Written by Andrea Watson Friday, 13 January 2012 00:00
While the New Year holiday brings out the celebratory nature in even the most reclusive, there is a group of sailors who tone down their celebrations because they have a date to keep – on the water. Yes, they would be our frostbiters who sail during the “off season” out in small boats when the weather turns really cold. Known as the Annual Frostbite Regatta, teams from up and down Long Island Sound show up to launch their boat off of the Manhasset Bay YC dock. MBYC is the organizing authority for this event, and has been for the past 80 years when the first event took place back in 1932 with a group of men over at Knickerbocker YC on January 2. That first regatta was a very different one than what took place this past New Year’s. In 1932, it rained, it hailed and it snowed; grog and chowder was served all day. The first day of this year’s regatta saw little wind, but on the second day, after a delayed start, the wind came in just fine – but no rain, hail or snow.
Held on Saturday, Dec. 31 and Sunday, Jan. 1 this year’s regatta was open to IC dinghies, Ideal 18s and Lasers. Pedro Losron, Event Chair and Sue Miller, PRO, had help from many people from a Race Committee on Kraus’ Kastle and others out on the water in whalers, who set marks and followed the boats to pick up any boat that capsized. Only one did and we are happy to report both skipper and crew arrived safely back on land. Thirty-four teams competed this year, with the following top boats in each of the three fleets: InterClub (IC dinghies): 14 boats. 1. #536, Pedro Lorson/Mimi Barry (Manhasset Bay YC), 2. #38 Peter Beardsley/Margurite Koehler (Larchmont YC); 3. #171, Keith Tarboada. Maura Berry (Larchmont YC), 4. #57, Stephanie Lautner/Ken Weber (Larchmont YC) and 5. Ted Toombs/Mariann Simms (Manhasset Bay YC). In the Ideal 18s (9 boats): 1. #174, Anthony Dekkers/Arthur Buhr, Manhasset Bay YC, 2. #172, Vince Syracuse/John Bainton, Manhasset Bay YC, 3. #173, Chris Shields/Ed McLaughlin, Manhasset Bay YC, 4. #175, Michael Silverman/Kelly Barsan/Jamie Losee, Manhasset Bay YC, 5. #44, AJ DeRose/Pate Saladino, Manhasset Bay YC. Top boats in the Laser division (11 boats): 1. #162497, Dave Coughlin, Huguenot YC, 2. #57, Bill Heintz, Huguenot YC, 3. #7990, Dan Coughlin, 4. #165977, Jason Viseltar, and 5. #3215, Leon Specthrie, Manhasset Bay YC. Pedro Lorson/Mimi Berry won the Past Commodores Race, with Ted Toombs/Mariann Simms, 2nd, followed by Philip “Fee” Mitropoulos/Amelia Amon.
Perpetual trophies were awarded next. Bob Schwartz won the Anchor Light Trophy (for participation in the New Year’s Frostbite Regatta); Anthony Dekkers won the John P. Barry Trophy (to the outstanding skipper in the Ideal 18 class); Steward Jervis won the Geoffrey Hazard Trophy (outstanding performance from a member of Port Washington YC). The Ed du Moulin Memorial Trophy was won by Hatch Brown for his contribution and enthusiasm in advancing the cause of frostbiting in America. It was Pedro Lorson who won so much silver that he, along with his crew, his sister Mimi Barry, could hardly hold all their winnings for a photo! Pedro and Mimi won: Commodore Fraser (winner of the Past Commodore’s Race), The Sam Weatherall Trophy (to the outstanding skipper in the Interclub fleet), the Alker Trophy (to the outstanding Manhasset Bay YC skipper) and the Baker Taylor Founders Trophy (awarded for the highest percentage in any class sailing in the regatta). Way to go Pedro and Mimi. Hats off to all who competed in the regatta. Each and every one is a winner, just for competing in the cold winter air and supporting this annual event. Also kudos to all who were on the Race Committee who made it all happen.
That was the on-the-water summary. What is especially fun and full of tradition is the Annual Frostbite Meeting that took place after the last race on Sunday. A combination of Moosehead-like awards (the not so serious part) combined with 2012 election of officers for the Frostbite Yacht Club (the more serious part of the meeting), plus the ample drinks served in Manhasset Bay YC grill room which was still decorated for the holidays, added up to a great end of yet another quite successful regatta. The room was packed, and family members who didn’t sail came to cheer on the winners and enjoy the conviviality. Especially nice was seeing so many young offspring – future sailors – attending the meeting. All in all it was just a lot of fun.
Some samples of the, somewhat dubious, awards. This one is from the newly elected Frostbite YC Commodore, Peter Beardsley: “There was some concern once the special awards moved to the Larchmont Station of the Frostbite YC about how we would be kept apprised of all the antics of everyone in Manhasset Bay. How would we know when something had happened that was worthy of notice by this committee? We answered that question quickly on the first day of the fall 2011 frostbite season. We looked to the southwest and saw the Manhasset Bay Race Committee sending us smoke signals – an ingenious method of communicating information over long distances, used for centuries. Clearly something noteworthy must have happened. Then fire sirens were heard, which caused us to think ‘wow, those Manhasset guys have really perfected race management – that’s a much clearer way to abandon a race than Code Flag N over A and three horns.’ It turns out that indeed something noteworthy had happened. It is no secret that Race Committee work is difficult. There’s the setting of courses, the blowing of whistles, the constant varnishing of Kraus’ Kastle. And oh yes, that one task practiced over and over at U.S. Sailing Race Management Seminars: the fine art of barbecuing food for competitors. On colder days, the barbecue can be used to keep the Race Committee warm, but in the humble opinion of this committee, when you run out of lighter fluid, you should not use Kraus’ Kastle for kindling. And while we appreciate the Race Committee’s dedication to their craft in using smoke to determine which way the wind is blowing while setting a course, setting your Race Committee hut on fire is inadvisable. Despite this setback, the RC managed 10 races that day for the Interclubs, Lasers and Ideal 18s, proving that they are as handy with a mark boat as they are with a fire extinguisher…. Does the Committee for Special Awards have no shame? These dedicated men and women, who are not out on the water for fame and glory, freeze their you know whats off, making sure races are started and scored correctly, setting marks and dragging those unfortunate teams out of Manhasset Bay when they race just a little too close to a competitor, or catch the line from a mark and capsize. Beware…after an award like this … it just may take the “crash boat” little longer to pick up a soggy team as they enjoy the last bite of a burger or hotdog on Kraus’ Kastle.”
More information and photos on the Frostbite Regatta and meeting next column.