Photo of the Month: Ireland races ahead of South Africa with Switzerland in hot pursuit.  Australia, Argentina, Bermuda and Germany are all visible further back.  The 6th Dennis Conner International Yacht Club Challenge was an incredible event!


Greetings from the Commodore

Dear Members - The Dennis Conner International Yacht Club Challenge is an amazing experience.  Thank you to all the great members who volunteered their time this year to make the regatta such a success.  If you were not able to participate, speak with any of the members who were there and they will tell you their experiences.  Hopefully, you can participate next year!  There is always more room for members to be involved in the Race  Committee, Club Reps, Pit Crew, Club Ambassadors, Sponsorship and with the overall regatta organization.


Photo: The Commodore and his Patron Dennis Conner share a light-hearted moment during Dennis' international regatta in New York Harbor.  The two have worked together for more than 10 years to make North Cove one of the most exciting waterfront venues in the world.


Since this email also goes to many of our friends around the world , I would like to invite you all to gather next summer in New York City for this grand regatta which promotes international goodwill through friendly competition.  Just sent me an email and we will forward an invitation to your yacht club.


September in New York City means the sailing season is starting to wind down.  It has been an excellent year for sailing.  Hopefully you have also had time to enjoy the club facilities.  If you have not participated as much as you would like, I recommend coming down to Arabella for an evening this fall.  Come by yourself or bring some friends.  To check if Arabella is open any night, call the dockmaster at 212-786-3323.  Once the sailing season ends, our winter educational seminars begin on the Honorable William Wall which will be docked in the marina for the winter.


Sailing is a great sport which will introduce you to fascinating people and take you around the world (like our trips to the Caribbean this winter).  The more members you get to know, the larger your sailing circle and the more opportunities you will get.  This winter will offer many opportunities to meet other members, starting with the weekly gatherings on our clubhouse and continuing with bigger events like the Annual Dinner, the New Year's Eve Party  with the "21 Cork Salute" and the Blue Water Society Dinner.  Hope to see you at the docks soon.


- Commodore Michael Fortenbaugh


South Africa Wins 6th Dennis Conner International Yacht Club Challenge


The 6th Dennis Conner International Yacht Club Challenge lived up to it's reputation as one of the best regattas in the world for promoting international goodwill through friendly competition.  Nineteen teams representing 14 nations lined up on the starting line for 3 days of races and 4 days of social events. 


When the spray settled, the Royal Cape Yacht Club of South Africa won the Challenge.  The Royal Danish Yacht Club of Denmark was second.  Cercle de la Voile de la Société Nautique de Genève of Switzerland was third and the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club of Bermuda was fourth.


The Dennis Conner International Yacht Club Challenge is organized by the New York Harbor Sailing Foundation and hosted by Manhattan Yacht Club.  A lot of the organization is done by a great group of volunteers.  Key among these this year were Mike Lee, the overall Regatta Chair; TJ Shea, head of the Race Committee; Elif Levent, head of the Pit Crew; and Sonya Mesommonta, head of Club Representatives. 


These chairs were assisted by may more members who did a terrific job.  At the end of the regatta, all the volunteers agreed it was an incredible experience and generated lot of international goodwill.

The Challenge began with a practice race on Thursday which was won by the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein of Germany.  On Thursday evening, the Opening Ceremonies were held aboard Arabella.  Dennis Conner began by thanking all the teams for traveling to Manhattan for the event.  Then Shari Hyman, President of Battery Park City Authority, welcomed the foreign sailors to Battery Park City.  Each team was introduced and said a few words after their national anthem was played.

Photo: Dennis Conner relaxes on Arabella with some of the foreign teams.  Dennis stayed for all 3 days of racing and helped ensure a high quality competition.  He watched the races from Blue Pearl, a Hinckley picnic boat which followed every mark rounding.  And when the winning team crossed the finish line, Dennis was first on hand with applause.  All of the foreign sailors appreciated meeting Dennis who is one of the world's greatest sailing icons.


