Over the years, the weather at Manhasset Bay Yacht Club has ranged from no wind, to relatively high wind. But because August on the bay is known for little wind, this year the club decided to hold their Annual Race Week in July to get better wind. Although it is called a "race week", racing is actually Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In addition to regular racing, the club sponsored the Blue Jay/Pixel Race Week on Thursday and Friday, a women's race in Ideal 18's, the LIAF Regatta to Remember (Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation), plus Friday, Saturday and Sunday racing. As they say, sometimes you have to be careful for what you wish for. On Saturday, the winds in the afternoon were clocked on the dock as gusting to over 30 mph. Watching the skippers and crew arrive back on land, one could tell that these were some very tired (but happy) sailors. They weren't so tired, though, to enjoy the evening festivities shore-side. But what self-respecting sailor would give up a party?
Race Officers Past Commodores Bob Prokop and John Barry, were kept busy with all the activities on the water. Barry asked (somewhat tongue in cheek), "who in their right mind would have planned two junior regattas, plus a ladies regatta, plus annual race week all on one weekend?" But one could tell he was in his element as he handed out prize after prize to a packed audience. Claude Chazotte, event chair, was seen more in the office than in the light of day, as he scored each division and had results in lightning time.
There are times that one wishes we could just send an email to Mother Nature. She can be so capricious with her wind patterns. Friday brought little or no wind for our juniors and race committee had to cancel for the day. Then the high winds arrived on Saturday, which was good for most racers, but some were overpowered and came in early. Sunday brought lightning and thunderstorms and Mr. Barry cancelled racing for the day after checking incoming weather patterns. There even was a rumor that our neighbor to the east, Roslyn, was having a hailstorm. So if any reader thinks they have good connections, please let her know we could use some steady winds, say, 10 -15 knots on each weekend, and also on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
The results of Manhasset Bay Race Week: Sonars (12 boats): 1. #375, Housemartin, Beth and Greg Danilek, 2. #396, Delight, Bob Kirtland, 3. #421, Weekend Warrior, Bill Simon/Dan Simon, Einar Haukeland. Top boats in the MBO fleet (7 boats): 1. #9, Miss Be Haven, Ralph Heinzerling/Pedro Lorson, 2. #5, Escapade, Dick Moore/Ned Baker, and 3. #26, Malachite, Lew Lane. Ideal 18(8 boats): 1. #172, Paul Strauch, 2. #171, Rita Syracuse, and 3. # 47, Joseph Feinsilver (KYC). Results for the KODs: 1. #15, Dybbuk, Roy Israel and 2. # 15, Phoenix, Danielle Powers. Winner of the WRC (Women's Racing Clinic): Rita Syracuse. Bob Schwartz, Nordlys, KYC, won the PHRF division.
This column will report on the junior regattas at MBYC and PWYC next week, along with photos.
Race Week perpetual Trophies were awarded to the following: Black Jack Trophy (keel type, member club YRALIS, best percentage with 5 or more yachts in 60% of races) and the Edward P. Alker Trophy (an MBYC boat, with LWL greater than 15'6", with highest percentage with 5 or more yachts in 60 percent of the races): MBO #9, Ralph Heinzerling and Pedro Lorson, with 97.96 percent, winning 6 of 7 races and coming in second in one race. The Arthur E. Barnard Crew Trophy (crew of the Alker Winner): Ruth Haukeland. Lure Trophy (Keel boat, in the most competitive class, with smallest percentage margin over the next three boats with 10 boats in at least 3 races): Sonar skipper Greg Danilek, Housemartin. The Louise T. Haney Memorial Trophy (Ideal 18 winner): Paul Strauch who won the fleet with 96.88 percent performance. The George H. Wicke Trophy (female skipper, member club YRALIS, best percentage with 5 yachts in 60 percent of the races) and the David Craig Trophy (Women's Day winner during Race Week): Rita Syracuse.
While most readers know that this column likes to report on achievements of all sailors and racers, there is a time when one person, this time a female skipper, needs a little extra space in the column. This skipper is Rita Syracuse. This woman came late to sailing, and even later to racing, but like Mary Savage, the venerable judge from across the sound, took to sailing like a "duck to water." As rumor has it, it wasn't so very long ago that Rita wouldn't even get in a launch. It didn't take her long to get over that fear, and move onto sailing with the ladies. That did it! She was hooked. So at the tender young age - which won't be divulged here - Rita took sailing lessons and then more sailing lessons and was out on the water whenever she could get away from work. And it has paid off. At the awards ceremony, people were commenting that she may need to add an additional room to her home soon to house the silver she has brought home - and will continue to do in the future. So congratulations to Rita, and to all the racers. It was good sailing, but even better, it was one great time.
In an email received last week from Olympic sailors Amanda Clark and Sarah Mergenthaler, TeamGoSail, they report the following: "We've just finished our final day of training at Yin Hai Yacht Club in Qingdao, China. This is the end of our last big training session before the Olympic Games! Our boat is loaded into a container, which will be shipped into the Olympic venue on July 22. The past two and a half weeks of training have been jam-packed but very successful. Most of the training days delivered the exact conditions we wanted for speed testing, equipment evaluation as well as mock races and starts. We've been working hard to get our speed and trim closer to perfect in light wind, lots of chop and current. Our speed downwind continues to be the strongest part of our race. As of today, we have finished selecting our Olympic Games mast, boom, spinnaker, rudder and centerboard. The boat work is finally complete and tweaked just the way we want for light wind.
One thing we have noticed during the past three days is more and more of the green algae popping up. We have perfected the "less-than-three-second-goo-check" to clear our blades of the nuisance as quickly as possible during a race. If the algae sticks around, it will be crucial during racing to make sure it hasn't clung to any part of the hull and blades.
We fly back to the USA tomorrow, one day earlier than we planned, for a thrilling event. We've been invited to the White House Rose Garden Lunch with President and Mrs. Bush. We are honored to be one of only a handful of Olympic athletes to receive this opportunity and we are ecstatic. The final countdown to the Opening Ceremonies is on! "
For more information from Amanda and Sarah, go to www.TeamGoSail.org