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It's not too late to get over to Manhasset Bay YC for tonight's seminar by Dave Perry on the New Racing Rules. The US SAILING Racing Rules for 2009-2012 are out and have substantial changes. One major change is the new three-length zone around marks and there are no more zones around obstructions. When racing in Manhasset Bay, the new rules about obstructions is especially important. So every racer and Race Committee member will want to get over to MBYC to hear this seminar. Your columnist heard Dave over at Larchmont YC a few weeks ago and he was just terrific. The audience of over 120 sailors kept him late into the evening, asking question after question, posing those "what ifs" that all sailors do after a day of racing.

This seminar is sponsored by the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound and is one of the services they provide to the sailing community. The goal of the evening is to have all participants come away with a better understanding of the rules and how they apply in various situations. With his typical humor and crystal clear delivery, Dave will ensure that sailors and race officials understand the rules changes and how they will change the game, always with a look to how to maximize winning tactics with increased rules knowledge. After the seminar, the latest edition of his best-selling book on the rules, Understanding the Racing Rules, Winning in One Designs, and Dave Perry's 100 Best Rules Quizzes will be available for purchase and signing. All three books have been purchased at other yacht clubs and the reviews of them have been consistently good. Participants may want to consider purchasing one or two for their sailing library.

As many already know, but repeated here for those who may have missed the short bio on Dave: he grew up on Long Island Sound sailing Blue Jays and Lightnings at Pequot YC. He is a Senior Certified Judge and has been a member of US SAILING Appeals Committee since 1986 and is currently the chairman. Dave was the Rules Advisor and Afterguard Coach for Victory Challenge 2007, Sweden's America's Cup team, and the Rules Advisor for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team in China.

Dinner is available tonight at MBYC starting at 6 p.m. Reservations are a must; just call the club (767-2150) to let them know you are coming. For those who just want the seminar or who can't arrive early enough to enjoy dinner, a cash bar is open from 6 to 7:30 p.m, and again after the presentation. The cost of the seminar is $20 for YRA members and $25 for non-members. Payment can be made at the door.

Spring must truly be on the way. There are lots of seminars around town that will help all of us become the racers we dream to become. Over at North Shore Yacht Club, Patrick Maloit, from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, will present a seminar on Thursday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. He will speak about "Weather Resources, Land Mass Impact on Weather Systems, and Marine Hazard Avoidance." His remarks will focus on our local, Long Island Sound area.

Patrick Maloit is at the Marine Program at the National Weather Service Office New York, NY and has been on staff as a Senior Forecaster since January 2006. Before that, he was both a Meteorologist Intern and General Forecaster at the National Weather Service Office Wakefield, VA starting there in July 1999. He has both a master's and bachelor's degree in meteorology from The Pennsylvania State University. In addition, he is also a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy Reserve, and has served in various command leadership positions. This includes two tours as a commanding officer, and serving as the executive officer of the Navy Meteorological and Oceanographic Reserve Activity in Norfolk, VA.

While on active duty as a division officer on a guided missile destroyer, he had the pleasure of crossing the Atlantic with the March 1993 Superstorm, experiencing 100-plus foot seas, and winds of at least 80 knots. Because of this and other experiences, both under way and as a forecaster, he has a keen appreciation for the power of the sea, and the challenges of forecasting the weather upon it. Call the club at 883-9823 to let them know you are coming.

Junior sailors and their parents may be interested in the Sailing World magazine's new system of college ranking. For as long as the magazine has been doing college rankings-they go back to at least 1979, when Ken Legler did them on his own-they have been using a select panel of top coaches to do the honors. There were a number of reasons for using this system, including the general lack of sailing programs with college coaches in the late 1970s and the prohibitive logistics involved with using a larger panel or opening it up to every college coach.

Times have changed, however, and Sailing World is proud to unveil a new system for our bi-weekly college sailing rankings, one that gives one vote to every team in the country with a coach. Using an Internet polling site, every accredited coach can submit his or her list of the top 20 coed and 15 women's team in the country. For more information: http://www.sailingworld.com/0904rankings

Last month, this column wrote a piece about the Volvo Ocean Race. Well, news has become available about a young man, 13, who loves to write. The story: Taylor Michie has enjoyed writing ever since he first learned how to shape letters. So, after the Volvo Ocean Race came to Baltimore in 2006, the Annapolis youth decided to write a story as his way of being part of the event. What began as a short story project in fifth grade has become a 108-page book. The eighth-grader at St. Mary's Elementary School in Annapolis has just released his self-published book, Racing Winds. "I've just always liked to write," Taylor said. "From when I could first write, I enjoyed it." Racing Winds, published in early January, tells the fictional story of Dave Rhodes and his crew, who race a Puma-sponsored boat around the world in the Volvo Ocean Race - a nine-month sailing competition that circles the globe. Along the way they discover that their strongest competitor is under investigation by the FBI for trying to sabotage the race, and the crew must find a way to both save the race and win it themselves. For more information on this book, go to http://www.hometownannapolis.com/cgi-bin/read/2009/02_24-35/CAN. This site tells the incredible story of this young entrepreneur and could serve as a model for many of our young sailors. While the book does not have an ISBN number yet so it is not sold in stores, more information is available at the young author's website, www.racingwinds.com. What a story! Junior sailing programs on Long Island Sound would do well to get a copy of this book and tell his story to their junior sailors this summer.


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