On Friday morning before the first race, Good Day NY did live interviews from the boats.  The Club Universitario de Buenos Aires of Argentina was the lucky team selected to appear on television .  They received their 15 minutes of fame!


When racing began in the harbor, our Manhattan Yacht Club team skippered by Stephen Yip won the first race!  The Howth Yacht Club of Ireland finished second.  BPCA President Hyman and Downtown Alliance President Jessica Lappin joined Dennis Conner and Commodore Fortenbaugh to watch the races on Day 1.   Switzerland won Race 2 and South Africa won Race 3.  At the end of the first day, all teams joined Dennis for a regatta dinner at Les Halles Downtown.

Photo: Special thanks for the incredible aerial pictures go to Scott Masonis and Scot Surbeck who buzzed the fleet from a helicopter! 

When racing resumed on Saturday, the sea breeze returned which meant upwind starts, more familiar to the visiting teams.  Societe Nautique de la Baie de Saint-Malo of France won the first race and had a brilliant day with a 1-5-5.  Bermuda won the second race.  Switzerland won the third race, making them the first team with two wins.  But the overall champions of the day were the consistent Danish team which scored 2-3-4.  Just behind them was South Africa with a 7-2-2.


Saturday night featured a Starlight Cruise around the harbor on Arabella.  It was a magnificent night which really showed off the splendor of New York City.


Photo: The spinnakers for this year's year regatta featured impressions of each country's flags.  The spinnakers were constructed by Butch Ulmer at UK Sailmakers on City Island.  This is the first time international spinnakers were used and they were a great addition to the regatta.


When Sunday arrived, both South Africa and Denmark had stretched out their lead over the rest of the fleet.  With only 2 more races scheduled, the championship lay in the balance.  The first race featured a gripping start with teams spread out and no clear leader.  But after the first mark rounding, South Africa went from far back in the fleet to the lead and never looked back.  The Shanghai Boat and Yacht Club of China finished second which was their best race of the regatta.


Going in to the last race, the regatta was already decided on total points with South Africa edging out Denmark.  But while the final race would not change the overall results, it was for pride.  Denmark and South Africa separated from the fleet and battled it out like two heavy fighters in the championship.  Denmark won the final race with South Africa in second.  But the overall championship went to South Africa.


Congratulations to all the sailors who participated from around the world and also to all the local sailors who helped make the regatta so successful!  


Photo: The racers from the Royal Cape Yacht Club of South Africa won the Challenge by sailing fast and smart and always finishing near the top of every race.  When they arrived at the Opening Ceremony, they declared themselves to be the "most humble" team in the regatta, having worked hard to raise the funds to attend.  Starting from this dark horse position, the team performed well race after race.  It was only after the regatta that the letter from their Commodore was produced which proudly stated that they had recently finished 2nd in the J/22 World Championships!   No question about it, South Africa was a force this Challenge, both on and off the water.


Photo: The "Vikings Team" from the Royal Danish Yacht Club of Denmark finished second in the Challenge for the second time in a row.  They were the only team to challenge South Africa and they almost took the lead to win in the 7th of 8 races.  Denmark performed like champions, distancing themselves from the rest of the nations. 



Photo: Because the Challenge was such a great success, the organizing committee is planning to do the next regatta in 2015.  If you are a member of a foreign yacht club and would like to come test your skills on the tricky waters of New York Harbor and help foster international goodwill through friendly competition, please let us know and we will send your yacht club an invitation.


 Operation Optimist Grows to 30 Juniors!



Operation Optimist, the junior sailing program on Optimist class dinghies, reached a new milestone this summer by growing to 30 boats.  The program began in 2007 with 10 boats, then doubled to 20 boats in 2010.  This year, it tripled in size to 30.  That's a lot of happy kids and parents using New York Harbor for recreation!


The Optimist dinghies are kept on floating docks southwest of the Statue of Liberty where there is no tug and barge traffic.  Kids travel to and from the floating docks on Big Toot, a 45-foot launch.  The program runs for 10 weeks every summer during the school vacation.  Over the course of the summer, about 100 kids participate with many doing more than 1 week.


