Written by Dagmar Fors Karppi Thursday, 12 September 2013 00:00
Everyone is celebrating the announcement that Oakcliff Sailing is now the official training center of the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team Sperry- Top Sider. Before, Olympic competitors had to go to Europe for training but now they can come to
Oyster Bay. The harbor is especially great for training as the winds shift a great deal and it makes for a challenging sailing experience.
The ribbon cutting celebratory party took place at their location on the corner of South Street and Bay Avenue. With the help of Dodds & Eder they created a superb “swanky club,” to eat, drink and dance the night away.
“All proceeds of the party went to support the Olympic Skiffs and Cats so thank you for that support,” said Dawn Riley, OCSC executive director. “Thank you to all of the supporters and volunteers and to our excellent sponsors who helped us celebrate. A special shout out to Sonja, Liz, Lorraine, Sarah and Ollie who showed up and worked miracles transforming Oakcliff.”
Sonja Drabin was there with her parents Catherine (of Chrison & Bellina of OB) and Christopher Drabin.
Dawn also thanked Jack Halyard’s American Restaurant which sent their new chef, John Brill, to create great food. Wonderful warm spicy aromas filled the area, inviting people to line up at the buffet. Kobe beef frankfurters were an added treat. There was a salad of walnuts, feta cheese, heirloom tomatoes and arugula; and a wasabi apple coleslaw. The items were complimented by a black bean, corn and avocado salad with a vinaigrette dressing. The barbecued chicken was superb.
OSC is becoming internationally famous. To prove it, Dawn Riley shared the story of a bouquet of flowers sent to celebrate the ribbon cutting sent from Sena Ackman of Istanbul, Turkey. She called Dawn to say she had wanted to learn how to sail in her own country but was told, “she was too pretty.” Instead she came to the OSC and stayed for two weeks, learning how to sail. “She learned on a FARR 40,” said Dawn.
There were young sailors from all over the country enjoying the party and looking forward to trying out for the US Team for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The young sailors are called Campaigners as they have to raise funds for their trip to the Olympics. It is good to note that their campaigns will be easier since the OSC has already gotten eight each of the Olympic Class boats they need to compete: the Nacra 17, 49er, and 49erFX skiffs. The Nacra is a mixed event for the Olympics. Each boat must have one male and one female crew.
Enjoying the party that night was Meredith Muller. She is the captain on a 49erFX skiff and her husband is the crew.
On Thursday, Sept. 5, OSC held the last race of the Summer Classics followed by a piazza party. There was also sailing over the weekend with the Classic Racers meet on Saturday and Sunday.
Dawn herself is in the second half of 43 days of traveling and officiating at sailing events. On Friday, Sept. 6, she was jetting out to San Francisco to do VIP commentary for the America’s Cup.
If you want to get involved in sailing or in the swim as they say, there are opportunities locally. The fall series is starting and Oakcliff needs an indication of who would like to race so they can make sure the boats are ready and the teams are strong. The American Yacht Club Series is set for Sept. 28-29; and Oct. 5-6. The Manhasset Bay Fall Series runs on Oct. 19-20 and Oct. 26-27. So put your Sperry Topsiders on and get out on the water and check out the OSC on the Internet for more information.