Sports

Alex Whipple is certainly making his mark on the world. News out of US SAILING has identified 10 youth sailors who have qualified for US SAILING's 2009 Youth World Team - and Alex made the team! He and nine others will represent the United States at the 39th Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Buzios, Brazil from July 9-18, 2009. Eight of the athletes were selected based on first-place finishes in their respective classes at the 2009 US SAILING International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Youth World Qualifier and U.S. Youth Multihull Championship Regatta in Long Beach, California, which was held Jan. 17-19. The members of US SAILING's 2009 Youth World Team are: Laser Radial (boy): Chris Barnard (Newport Beach, CA), Laser Radial (girl): Marissa Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, FL), Intl. 420 (boy): Ian Liberty (Colt's Neck, NJ)/Alex Whipple (Plandome, NY), Club 420 (girl): Morgan Kiss (Holland, MI)/Laura McKenna (Palo Alto, CA), Hobie 16 with spinnaker (open): Korbin Kirk (Long Beach, CA)/Daniel Segerblom, (Costa Mesa, CA). Athletes in the boys' and girls' windsurfing classes were chosen by resume and did not compete at the 2009 Youth World Qualifier. Also qualifying for the 2009 Youth World Team are: RS:X (boy): Chris Gardiner (St. Petersburg, FL) and RS:X (girl): Solvig Sayre (Vineyard Haven, MA). Hearty congratulations to Alex Whipple and to his parents, Lynn and Chip Whipple. Complete team report: http://linkbee.com/AI6K. Daily reports, results, and photos from the US SAILING ISAF Youth World Qualifier and U.S. Youth Multihull Championship Regatta: http://www.abyc.org/event.cfm?id=324

Technology is really a wonderful thing - especially when it is used in sailing events. For those of us who regularly read David Pogue's column in The New York Times, or peruse techie magazines, you may like to hear about what is happening over at the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series. One of the interesting aspects of this series will be the step up in the use of Virtual Eye, as organizers are looking to cut the costs of producing a live outside sports broadcast. The idea is to generate the bulk of the coverage from animation, overlay a commentary, and use a single land based camera with a very powerful lens. That means for a two and a half week regatta, covered live for its duration, there will not be a single on the water camera. For the rest of the sailing world, the Auckland experiment should be watched closely as it will allow a far greater coverage of the sport via the internet. Potentially it also has the ability to resolve a few race management issues as well. Regarding the development of sailing graphics and animation over the past 18 years, see this story on Sail-World.com: http://linkbee.com/CI7R. In these times of economic difficulty, it makes sense to try to cut costs on regattas and still give the racers the information they seek.

Speaking of economic times, the online sailing newsletter, Scuttlebutt, has done an online survey, with the purpose of finding out how these economic times will affect their sailing/racing schedules this summer as compared to 2008. Will sailors descend to their basements to wait until the economic storm passes? Not on your life! The sailing/racing venue may change (be closer to home), new sails may become a postponed dream, old boats refurbished... but sailors will be out on the water in 2009. The results indicate that over a fourth of the respondents would be participating in fewer events this year than last, and that overall event participation would tend to focus on more local events than in traveling to other regions to compete. Findings found that 28 percent expected to participate in more events in 2009 than in 2008, 24 percent less and 48 percent about the same. Asked about the amount of travel to events in 2009: 22 percent responded that they would be traveling more, 35 percent less, and 43 percent about the same. What is interesting about this survey are some of the responses, a few of which are listed below:

"Sailing is my passion and therapy. Once that engine goes off and I hear the shusssh of water on the hull, everything else falls away except the race and the team. This escape/therapy is more important now as we small business owners have to become more competitive and face more stresses and threats to our livelihoods. I'd rather spend my now-less disposable income on the water than on anything else. It keeps me sane, energizes me for work, and the competitive tactics on the boat help me work out competitive issues in business."

"I can see large events that take a lot of time and high expenses suffering from the economy, but local races that only have a nominal fee to enter should still see good participation."

"Now I lost my job I have much more time to go sailing."

"Life cannot wait for the economy to get better!"

"I've got my boat --- I'm not going to let it go to waste!! The most important luxury we can't strip from ourselves during this stressful economic phase is time for ourselves."

"I cut back on other activities rather than my sailing. Like keeping up with the Joneses? Rather than buy a new suit of sails I learned how to make my own. I also found an old one-design I raced back in the 50's, and did very well then, was up for sale dirt cheap. I bought it even if it was in terrible shape. I applied elbow grease, so I did not have to finance expensive exercise establishments, and now my resurrected one design is up with the fleet leaders again. I stay out of the basement but feel I'm contributing to solving the financial crisis. This world has to slow down but not in everything by everybody."

"Based on my experience in marketing for travel and marine businesses in various economic cycles, there will definitely be a continued short term cutback in discretionary long distance travel due to economic necessity. But at the end of the day, people really want to be happy and that happiness is directly tied to things like family and enjoying their favorite pastime. So if experience is any predictor, then those who love to get out on the water will continue to do that rather than retreat to the basement and let the current economic morass overcome their psyche. Their time on the water will definitely be spent closer to home. But they'll get out there nonetheless and celebrate the joy of sailing that will put the smiles back on their faces. There has never been a better time to do so, and in many ways, there has never been a better time for the sailing industry to promote itself. It just needs some positive leadership."

Poll results and comments: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/polls/09/0123/

Looks like we will be having a busy sailing season this summer, and maybe even an increase right here on Manhasset Bay. A nice thought to tide us over until we can get back into the shipyard and start "messing around with boats." See you out on the water!


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