October 3, 2012
Sailing in the New York Harbor School Regatta
Last August, I gave a blog tour of the wonderful Hudson River Park, and mentioned that I joined the board of directors of Friends of Hudson River Park. Because of that, I have become very interested in The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, a wonderful small public high school located on Governors Island, founded by Murray Fisher. The school partners with New York City’s maritime community and uses New York Harbor’s marine resources to create an extraordinary public high school experience that instills in its students the skills and ethic of environmental stewardship. Harbor School’s mission is to graduate students prepared for success in college and who have earned a technical credential in one of the six marine fields: Aquaculture, Marine Biology Research, Marine Systems Technology, Ocean Engineering, Professional SCUBA diving, and Vessel Operations.
Last Thursday I had the thrilling opportunity of sailing in the second annual Harbor School Regatta to benefit the Harbor School. Hannah Swett, one of my Godchildren, who comes from a very famous sailing family, invited me to sail with her and her mother, Ellie Burgess, upon the historic America’s Cup 12-meter boat, Intrepid. I first met Ellie many years ago when were neighbors in New York City. I had many exciting sails with her and her family and learned what I know about sailing from them. Hannah’s sailing credentials include Collegiate all American, multiple world and national champion, Rolex Yachts Woman of the Year, America's Cup Sailor, and was nominated for Rolex World Sailor of the Year. Please enjoy these photos of the Regatta taken by photographer Lori Hawkins.
1 This is a group of students from the Harbor School preparing to race in the second annual Harbor School Regatta. All photos credit: Lori Hawkins.
2 Here I am with Hannah Swett - Regatta Chair and Murray Fisher - NY Harbor School Founder and Program Director on board the 12-meter boat, Intrepid.
3 MSNBC's Willie Geist speaking at the Skippers Meeting along with a US coast Guard Representative and Murray Fisher
4 Here we are having the all important before sail crew meeting (from L to R) Ellie Burgess, Hannah Swett, Gary Van Dis, Melissa Purdy (hidden), Suzy Leech, Tom Cagnina, Dawn Riley, Joan Porter, me, and an Intrepid representative.
5 This is the chart of the race course.
6 As part of the crew, I was assigned trimming the jib.
7 Dawn Riley, at the helm, steered us to victory.
8 Joan Porter was discussing tactics with me.
9 Some of the other 12-meter and J/24 boats in the regatta sailing by the skyline of lower Manhattan with the new Freedom Tower under construction
10 The race took us from the North Cove Marina, past the Statue of Liberty, and around Governors Island.
11 It's so thrilling to see the skyline from the water.
12 This regatta is wonderful because the Harbor School students participate alongside expert sailors from the Olympics, various racing teams, and maritime academies and industries.
13 Ellie Burgess also trimmed the jib - The students are put in close and meaningful contact with these individuals who have reached the peak in subjects the students are studying about at the Harbor School.
14 Gary Van Dis holding the boom - The regatta brings nearly 600 people out to Governors Island, where they can get a personalized tour of the Harbor School by the students.
15 We sailed past the 12-meter boat American Eagle, our competition during the race.
16 American Eagle is, of course, most famous for her fabulous history as an ocean racer when Ted Turner owned and sailed her from 1969 to 1976.
17 The Intrepid, is one of the most famous racing yachts of all time, designed by the legendary American yacht designer, Olin Stephens.
18 Intrepid was constructed of double-planked mahogany upon white oak frames and featured some important design changes above and below the waterline.
19 Intrepid won the America's Cup in 1967 and 1970. In 1974, she came within one race of becoming the only three-time America's Cup defender in history.
20 It was wonderful learning all about the New York Harbor School and spending time with so many great sailors.
21 It was also very exciting, although somewhat uncomfortable, sailing on one of the great bare-bones racing yachts.