Somewhere between here and there is a good story in this picture. For 30 years, Manhattan Yacht Club has been changing the face of New York Harbor. Our Club makes recreation available to people who live in this great urban environment. Compared to the skyline, we are the mighty little club that could.
Update from the Commodore 
Recently I had the opportunity to congratulate Mayor Stephen Fulop on the incredible successes he has achieved here in Jersey City. The key to any great community first and foremost is safety. Mayor Fulop recognizes this and has invested resources in increasing the public safety and liveability of Jersey City. As a result, people feel safer. This is demonstrated by the increasing number of new families moving in. They are the bell-weather of safety and indicate a community on the upswing.

Photo: Commodore Fortenbaugh and Sarah Raymond congratulate Mayor Stephen Fulop (center) on his many accomplishments in Jersey City.

Our Club witnessed this change in Battery Park City where we moved there in 1994. Now we are seeing the same thing happen in the historic Paulus Hook area of Jersey City. This part of our region has the best waterfront access in the entire harbor. There is calm waters and an atmosphere which let's you relax and unwind. I am not a betting person, but in this case I would be willing to wager that some really incredible things will happen here in Jersey City as the recreational use of the harbor continues to grow. Stay tuned.

- Commodore Michael Fortenbaugh
MYC Caribbean Week: Sun, Fun & Sailing

What can you say about one week of fun, sun and sailing in the deepest part of the winter? Well, maybe you could say, "Sign me up for next year!" Our tradition of Caribbean Week continued this winter as we went back to the British Virgin Islands to support our friends after Hurricane Irma. It was an incredible trip. Eight boats of Members and school students saddled up on their boats at the Moorings base in Road Town. Then we headed out of for a week of sailing.

Some of the land based operations of BVIs have changed because of the hurricane. But most of the water-based locations were still the same - as beautiful as ever.  One of the great stops along our route were the Indians where you can snorkel around rock pillars and see a great variety of fish and other marine life.

The smiles on sailors lucky enough to participate this year were as wide and large as ever. Some people may have had trepidation about whether the BVIs would be ready for us. But on the first night when we moored at Virgin Gorda and dined at Coco Maya, we knew they were ready and that we would be welcomed guests!

Because some of our normal stops were still rebuilding, such as the Bitter End Yacht Club and Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, we envisioned new experiences. On the third night of our trip, with a Full Moon rising, Jim & Theresa Hedelston who have a house on Virgin Gorda, brought a small generator and length of LED lights over to the barren beach of Prickly Pear Island. Within a short period of time, an epic "Ring of Fire" party began. A new tradition was born and with the flamingos off in the background clucking and screaming all night long, Members danced under the stars until the bonfire went out.

Could Cow Wreck Bay on Anegada ever have been more beautiful? The turquoise blue of the water contrasted with the white and pink sands. There is really nothing to do at this outpost far away from civilization, except of course, hoist a cold drink, sit in a chair and relax like never before.

What is super special about Caribbean Week is the camaraderie developed among the skippers and the boats. Most mornings begin with a skippers' meeting which brings smiles to everyone involved.

After 9/11, our Club went back down to the BVIs in February 2002. To welcome us, the Royal BVI and West End Yacht Clubs got together and hosted us for a cocktail party. To thank them 16 years ago, we put up the MYC Trophy which included a Statue of Liberty. Since there was only one trophy and two Clubs throwing the party, we suggested they race for the trophy each year. What ensued was many years of competition between these clubs. Then in Jan 2016, we joined the competition, making it a three way race. 

We are happy to report that the MYC Perpetual Trophy survived Hurricane Irma, although you can see from the photograph that it has been corroded by sea water. Should we renew it with a new Statue or keep this as an historic relic?

