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On The Bay: December 27, 2013

Oakcliff A Major Force

Still looking for that perfect gift? Not sure of what to give the sailor in your life and want to make it really special this year?

Well, your columnist has a suggestion that may be of help to you. There is something really special going on at Oakcliff Sailing Center in Oyster Bay. And since this is the season for giving, it’s a good time to let readers know about the magic that Dawn Riley, executive director, is weaving.

How, you might ask, has this to do with your holiday list. Simple—give your special sailor a gift of a donation to Oakcliff Sailing Center. Not only will you feel good that you are supporting the sport we all love so much, but the recipient of your gift will enjoy some fantastic benefits at Oakcliff. They really know how to thank their supporters. Read on...

A Sapling (young sailors who aspire to be professional sailboat racers) captured what Oakcliff is all about when he tried to explain Oakcliff to his friends and they were really skeptical. He kept trying and then basically said, really it is “Too good to be true.”

But true it is. This is a perfect tagline for Oakcliff. What Oakcliff has accomplished, under the leadership of Dawn Riley, is phenomenal. One has to wonder how their small staff can possibly manage to complete all the events, boat maintenance, seminars, educational programs that go on year after year.

And in 2014 they will be building housing for their students. In the few short years since their inception, Oakcliff Sailing Center has changed the face of Oyster Bay, sailing and racing on Long Island Sound, the U.S. and beyond.

For example, in 2013 Oakcliff became the first official US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider Training Center, expanded its fleet to include the world’s largest collection of Olympic class Nacra17s, 49ers, and 49er FXs, and hosted more match racing than any other sailing center in the country.

Oakcliff also organized and hosted 19 regattas including the NACRA17/49er/49erFX US National Championship and the Oakcliff International, celebrated 13 podium finishes for our Offshore Teams, sent competitors to Grand Prix events including the Mini Transat, Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, Grand Slam Match Race Series, and Farr 40 Worlds. And that was just for 2013.

In 2014, Oakcliff will be doubling its training programs. For the first time, it is adding an Adult Acorn program where adults can see how they stack up against the young pros. They will also offer a high performance dinghy camp aboard 24 brand new Olympic class skiffs and multihulls. To that end it will be building more housing.

Comments from students and supporters capture what Oakcliff is about: “I learned such an incredible amount of information, ranging from Marlow ropes to knot tying skills to splicing to meal planning to sail repair to navigation to safety at sea to match racing logistics to a taste of what it’s like offshore and to most importantly, how a team works,” said Oliver Shenberg, Acorn Grad.

“Match racing at Oakcliff is like cross-training for sailors. I sharpen my fleet racing skills and keep my crew on their toes,” said Craig Albrecht, Avalanche, Oakcliff supporter.

Oakcliff thank their supporters. Supporters are invited to race and train at the sailing center alongside with the Acorns and Saplings, the very people that donations support. Other benefits: Match racing: compete at the worlds’ most active Match Racing Center. Classic Racing: sail elegant works of art in scenic Oyster Bay. Rockstar Seminars: Rub shoulders with and sail with the world’s best. Coached Fleet Racing: Race offshore and inshore with real-time coaching and race management: Become a US Sailing certified race-officer, judge or umpire.

For information about donating to Oakcliff Sailing Center, http://www.oakcliffsailing.org/support-us. If you would prefer to customize your gift, call Oakcliff at 516-802-0368 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it changes lives and advances our sport.