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On the Bay: May 23, 2012

Last Sunday, the Manhasset Bay Sailing Foundation and the Knickerbocker Cup Foundation sponsored a very special event right here in Manhasset Bay. It is called the Dennis Conner-Ed du Moulin Junior Match Race. Back in the 1980s, when the Knickerbocker Yacht Club was the organizing authority for the Knickerbocker Cup, the late Ed du Moulin, a past commodore of the Knickerbocker YC, and Dennis Conner got together and thought it would be a grand idea to have juniors match race for a special trophy.

This was no surprise for those who knew Ed du Moulin, for he was known for taking junior sailors from all the clubs around the bay, and beyond, out on his Lady Del, and not only get them excited about sailing, but imparting the wisdom of his many years of blue water racing. Today, there are major racers around Long Island Sound who remember Ed fondly as the person who introduced them to sailing and changed their lives forever.

Ed and Dennis grew to be terrific friends through Ed’s many years of America’s Cup syndicate management. In the introduction to Ed’s book, The America’s Cup and Me, Recollections of 63 years and 7 Campaigns, Dennis was one of several friends who wrote about their relationship.

“Ed du Moulin is the quintessential people person... he always seems to have time for everyone, whether that time is spent getting a stray’s life back on track, managing an America’s Cup effort, working hard for a good cause, or giving sound advice. I appreciate how fortunate I am to have Ed in my life. He is a huge factor in whatever success I may have had on the water, but he has also been, and continues to be, a wonderful friend, through thick and thin.”

So it is with pride that the Manhasset Bay YC, along with the Manhasset Bay Sailing Association and the Knickerbocker Cup Foundation, sponsored a long tradition of introducing match racing to junior sailors. After a day of racing on the inner bay, Jack Parkin (Riverside YC), with crew James Westerberg & Cooper Yeager triumphed in the Junior Match Race series for the second year in a row. Parkin bested Colin Kennedy (Port Washington YC) in the two match final, capping a picture perfect spring day with his win. In the Petit Finals, Tyler Justus Paige took three matches to beat Gregory Stebbins (Manhasset Bay YC) to claim third place.

For his efforts, Parkin’s award will be presented at the Knickerbocker Cup Awards Ceremony on Sept. 2. His club will also be engraved on the Connor/duMoulin Trophy.

The junior match racers sailed a double round robin, with Kennedy and Parkin each scoring five victories, in a puffy northeasterly breeze. Kennedy’s crew were Howie Card and Jack Egan. Paige sailed with crew Zach Landeau and Stebbins raced with Madeline Simms, who recently won the Frostbite Crew series in her first year crewing in the winter series.

Thanks go to the Manhasset Bay Sailing Foundation and the Knickerbocker Cup Foundation for their sponsorship of this event. And to all the volunteers who spent the day out on the water to give a group of juniors some experience in match racing.

Final results for the 2012 Dennis Conner/Ed du Moulin Junior Match Race Trophy: 1. Jack Parkin (Riverside YC), crew James Westerberg and Cooper Yeager, 2. Colin Kennedy (Port Washington YC), crew Howie Card and Jack Egan, 3. Tyler Justus Paige (Cedar Point Jr. Program), crew Zach Landeau, and 4. Gregory Stebbins (Manhasset Bay YC), crew Madeline Simms. For more information and pictures, please see www.knickerbockercup.org

Those who read this column know that safety is one of the concerns that is mentioned on occasion, especially at the beginning of the racing season. Through an email received this past week, information has become available that a boat sank between Gangway Rock and Barkers Point. According to Newsday, this could have been a submerged object, and quite possibly a rock. It really doesn’t matter what the submerged object was, what does matter is that this is an especially dangerous part of the bay.

In the heat of battle, when skippers are in a tight race to the finish, it is overwhelmingly enticing to cut short the course around this area to get ahead of the competition. Well, folks, it isn’t worth it. Please use your charts or your GPS and find Success Rock and all the other hazards, both visible and hidden. Gong G”27” at Gangway Rock is there for a reason. In the heat of battle, please remember: safety first.

For those who would like to take a quick trip out east for the upcoming holiday, why not head for Greenport? The 2012 Tall Ships Challenge is scheduled to arrive there for the Memorial Day weekend and lots is planned to celebrate in style.

Having left a huge public maritime festival in Savannah, Ga., on Monday, May 7, seven tall ships have made it to Cape Fear, N.C., completing the first leg of Tall Ships America’s 2012 Tall Ships Challenge. Three of those ships will continue on to join four others in Greenport, which is approximately 500 nautical miles away and due to host its own maritime festival beginning on Saturday, May 26, continuing through Memorial Day, Monday, May 28.

The festivals, coordinated by Tall Ships America, with the help of local organizers, are part of a series of four to grace the Eastern Seaboard (Newport, R.I. and Halifax, Nova Scotia are next up for July), and all participating tall ships have the option of competing in corresponding port-to-port races as they sail to each venue.