The competition for the trophy this year was a bit different because most local race boats were damaged in the hurricane. We offered to use our charter boats and sailors from the RBVIYC and WEYC came onboard our boats at Norman Island on Saturday morning. This should have given us the best chance in recent years to win back the trophy since we could have assigned the slower hulls to the host clubs. But being fair sailors, we split the faster boats among all Clubs, forgetting to factor in their advantage with local knowledge. We had a few more cards up our sleeves but in the end, time ran out and some of the boats had to return to Moorings base before they completed the course. When the finishes were tallied up, the West End Yacht Club emerged as the 2018 Champion.

After Hurricane Irma, our Club also raised $16,000 in donations for the BVIs and we distributed this to several charities and organizations including VISAR which is a great help to all sailors in the region. We wish all of our friends continued success in their rebuilding efforts. We have also experienced rebuilding, both after 9/11 and with our move to Jersey City. We know they will come through better than before and we look forward to visiting again soon.
Reports from some of the Skippers:

Rob Goldstein, skipper of "Caribbean Dreamin:" Caribbean Dreamin' was made up of first time Caribbean sailors who relied on teamwork and each other to overcome all of the challenges they faced during the week, including a winning, 2nd place finish in the race around the North Sound.  The skipper and crew had a fantastic time sailing the entire week!"

Tom Johnson, skipper of "No Boundaries":  From the first day in the BVIs we knew we had the recipe for the best week. We had a brand new Sunsail 454, a great crew with hidden culinary expertise, as well as enough drinks and music to see us through anything! After the first couple of days we hit our stride and everyone started to unwind, the sailing miles racked up and the blissful warmth of the caribbean in Winter started to take hold.  The beautiful sail up to Anegada followed by the relaxing afternoon at Cow Wreck, the appetiser competition, lobster dinner and the largest night of the trip made a truly memorable day; this along with the last afternoon at the Indians with halyard swings, snorkelling and dinghy rides are up there as life-time memories. We'll miss Anthony as he heads back to Aus, best of  luck! 

As a new boat to Caribbean Week we heard that we would have serious  competition if we wanted to win the appetiser contest, so while we were having lunch at Cow Wreck we devised a strategy. It involved sourcing some local Conch, using our extensive island network aka the taxi driver, and then our very own US42 member  Orest-chef-Bauer turning it into the most delightful Conch ceviche. We had a nervous wait to hear the results and could only calm our nerves by eating the remaining ceviche but were ecstatic to hear the result. Huge congratulations to the teams, it was a great evening but special shout out to chef extraordinaire Orest Bauer.

Emre Cumali, skipper of "Curious Cat:"  Our Curious Cat crew was fueled by early morning doses of rum administered at the skippers meeting> Pre-race meditation and yoga helped everyone get in the right state of mind. After reviewing navigation charts,  wind conditions and latest satellite footage, the crew plotted the ideal race course carefully considering currents, ferry traffic and solar flares. Minutes before the start signal, anchor was raised and the team executed the race plan to perfection with excellent speed, jibes, and tacks - all of which contributed to the great success for the great race to Jost Van Dyke. Finally, the crew (Emre, Sonya, Johannes, Aynur, Andy, Ben) enjoyed well-earned Soggy Dollar Painkillers on the beach!

The final night party at Nanny Cay was another exceptional event. In addition to the Commodores of the Royal BVI and West End Yacht Clubs, as well as past Commodores and many more friends, Her Majesty's BVI Governor Gus Jaspert (left) joined the festivities and is seen here chatting with NY Harbor Sailing Foundation Chairman Jim Cavanaugh & Wilson Kimball.
Sailors Ball is Sat, April 28!
The great fundraising event celebrating the start of the new sailing is the Sailors Ball. This year, the 21st Annual Sailors Ball will be Saturday, April 28. Tickets are now on sale at sailorsball.com.  The ball raises money for Operation Optimist, the great junior sailing program in NY Harbor. Last year, this program grew from 30 to 40 Optimist dinghies thanks to your support at the ball. Find out more about Operation Optimist at https://sailmanhattan.com/opti/  Buy your tickets now and start the season with a bang!
The NEW Mount Gay Corporate Championship
If you work at a company in the tri-State area, here is a chance to win fame and fortune, plus have a really great time with your co-workers. Enter a team in the Mount Gay Corporate Championship. This will consist of several one-day events, including the Finance Regatta, Tech Regatta, Shipping Regatta, Insurance Regatta and more.  The top two teams from each Industry Regatta advance to the Semi-Finals. Then the top two from the Semis will match race for the Championship on America's Cup 12 Meters. But don't worry about winning. Just come the first year to have fun. After sailing every evening, there will be a great Mount Gay Rum sailors party! Want to find out more? Email office@myc.org

