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On the Bay: July 20, 2011

Last week, Manhasset Bay YC (MBYC) hosted the Blue Jay-Pixel Race Week. Twenty-seven Pixel skippers and nine teams of Blue Jay skippers from around Long Island Sound arrived in Port Washington on Wednesday evening for a full two days of racing on Manhasset Bay. Thursday brought very nice wind for the regatta but Friday not so. The young teams found out what it was like on a windless day in the summer on local waters. It wasn’t just our regatta though. Out east at another yacht club, a junior regatta had to cancel racing on Friday also. That is one of the hazards of racing in the middle of the summer – we hope for wind but Mother Nature doesn’t always deliver. But leave it to the kids – they had a terrific time both when there was wind and on Friday too.

Top boats in the Pixel class (skipper, crew): 1. Katie Devore, Ryan Mattimore, Larchmont YC; 2. Colin Alexander, Andrew Roth, American YC; 3. Taylor Hart, Julia Dunne, Noroton YC; 4. Chris Pace, T. Leight and T. Knowles, Larchmont YC; 5. Parker Biele, Isabella Bean, NORW; and 6. Corey Sabia, Lindsay Walsh, NORW. Top boats in the Blue Jay fleet (skipper, crew): 1. Ella Simpkins, Kayla McKenna, Centerport YC; 2. James Weller, Andrew Murphy, Centerport; 3. Miles Ripka, Alessandra Sager, Sea Cliff YC; and 4. Margaret Dickson, M. Dickson, K. Guadagni, Sea Cliff YC.

The Sportsmanship Award went to Orienta Beach Club’s Maeve McKinney and Erin McClane, who received an overwhelming vote from their fellow sailors. Congratulations to all the competitors, the race officials, families who housed the competitors and the MBYC staff, especially the waterfront crew.

Changing tacks… the following is a story that was found on Scuttlebutt, the daily online sailing newsletter. Written by Roland Schulz, it tells of a vicious storm that whipped up on July 14 in New York Harbor during an evening race at the Manhattan Sailing Club. It is called “Capsize on the Hudson River” and brings up mental pictures of Miracle on the Hudson, where all on board that airplane landing were safe, just like those in the story below. The reason this is included in today’s column is to remind readers, once again, that no matter how well we prepare for the weather, one just never knows what can happen without warning.

Comments by Mr. Schulz: During the race, a brief but vicious thunderstorm came through New York Harbor, with winds of 45-50 knots and driving rain. One of the boats, a J/24 named Great Republic, capsized, almost righted itself, and then went over for good, sinking just northeast of Ellis Island. There were no injuries. The skipper and crew were calm and professional, organizing themselves at the safest positions on the overturned boat. Help from the Manhattan Sailing Club support boats came quickly, and the crew was pulled out of the water. Other sailing boats from the race that were close by came to assist as well. And then, of course, after the storm........a beautiful rainbow.

And from the skipper of High Hopes who was competing in the race: “The squall came on very-fast. One minute we were racing upwind to the last windward mark, and the next minute the committee radioed the fleet to abandon the race and take all sails down. The horizon was dark at that point but the severe wind and rain hadn’t started yet.

“We were a little slow about getting the sails down mainly because we were bummed about the bad luck of having the race canceled while we were leading, but we still had our headsail down in about two minutes after abandonment. At that point the wind had almost doubled (in two minutes) and the rain started to pelt us. We got our main down one minute after that but by then we were in a full white squall.

“Water droplets were so thick in the air above the whitecaps that we could no longer see the Brooklyn shore downwind of us. Things were intense enough that even with no sails the boat was hard to handle. We had to move the crew weight aft in the boat so the engine would get traction in the white-capped waves and gusting wind. After the engine was making good contact with the water we could steer into the weather which was greatly needed to get the boat under control. The boats with the biggest problems must have been later and slower than us taking down their sails.”

With the weather we have been having lately, one need to be prepared for the worst. Even here in Manhasset Bay, the wind can quickly become violent. Remember the microburst on the bay last year?

Now for some scores… The Sonar fleet has just released the Championship Series overall standings as of June 26. Top boats: 1. #375, Housemartin, Greg and Beth Danilek, 2. #451, Ping, Sue Miller/John Browning, 3. #573, Selhun, Bahar Gidwani, 4. #396, Delight, Bob Kirtland, and 5. #817, Midsn. Andrew Groody.

Thirsty Thursday results for Race 8, July 14: Division I (6.27 nm, Course UJ, 7 boats): 1. Ripple, John Towers, 2. Nordlys, Bob Schwartz, 3. Andiamo, Paul Strauch. Division II (5.48 nm, Course UC, 7 boats): 1. En Garde, Charlie Cannam, 2. Irish Blessing, Ed Gillen, and 3. Scarlet, Weintraub , no first name available. Division III (4.40 nm, Course UI, 9 boats): 1. En Passant, Bob Ebenau, 2. Sundance, Joel Ziev, and 3. Her C Gem, Paula Davis. Division III Cruising ( 4.40 nm, Course UI, 5 boats): 1. Serenity, Jacques Blinbaum, 2. Eudaimonia, Dan Cantanzaro, and 3. My Jo’B, Pat McVicar.

Results of the Thirsty Thursday Spring Series: Division I: 1. Ripple, John Towers, 2. Sound Wave, Jonathan Flamm, and 3. Nordlys, Bob Schwartz. Division II: 1. Rosie, Ron Fink, 2. Vision, Marc Epstein, and 3. Irish Blessing, Ed Gillen. Division III: 1. En Passant, Bob Ebenau, 2. Sundance, Joel Ziev, and 3. Naked Dance, Adam Bleifeld. Division III- Cruising: 1. Serenity, Jacques Blinbaum, 2. Eudaimonia, Dan Cantanzaro, and 3. Second Wind, Anthony Viola.