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On The Bay: October 19, 2011

It’s that time of year when the cool, crisp fall air beckons us to take long walks in the fresh air…. To grab a jacket and head down to the bay for a nice stroll down by the water, maybe stopping mid – day for lunch or a snack while watching the last of the sailboats as they head out to the Sound for an afternoon sail. Port Washington has always been a special place to live, especially because of our wonderful waterfront. But is has gotten even better! Last week, Port Washington North dedicated the Bay Walk Nautical Art Museum and if you haven’t seen it yet, you are really missing something special. A group of dedicated volunteers, under the leadership of Mayor Bob Weitzner, Port Washington North, and in partnership with the Town of North Hempstead, have been working on this walk for many years. And the fruits of their labors were evident in the beautiful plantings, the nautical art and the descriptions of not only our nautical history but the fish and birds that are found in our area. So not only is the bay walk a perfect way to get some exercise, but you will be treated to the bay in all her glory, with a chance to sit in shaded areas to just enjoy the view, after walking back and forth among the artwork.

During Mayor Weitzner’s speech at the dedication ceremony, he had this to say (in part), “So we are at the tail end of our story, and to me it’s the best part. I had the pleasure of taking a visit to Greenport about five years ago to visit then Mayor David Kapell, to see the work they did on their waterfront….What really caught my eye was a single piece of sidewalk. Laid in it were bronze fish made by local school children. How innocent. How charming. I came away asking myself, why couldn’t we do something like that in the Bay Walk? I came back to Port, and assembled a team that is now known as the Bay Walk Nautical Art Committee. Its members’ mission was to explore ways of populating the Bay Walk with art that would tie into the history of Manhasset Bay and Port Washington. What we were looking for started as just inlays into the asphalt. But what eventually emerged were works of art of all types, all designed and created from artists from the Port Washington community.” He continued, “I mentioned six pieces of art, but actually there are 12. Each piece of art has with it an informational sign. You see, this is not just a museum. It is a nautical art history tour of Manhasset Bay in Port Washington and serves as a teaching device for both children and adults alike to stroll down the Bay Walk and discover our rich history, and learn about the artists and what materials they used to create their art.”

After thanking everyone involved with the project, which took some time as there were so many people involved – which says so much about our community when volunteering is at an all-time low – Mayor Weitzner had one more surprise for us. “I said this story was over. But rest assured a new one is beginning. Port North will soon be working on a Phase 2 of the Bay Walk, which will include developing the land beside us with a parking lot, kayak launch, sun shaded seating areas, and a children’s play area. We will continue to sure up and help stabilize our shore lines. In addition, we will be looking for more art for the museum, and even loaner art for artists to show their creations for a limited period of time so stay tuned. Remember, Port North never rests.”

Move over Newport! Port Washington is looking pretty good these days!

In other nautical news…submitted by Ed Condon, Port Washington YC Race Committee Chair. On Sunday, Oct. 9, the club hosted its 14th annual Charity Cup Regatta to benefit Family & Children’s Association. This year, 22 boats registered for the event, and 20 boats crossed the start line. A five-knot breeze from the west was enough to provide for an exciting downwind start. The competitors sailed downwind to Matinnecock Point and then north across the sound to Scotch Caps. From there they headed to a shortened finish at Hart Island for a total of 14 nautical miles. Unfortunately, Mother Nature did not cooperate in the afternoon, and a light breeze changed to no breeze. Many competitors were forced to withdraw from the race due to time limits; however, 10 boats did manage to finish. Division 1 Spinnaker finishes were:

1. Avalanche - Al Albrecht, PWYC, 2. Cinderella - Charles Lamberta, 3. Georgetown III, George Marks, NSYC. Division 2 Non-spinnaker finishes were 1. Snow Goose, Arthur Karpf, Glen Island Yacht Club, 2. En Route - Roger Dorr, PWYC. Division 3 Spinnaker finishes were 1. Kinsale - Michael White, Cresthaven YC, 2. Laurie B - Robert Baskind 3. The Real Macaw - Sid Kiwitt.

The PWYC Race Committee had the pleasure of working on motor-yacht Clearrview captained by her owner Chris Schmitz, and mark-boat Double Espresso captained by Tom Sullivan. Also at the start was photographer Robert Ogrudek providing photos of the event. A special thanks to gunner David Wollin, recorder Tiffany Wollin, code flag operators Carol Condon, Erin Condon and Edward Condon Jr. Thanks also to Randi Cervone and the PWYC staff for their assistance with both the regatta and the awards ceremony.

And for those out there who like statistics….The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released a by-the-numbers look at Hurricane Irene, which hit the Northeast on August 28: Irene was the first hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Ike struck Texas in September 2008. Irene was the first storm to threaten the New York City area since Hurricane Gloria in September 1985. On August 27, Irene’s hurricane-force winds extended outward as much as 90 miles from the center, and tropical storm-force winds extended outward as much as 290 miles. Irene was similar in size to Hurricane Katrina nearly six years ago to the date. Katrina’s hurricane-force winds extended about 104 miles outward, and tropical storm-force winds were felt 230 miles outward. Flooding records were broken in 26 rivers: eight in New Jersey, 14 in New York and four in Vermont. An estimated 40 people died as a result of the storm. Approximately 3.5 million customers (about 9 million people) were without electricity, and 2.3 million people were under mandatory evacuation orders. Ten thousand flights were canceled August 27 and 28. Irene will be the 10th U.S. billion-dollar disaster in 2011, breaking the annual record, which dates from 1980. BoatUS, the nation’s largest boat owner’s group, estimates the total damage to recreational boats from South Carolina to Maine caused by Irene could total up to $500 million. The last hurricane to strike the U.S., Hurricane Ike, was estimated to cause $200 million in damage to recreational boats. Boaters who hauled vessels ashore in anticipation of the storm were largely spared damage.

Reminder: On Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 8 p.m., Manhasset Bay YC, will host, “Mystic Seaport’s Charles W. Morgan Restoration Presentation” and is open to the public. For more information about the Morgan lecture, please call Manhasset Bay YC at 767-2150.