When someone tells you they will give you something for free, being New Yorkers, you truly don't believe him, or you doubt his intentions! But this time it really is true. The offer comes from a Long Island Sound sailor from Larchmont YC. He has gone out on a limb and sponsored a completely free three week sailing trip to the Caribbean with the teen sailing camp "Sail Caribbean." He is running a "scholarship competition" called the "Write a Greeting Card scholarship" and he needs entrants. Your columnist is familiar with Sail Caribbean as her daughter spent a summer with them and it was a terrific experience. Wondering why this man is sponsoring this? He met his wife a little more than 20 years ago teaching sailing - you guessed it - on Sail Caribbean! So spread the word, maybe someone from Manhasset Bay will win - and wouldn't that be the cat's meow! Sail Caribbean is truly a great life experience for a young teenager! For more information, and online entry can be found here

Calling all Herman Melville fans! Next Tuesday, March 31, at 7:30, the Nautical Council of the Port Washington Public Library will sponsor Melville scholar, Mary K. Bercaw Edwards who will speak on "Herman Melville's Whaling Years." Dr. Edwards is an associate professor of English, University of Connecticut, a Senior Lecturer in Literature of the Seas, Williams College-Mystic Seaport Program in Maritime Studies, and a U.S. Coast Guard Master, an author and editor who has circumnavigated the world. This is the second in the Geller Nautical Lecture Series. Norman Geller was an avid power and sail boater who loved the waters off Long Island. He was an active member of the Nautical Advisory Council, the Port Washington Yacht Club and the U.S. Power Squadron. He died in 2004. The Geller Nautical Lecture Series is funded by private donations made in Norman Geller's name. The lecture is free and open to the public.

It seems that the challenge to sail around the world is attracting younger and younger contestants. Jessica Watson's (no relation to columnist) blog profile describes her ambition is to become the youngest person to sail solo, nonstop and unassisted around the world. On Nov. 7, this 16-year-old intends to leave Brisbane, Australia in an S&S 34 to begin this quest. "I first dreamt of sailing around the world after reading about others who have done it and hearing the stories of other adventures from sailors. That was when I was 11 years old and over the last few years have really started making it happen." She continued, "I couldn't think of anywhere I'd rather be, I love the challenge of making my own decisions and overcoming all the problems thrown at you, I love sailing and everything gets real simple." While Jessica's ultimate goal is to sail unassisted around the world, she admits that if needed, she will take assistance as safety is first. She expects to find the first few days at sea the hardest, getting over seasickness and settling in, not to mention keeping up with her school work, which is through a correspondence school. Jessica chose the S&S 34 because it has been proven in past successful circumnavigations with Jesse Martin and David Dicks and was the right size and within budget. Her biggest fear is something in the boat breaking and not being able to fix it. But she feels confident that with tons of preparation, she will be 100% ready at the start. Jessica doesn't have much solo sailing experience because of age and legal restrictions, but she has completed a mock solo passage across the Tasman in January and has been collection offshore miles for almost two years.

Jessica's route will take her across the Tasman, under New Zealand across to Cape Horn up to the doldrums and back home via The Cape of Good Hope and the Indian Ocean. When asked why she wants to do this, Jessica replied, "I'd like to show other young people and everyone that anything really is possible; it doesn't have to be sailing round the world... One wishes her only good luck on her adventure, with the hope that she knows what she is doing as she rounds Cape Horn! For more information, go to Jessica's blog:

Leave it to Annapolis to come up with another great idea to promote sailing. This time they have hit on something very cool! And it all began with a yellow Labrador Retriever named Bevin. The story goes like this: Joe Youcha, heavily involved in the Alexandria Seaport foundation, wanted to create a kit sailboat that would be fun for families to build at large festival-like events. With Carl Cramer, publisher of Wooden Boat magazine, he brainstormed about creating a community boatbuilding event, where the participants would go home with a sturdy, utilitarian boat that could be painted and finished at home. Youcha developed a kit boat which he called the Bevin's Skiff, and created a family event that would attract families or groups from all walks of life to work together over a period of two or three days to build skiffs or dinghies. The big finish would be the launching and maiden voyage during which the families reaped the rewards of their cooperative teamwork. They theorized it would be a means to encourage families to get out and enjoy the water together.

That was in 1998, and this year will mark the seventh running of the event. The kit boat is now the International Optimist Racing Dinghy, with all the building materials, sails, floating bags and all sailing hardware supplied for the participants. Families that cannot afford the $1,650 kit fee can apply for a grant from the City of Annapolis. In 2008, four grants were awarded to economically-challenged families. During the four days of the Annapolis Family BoatBuilding event, the public is invited to stop by, view the numerous boat builds-in-progress and cheer on the teams of family members. For information, visit the website: or call organizer Dr. Joe Cater at 410-626-1413.

The frostbiters enjoyed a great day of sailing, with winds ranging from 10-12 knots and picking up to about 18 knots by end of day. Both the IC dinghies and the Ideal 18 fleets were on the starting line. Top boats in the IC dingy fleet: 1. #625, Kevin Morgan/Kelly (no last name available), 2. #603, Matt Kelley/ Amelia Amon, and 3. #514, Ted Toombs/Jenny McCarthy. Winners in the Ideal 18 fleet: 1. #177, Bob Kirtland/Alan Thompson, 2. #175, Jamie Losee/Laura Browning, and 3. #12, Bob Schwartz/Tom Powers.

The online sailing newsletter has been running information about good sunscreens. So far some big names in the sailing world have shared their tips, including Russell Coutts, Anna Tunnicliffe, Greg Fisher, Paige Railey, Zach Railey, Gram Schweikert, Betsy Altman, Bill Hardesty, Morgan Larson, Morgan Reeser. Bill Munster, Doogie Couvreux, Terry Hutchinson, Ken Read, Chris Larson, and Kevin Burnham. If you would like to read what they suggest about keeping healthy while out in the sun, go to Logo
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