Wednesday, June 12, 2013

J/24 Sailing Makes New York Sunday Times?

J/24 one-design sailboat- sailing off Manhattan YC in New York (New York, NY)- For the simply enormous impact that it can have on the world, if not just America, and even lesser yet, New York City, it's always wonderful to see "sailing" (whatever that is on the level of world news) get featured in the famous, eponymous New York Sunday Times.  Nevertheless, because of "sailing's" location at the bottom of that former island sand-spit known as Manhattan, it does get noticed when Wall Street's most famous investment banks, hedge funds, and leading edge financial algorithmic arbitrage wizards go "playing" on the Hudson River in the shadows of that beautiful girl, the Statute of Liberty, and the newly ascendant 1,776 ft Independence Tower.  Cool, eh?

Here's an excerpt from the NY Times article that describes life aboard the "Honorable William Wall", anchored immediately northeast of Ellis Island:

"Can anyone entirely explain the unquestionable pleasure of drinking by the sea? Perhaps there is a natural felicity in casually consuming one form of liquid while gazing at another — or perhaps the coastal cocktail is an atavism of our lost amphibian past.

Then again, it could be something simpler, something related to the off-the-cuff remark that Eliot Claus, a lifelong seadog, made the other night on the beverage deck of the Honorable William Wall, a waterborne watering hole moored during the warmer months on the never-ending chop of New York Harbor. “It’s pretty basic,” Mr. Claus, 60, suggested, looking at the skyline, a white wine in his hand. “Sailors like to drink.”

J/24 Manhattan YC founder- Mike FortenbaughThe Willy Wall, as the cognoscenti call it, is — officially — the clubhouse for the Manhattan Sailing Club, an organization that since 1987 has catered to the oceangoing urges of New York City’s nautical community. A two-story barge christened with the name of a Civil War congressman, it is a sort of floating roadhouse where urban mariners and members of the public can gather from May until October and, as seamen like to say, get three sheets to the wind.

“The idea was to build a platform where spectators could come to watch our races,” said Michael Fortenbaugh, the commodore of the club. “If you’re on a boat and the adrenaline is pumping, it’s nice to have a place where, say, your spouse can come and sip her drink in comfort and not be home just twiddling her thumbs.”

The Willy Wall, which winters at the North Cove Marina in Battery Park City, opened for the season Wednesday night. A few dozen people sat around the bar, downing beer and gin in plastic cups as a disorderly regatta unfolded on the harbor below. Thirty sailboats gathered at the starting mark, maneuvering like horseflies, with the Battery as backdrop. When the Race Committee chairman blew his horn, off they went, gliding south toward the Statue of Liberty and the course’s upwind buoy.

If you have never seen a sailboat race before, it is not exactly Nascar. The action unfolds slowly, the boats tacking back and forth in distant silence. This may account for the compensating quantities of alcohol onboard. The Willy Wall’s drinks are relatively cheap. They are served to architects, finance types and the occasional French carpenter, accompanied not only by a rhythmic Reggae soundtrack, but also by an irreplaceable view.

“The best thing about it is the harbor,” said Mr. Claus, a corporate lawyer who spends half the year in China. “You can have a terrible night racing, but still have a great night at the bar.”

Part of the greatness comes from the way you approach the Willy Wall. A vintage motorboat, the Admiral’s Launch, picks up visitors at the marina and for a $10 fee shuttles them past water taxis and ferries to a landing on the barge. (That is, until it reaches its 150-person capacity.) The launch is driven by a uniformed old salt named Captain Billy. He is a chivalrous and grizzled man, recently out of Florida, and gives the air of having spent last night inside a bottle of Haitian rum.

Finally standing topside, the city disappears into the mammoth yellow sunset lacquering New Jersey as the currents on the harbor, rolling like a water bed, dissolve all thoughts of shore. It hardly matters if the regatta is abandoned because of a lack of wind. A small breeze blows in from the Narrows, 1 World Trade Center shimmers in the twilight, tugboats pass, the air is filled with salt. “It’s pretty awesome,” said Michael Sallette, 34, a manager for Amazon, who also races sailboats for the club.

What was pretty awesome? The sailing or the drinking? Mr. Sallette gave this question thought, a plastic cup in hand. “They’re comparable,” he said.  Learn more about Manhattan Sailing Club here-  Please read more here at the New York