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On the Bay: August 24, 2011

The Port Washington Junior Yacht Club held its sixth annual Twilight Keel Boat Regatta recently and Chuck McCarthy had this to say about the event:

“Can 1, Execution Rocks, Long Island Sound – Some of the participants of the Port Wasington Junior YC Twilight Keel Boat Regatta were quite surprised to have sighted a pod of bottle-nosed dolphins just before the start off of Rye. The 7.7 mile race commenced at approximately 18:20 with four boats and 34 junior sailors between the ages of 14 and 17. Conditions were a three to six knot dying northwesterly breeze, calm seas and visibility approximately 25 miles. As the red amber hues appeared for the sunset, the almost full moon rose in the southern sky and lit up western Long Island Sound. The night was magic. The first windward leg was to the Red Flashing Buoy just south of Hens and Chickens, the second leg was a tight reach to the Green Gong off of the east side of Hart Island. The downwind leg was from Hart to the Green Gong off of Prospect Point. During the final upwind leg, the wind became very light and the racers crawled across the finish line at Can 1.”

The first place boat Zuma, a J109 (scratch boat), got the gun with an elapsed time of 1 hour, 51 minutes and 52 seconds. Zuma was skipped by Lizzy Michler from Riverside YC. The second place finish was another J109 (same rating), Three Cheers skippered by Dylan Kavookjian, with an elapsed time of 1 hour, 54 minutes and 47 seconds. Adrenaline, a Soverel 33 skippered by Ethan Stark of Indian Harbor YC with a corrected time of 1 hour, 58 minutes and 4 seconds was third.

The Port Washington Junior Yacht Club Twilight Keel Boat Regatta is a tune-up race for Beach Point Yacht Club’s Overnight Race, which has been running since 1957. The Twilight Regatta allows junior crews to get a taste of nighttime conditions before the Beach Point. Twilight trophies are awarded at the Beach Point luncheon before the Overnight Race. Special thanks go to Catherine and Mark Einhaus who helped with the race committee.

Safety on the sea is of utmost importance and topics relating to safety are including occasionally in this column as a reminder of this. A story coming out of the Fastnet Race reminds us all how important it is to be prepared for anything. And while most of us won’t be racing anywhere near Ireland, remember last year’s microburst? The good news is that all 21 crew were rescued, and the boat will eventually be brought home. Our friends at Scuttlebutt, the online sailing newsletter, posted this from a report on sail-world.com about the capsize. The entire crew of 21 on the 100-foot Rambler underwent advanced man overboard and safety training just prior to leaving Rhode Island for the Transatlantic Race and the subsequent Rolex Fastnet Race. The training consisted of a thorough inspection of safety equipment on shore as well as a five-hour training session out at sea. Experienced, licensed training professionals at Life raft and Survival Equipment (LRSE) of Tiverton, RI conducted all the training.

Unfortunately, the training had to be put to use on August 15 when the 100 ft. Rambler sailing yacht lost its keel in 15 ft. waves and capsized immediately throwing all 21 crewmembers into the frigid water off the coast of Ireland. Fortunately, all 21 crewmembers survived.

The training primarily involved a two-step process. The first step was on-shore inspection of PFDs, tethers, personal locator beacons (PLBs) and life rafts to assure that all the equipment was functioning properly. The second step was a five-hour offshore trip, which included a thorough review of abandon ship procedures, which emphasized the importance of forming a circle to “stay warm, stay together and stay afloat.” The offshore drills also included inflating a life raft and conducting an exercise to recover a person overboard. A separate drill, which involved a one-day exercise in a pool, was conducted for crewmember Wendy Touton, which included in the water survival techniques and again emphasized the mantra of ‘stay warm, stay together and stay afloat’.

According to Jim O’Connor, President of Life Raft and Safety Equipment (LRSE), “The owner and very professional crew aboard Rambler took all the necessary steps to prepare for this very unfortunate event. Their attention to detail and insistence on professional equipment inspection and training no doubt served them very well in surviving the extremely harsh and dangerous conditions that they had to endure after the capsizing. Ultimately the PLBs played a very key role in locating the crew, as time was running short and the five crew members who were separated from the boat did a terrific job of linking arms and forming a circle as we emphasized in all the training exercises. The fact that everyone survived two and one half hours in the water is a testament to their diligent preparation.”

Happy Birthday to the America’s Cup! Predating The Ashes and Modern Olympics by decades, the America’s Cup is the oldest active trophy in international sport. August 22 is its birthday, celebrating 160 years as the best-known event for the sport of sailing. Here are some fun facts: 1. It’s the hard trophy in sport to win - since 1851 it has been won by just four nations; Australia (once), New Zealand and Switzerland (twice) and the USA (28 times!). 2. It’s not named after America. The Cup is named after the boat, America, which in 1851 raced 15 rivals from the Royal Yacht Squadron around the Isle of Wight. America dominated the 53-mile course and beat the runner-up by a total of eight minutes. 3. The Cup is shrouded in secrecy — the America’s Cup trophy is so precious that every care is taken to ensure its safety at all times. Not only is it stored in a secure mystery location, but when it is scheduled to make a public appearance, it travels under armed guard, just like heads of state and famous movie stars. 4. The Cup itself is an ornate sterling silver bottomless ewer, one of several off-the-shelf trophies crafted in 1848 by Garrad & Co. It was purchased and donated to the Royal Yacht Squadron’s 1851 Annual Regatta around the Isle of Wight, which was won by the yacht America. Event website: http://www.americascup.com/

Speaking of match racing… don’t forget to watch the Knickerbocker Cup this weekend. If you can’t get out on the water, go to www.manassetbayyc.org and click on Knickerbocker Cup to see the live video streaming. Kick back, get your favorite beverage, some munchies and watch the action. You won’t be disappointed!