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On The Bay: July 25, 2013

“The British are coming … the British are coming!” The cry rang out loud and clear on Manhasset Bay. Could that be why The Honey Fitz, the ex-official Presidential yacht, appeared in our bay last on Sunday, July 14? Was it to protect the waters in our special corner of the world, or just curiosity? Who would have thought that six teams from the Royal Burnham Yacht Club, from Burnham-On-Crouch, Essex, England, who arrived at Manhasset Bay YC’s doors for some “friendly competition amongst nations,” would be of any concern of the U.S. government!

Well, there are two stories actually. Yes, The Honey Fitz was in Manhasset Bay as a stopover on her journey up to Mystic Seaport and other northern ports on her 2013 goodwill tour mission to raise awareness for charitable organizations. The Presidential Yacht, which served five United States Presidents, has been meticulously restored to its original state. The classic 93 foot yacht, built in 1931 by the Defoe Ship Building Company in Bay City Michigan, has been returned to her former glory and is certified by The United States Coast Guard for up to 70 guests. Readers who are looking for a once in a lifetime experience can step aboard “The Yacht of Camelot” and enjoy the five star amenities designed for comfort and casual elegance. For those who would like to bring this beautiful yacht back to Manhasset Bay – or anywhere else, see www.myhoneyfitz.com. So, while it would be great fun to weave a story of intrigue, and spies and double agents surrounding the arrival of the Honey Fitz and the Brits……well, that is just not the case.

Now to the Brits. This British invasion started quite a few years ago, when Adrian Alley, a Manhasset Bay YC member suggested to his Manhasset Bay One Design (MBOD) fleet that he thought it would be great fun to invite his friends from the Royal Burnham YC to our fair waters. You see the Brits sail in a wooden dinghy, similar to the MBOD, called the Royal Burnham One Design. So a series was born and has been hosted by the two yacht clubs every two years, and this was the year for the Brits to come to Manhasset Bay. Team racing was scheduled for July 15-17, with parties every night.

The team from MBYC prepared well for team racing, which is quite different than fleet racing, and practiced on Manhasset Bay and out at Seawanhaka YC. Their diligence paid off - by mid-day Saturday, MBYC had won the regatta, 7-2, in a first to 7 points. There was terrific wind on Friday when the racing was in the MBOD. The teams jumped on board the Sonars and sealed the deal by lunchtime on Saturday. The rest of Saturday was fun racing, with the Brits and US mixing it up. Sunday there was no wind, but it gave everyone a chance to relax before the final party that evening. Thanks go to David Sigal, Fleet Captain, MBOD, Bill McCollum, Fleet Captain, Sonars, George Graf, Essex, CT who was PRO, Sue Miller, past MBYC Commodore, the boat owners who lent their boats to the cause, the people who housed the Royal Burnham team, and the multitude of volunteers who worked hard to make sure we gave our friends from across the pond a royal welcome.