In an email from Amanda Clark and Sara Mergenthaler, who have just returned from the Olympic Games in China, reads: "We've just returned home to the USA from the Olympic Games. The last four weeks in China was the experience of a lifetime. We finished the Olympic regatta in 12th overall. This was not the position we had hoped for heading into the racing, but we can safely say we gave it all we had and left everything on the waters of Qingdao. The 470 racing took place in the earlier part of the sailing competition, which turned out to be the light wind week. We had flashes of brilliance with five finishes in the top 10 during the 10-race regatta, but we had difficulty putting consistent results on the board."
"The highlight of our racing was undoubtedly day #4 (races 7 and 8). We launched at 11 a.m. for a 1 p.m. start (it was a 45 minute tow to our race area). The day looked promising with surprisingly clear skies and even a little cumulus developing on shore. Perhaps a meaningful thermal would bless they day's racing? But alas, when we finally arrived at the start, there wasn't a breath of wind. We bobbed around until 4 p.m. when the evening land breeze began to fill. The race committee was quick to start us, hoping to keep the fleet on schedule. Because all of China is on one time zone and Qingdao is on the eastern frontier, dusk comes early, even during summer! We had a wonderful 8-12 knots for both races and even got to pump downwind. We rolled two consistent scores: 7, 6, which was good enough to boost us into the top 10. By the time we reached the ramp in the Olympic Harbor, it was 7:30 and pitch black. Thankfully, U.S. Team Leader Dean Brenner was there to meet us, trolley and American flag in hand. We were exhausted but thrilled to turn in a consistent day."
"We spent Aug. 21-24 in Beijing at the Olympic Village. It was incredible to live and meet with U.S. athletes from other teams. We also got the chance to attend a few events including the gold medal games for volleyball, men's basketball, women's basketball and handball. On August 24 we capped our Olympic experience by marching in the Closing Ceremony, and what a show it was! China has set the bar extremely high for all future Olympic host cities."
"It has been a pleasure and a privilege to represent the United States at the 2008 Olympic Games. The Olympic ideal has had a profound effect on our lives. Competing in the games has made us better sailors, better sportswomen and better people. The Olympic movement is humbling and awe-inspiring. We hope to use our momentum to give back to sailing as it has given so much to us. We would like to thank each and every one of you for your support, enthusiasm, good wishes, emails, phone calls and ongoing interest in our sailing. We truly believe we would not have made it to the Olympics without such an incredible support system behind us. Thank you, Thank you!"
The long waited movie, Morning Light, is just about over. Fifteen young sailors...six months of intense training...one chance at the brass ring. This exciting true-life documentary tells the inspiring story of a group of intrepid and determined young men and women, on the cusp of adulthood, as they embark on life's first great adventure.
Racing a high-performance 52-foot sloop in the TRANSPAC, the most revered of open-ocean sailing competitions, the crew of Morning Light matches wits and skills in a dramatic 2,300 mile showdown against top professionals. From their earliest training sessions in Hawaii conducted by world-class teachers through their test of endurance on the high seas, they form an unbreakable bond in the process of becoming a singular team that is greater than the sum of its parts. Directed and edited by two of the key filmmakers responsible for the acclaimed 2004 surfing documentary, Riding Giants, and the recent rock documentary Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who, Morning Light will appeal to the sense of adventure in everyone. There will be several premieres in October, so stay tuned...
On a related note: The Nautical Center of the Port Washington Public Library, whose sole purpose is to bring nautical programs to the community, is planning a wide variety of programs for the fall, winter and spring. First up are sailors from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point on Tuesday, Oct. 7. One of the sailors that will be speaking at the library was crew on the above-mentioned Morning Light. This is a must-see presentation that readers won't want to miss as our sailors bring their adventures on the high seas right to you, via our very own library.
On Oct. 23, Amanda Clark will be at the library to tell us all about her Olympic sailing experience in China. Amanda has been to our area before and is a terrific speaker. This is another evening that you may want to put on your calendar as she will no doubt present a thrilling account of the challenges, excitement, and pride in representing the United States in the sailing arena. These are just two of the programs that the Nautical Center has planned. For more information, visit www.pwpl.org or call the library at 883-4400.
"Leave Only Footprints, Take Only Memories." This headline is often heard when we tour a rare or special place, with the idea of preserving it so others can enjoy it in the future. However, the concept seems to go out the window when we get back to our normal lives, with cigarette smokers flicking butts out the car window, food wrappers flying about public parks, and sailors - yes sailors - tossing their aluminum cans in the ocean to make "hermit crab homes." Of course, this is all miniscule when compared to industrial waste, but it is interesting to notice the habits among us.
While the debate regarding global warming rages on, what has been gained (so far) is an increasing awareness of our habits. We have gotten pretty comfy relying on the earth to take care of us, without much reciprocating going on. Nothing lasts forever, and efforts are increasing to make us aware of our habits and their effect on the environment. One group that has recently contacted Scuttlebutt is Sailors for the Sea.
In 2004, David Rockefeller Jr. founded Sailors for the Sea, a Boston, Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization, to collaborate with many organizations and individuals - marinas, yacht clubs, harbor masters, and more - and to increase individuals' effectiveness in creating change. A few of the projects and programs designed by Sailors for the Sea include: Clean Regattas program - certifies yacht clubs and regatta organizers as providing clean events that minimize impact upon our oceans; Blue Marinas - focuses on dockside and shore side facilities by offering yacht clubs and marinas opportunities to protect and thereby restore their local waters using Best Management Practices; The Rainy Day Kits program - offers youth sailing instructors the opportunity to download fun, engaging, and easy to use environmental lessons
for young sailors; The Ocean Watch program - provides ocean conservation essays to the sailing community and is a major resource through which boaters can find opportunities to take positive environmental action. A full report on this group is on the Scuttlebutt Forum, with their website address available to follow-up for further information and links: http://forum.sailingscuttlebutt.com/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?post=6336.