members. For others who need a kayak, there are rentals available.

The Kayak Run is sponsored by the Town of North Hempstead, The Community Chest of Port Washington, Twin Pines Kayak Club, Manhasset Bay Protection Committee and Atlantic Outfitters. Registration is available at the Town Dock, West Marine, Twin Pines Food Co-op and Atlantic Outfitters. For more information, please call Twin Pines Kayak Club (883-9777), Atlantic Outfitters (767-2215), Kayaken Outfitters (516-635-0997) or the Community Chest (767-2121).

All proceeds go to the Community Chest of Port Washington. The Chest is a not-for-profit organization established more than 50 years ago to raise funds for distribution to local charities dedicated to improving people's lives. Funds donated to the Community Chest are distributed to 23 local charitable organizations, which help fund social, health and educational services for people who live or work in Port Washington. These services impact the lives of one out of every four Port residents. So come to the Town Dock on Aug. 2 for a morning of fun - and help the Community Chest at the same time. See you out on the water!

Some of our local sailors participated in the Newport-Bermuda Race this year. For those readers who are unfamiliar with this race, a little background history is in order. The Newport Bermuda Race is a 635-mile ocean race, most of it out of sight of land, usually lasting three to six days. It crosses a stretch of the Atlantic Ocean known for challenging weather, especially in the Gulf Stream, where there are strong currents. Every two years in mid-June, over 180 boats start from the historic seaport of Newport, Rhode Island. The fleet has five divisions to allow seaworthy boats of many sizes and types to be raced fairly and aggressively for an array of trophies awarded in Bermuda at an elegant ceremony at Government House, the residence of the governor of this tropical island.

In keeping with the 100-year traditions of amateur sailors and strong family spirit, 90 percent of the boats in 2006 had amateur crews comprised of friends and family members. The race maintains its international prestige through competitive fairness, an exemplary safety record, and a responsive race organization handled by the volunteer members of the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. Sailors everywhere dream of adding the Newport Bermuda Race to their life list of adventures.

According to John Rousmaniere, the noted historian, in his book A Berth to Bermuda: 100 Years of the World's Classic Ocean Race (Mystic Seaport, 2002), "If the Newport Bermuda Race is any one thing, it's historic. Founded in 1906 as the first ocean race for amateur sailors in normal boats, it has inspired other long-distance races, and has attracted almost 4,500 boats crewed by some 46,000 men and women who have raced nearly 3 million miles to Bermuda. It's a blue-water habit obsession. More than 50 sailors have sailed at least 15 races, four have done 22 or more. The record is held by Jim Mertz - 30 races, two-thirds of the total. Asked after a rough race if he had enjoyed himself, a sailor snapped, "God, no, it was terrible! I'll be damned if I'll do it again until two years from now." John goes on to say, "The very first Bermuda Race was an act of rebellion. In 1906, the Establishment believed that it would be insane for amateur sailors to race offshore in boats under 80 feet. Thomas Fleming Day, the feisty editor of The Rudder magazine, vehemently disagreed, insisting, "The danger of the sea for generations has been preached by the ignorant." Certain that an ocean race would be enjoyable and safe - and also develop better sailors and better boats - Day founded one on his own. The Brooklyn Yacht Club started the race in New York Bay, and down on the island paradise, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club finished it off St. David's Head." Readers who are interested in knowing more about this historic race, see www.bermudarace.com.

Local sailors who raced this year include John Towers, Ripple, J/37, Manhasset Bay YC and Ralph Steitz, Peregrine, J/120, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA). Rich du Moulin, who sailed out of Knickerbocker YC as a youth, won the Philip S. Weld Trophy as captain of Lora Ann, the top double-handed yacht to finish on corrected time. This is du Moulin's fourth consecutive win in the double-handed division and his crew, Chris Reyling's, third victory. Other boats that are known in the area which sailed to Bermuda include: Jeffrey Wilis, Charlie IV, J/44, Storm Trysail Club, Jim Bishop, Gold Digger, J/44, American YC, Andrew Weiss, Christopher Dragon, J/122, Indian Harbor YC, Stephen de Voe, Devocean, Swan 45, New York YC, James Sykes, Bonbardino, Santa Cruz 52, American YC, and Bob & Farley Towse, Blue Yankee, RP66.

Results for Thirsty Thursday, Race 5 on June 26: Division I (Course DN, 7.5 nm, 9 boats): 1. Avalanche, Al Albrecht, 2. Xcite, Yalcin Tarhan, and 3. Free-Fall, Bill McFaul. Division III (Course ID, 4.91 nm, 13 boats): 1. En Passant, Bob Ebenau, 2. Serenity, Jacques Blinbaum, and 3. Irish Blessing, Ed Gillen. Results for Thursday, Race 6, July 3: Division I: (Course 4, 7.19 nm, 6 boats): 1. Avalanche, 2. Free-Fall, and 3. Vision, Marc Epstein. Division III (Course ZDC, 5.83 nm, 11 boats): 1. Serenity, 2. En Passant, and 3. Sundance, Joel Ziev.


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