Frostbite Sets New Records This Winter

The winter no longer stops the sailors of NY Harbor from having fun. This is the second year of Frostbite racing and the fleet has grown from 10 to 19 Sunfish dinghies. Special docks were constructed this winter to make it easy to launch and store the Sunfish.

Races are held on Saturday mornings from November through March. Nineteen sailors competed in the series. It is a colorful spectacle and a great way to stay in sailing shape throughout the winter.

Special shout outs go to Julian Fraize and the volunteers from Stevens Institute of Technology as well as Rob Goldstein from MYC who anchored the race committee.

This has grown into a very special program and you should be thinking about getting involved next winter. Don't let the sailing stop.
Mid-Winter Dinner - Biggest Turn Out Ever

Sixty-one Members gathered at El Quijote Restaurant in Manhattan for the Mid-Winter Lobster Dinner. This set a new record and goes to show how much Members enjoy hanging out with other Members. A big thank you to dinner organizer John Elliott who also officiates as King Neptune. The Mid-Winter Dinner is where new Members of the Blue Water Society are inducted. Above, the new inductees (l to r seated) were: Glen Burger, Bob Finkelstein, Patty Bryan, and Thomas Helck. Past inductees and other Members stand behind them with congratulations. Maybe you should be thinking about expanding your horizons and doing a significant ocean passage to earn your admission to the Blue Water Society at next winter's dinner!
Starting to Grow the Race Committee

A major push this coming summer will be to build the race committee skills of our Membership and grow enough RC teams for all the racing we are doing! Now, we are up to 4 days of racing every week. There are Member J/24 races on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. There are Member IOD and 12 Meter Races on Thursdays plus the Corporate Sailing League. And the IODs and 12 Meters race on Saturday (did anyone mention a possible Sunday brunch series on the Sunfish!).

The first gathering of our 2018 Race Committee was held recently with a large turnout despite a blizzard (some of the attendees are pictured above). At this meeting, it was decided that the key to success was ensuring that all RC Members have an incredible time each evening. One innovation will be to have a feedback loop where RC Members can chime in on what works and what needs to be worked on to make the experience special. The second innovation will be a focus on the RC having the biggest dining table after sailing with the best BBQ!

If you might be interested in joining the Race Committee and getting more involved in Club activities, please email office@myc.org.   You do not need any prior experience. You just need to be ready to have fun. BBQ skills are a plus.

Seen at the Club
There are hundreds of pictures that get uploaded in real time on our club Facebook.  Stay in touch with all the exciting things happening by liking and following this page

Carlos &  Silvia Tessie pay a visit to our reciprocal friend the St. Petersburg Yacht Club and  were warmly received by Commodore emeritus Jack O'Connell.

The Manhattan Yacht Club trophy was awarded to the West End Yacht Club at Nanny Cay. Presiding over the ceremony were (l to r): RBVIYC Commodore Chris Haycraft, HE Governor Jaspert , WEYC Vice Commodore Geoff Brooks and Manhattan YC Commodore Michael Fortenbaugh  © Leslie Cramer

Winners of the Ice Bowl pose with the Race Committee (l to r): Julian Fraize, James Byrne (3rd), TJ Dalton (1st), Matthew Winalski (2nd) & Rob Goldstein.

The Race for the MYC Trophy in the BVIs gets underway off the Indians. Curious Cat and A Better Boat were both in the lead during the first half of the race but were overtaken by boats from the local clubs with local knowledge.