One of the big hits this summer was "Cake Thursdays" when kids would bring a variety of cupcakes, muffins and cakes to compete for a prize.   Everyone was a winner!  On Friday afternoons, parents are invited out to watch the kids sails.  This program includes kids from beginner to racing level.  For the second year, there was a Racing Team which went off to a few junior regattas to represent NYC.


Archilles Sail at the Club



Report by Lisa Bowers - Saturday, September 6 marked the 4th Annual Achilles Sailing Adventure, made possible by the generous donation of sailboats from Manhattan Yacht Club's Commodore Michael Fortenbaugh and the time of MYC members wanting to share their passion for sailing with members of Achilles New York.  The mission of Achilles International  which has 65 clubs nationwide and abroad, is to enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics in order to promote personal achievement, enhance self esteem, and lower barriers to living a fulfilling life.  Many of the participating Achilles athletes are triathletes and/or multiple marathoners and others are proud to be able to walk a mile.  


Seven crews, plus MYC staff and members assisting on the ground, helped Achilles achieve its mission and the smiles, sense of empowerment, and new skills will live with all of the MYC members, Achilles athletes and guides who participated for a long time. Participating Achilles athletes may have had visual impairment, cerebral palsy, autism, or other disabilities, but on the water, sensing the wind and capitalizing on the guidance of great MYC teachers enables everyone to be a sailor. (Very competitive Disabled and Blind Sailing Championships are held all over the world and US Sailing is a big promoter of adaptive sailing.)


One MYC participant wrote afterwards, "Often club members initially sign up because they think they are doing something nice for the AAs but it doesn't take long for all of us to understand that we members are the beneficiaries of the AAs' infectious enthusiasm and fearlessness.  It's truly an inspiring experience that I look forward to each year.  E-mails from two athletes stated: "I had a beautiful time!!" "This was my very first time sailing and I had a blast. I anxiously look forward to hitting the water in the future." A guide said:  "It was uplifting in so many ways. I run past those boats all the time, wondering who sails them, who enjoys them. Now I know - really golden people."       



 International Spinnakers to be Auctioned Off


Would you like to sail with a new and super cool spinnaker on your J/24?  The NY Harbor Sailing Foundation is auctioning off the spinnakers from the Dennis Conner International Yacht Club Challenge.  Each spinnaker is emblazoned with a national flag.  Would you like to have the Irish spinnaker or would you prefer the US, Swiss, German or Australian?  The auction will be held through eBay. The website is  One spinnaker will be auctioned off each day.  The cost for the new spinnakers averaged $1,900 and they were used for 3 days.  The Foundation is offering them at 30% discount or a minimum bid of $1,300.  Some spinnakers might be considered more valuable than others.  Do you wish to show your national pride while sailing in the harbor?  Good luck winning the spinnaker you want.

 Arabella Sets New Participation Records this Summer


If there is a trophy for one of the best places to hang out in Manhattan, Arabella should be close to winning!  This summer, more and more members were seen spending some of their free time relaxing on the clubhouse at North Cove.  Below are just a few of the images captured by world-famous sailing photographer Billy Black when he visited the club one evening this summer.


If you have not already been down to relax on Arabella, carve out some time soon.  You can join one of the social committee's special events or just come down any evening.  You are welcomed by yourself or you can bring some guests.  Just show your membership card at the gangway and go aboard.  Arabella is one of the great perks of club membership so give her a try!








 Cruise to Newport on Arabella, Oct. 24-28


The weekend after our J/24 sailing season ends at North Cove, the club will organize the 2nd Annual Cruise to Newport on Arabella.  Members are invited aboard for a trip up Long Island Sound to Newport where you can explore and enjoy this resort town for a few days. 

This year, the cruise will offer members more days in Newport.  Members and their guests will sleep aboard Arabella on Friday evening, Oct. 24.  Then she will depart Saturday morning at dawn.


This year, Arabella will not anchor on Saturday night but continue through the evening to arrive in Newport around mid-night.  Arabella will dock at the Shipyard Marina where she will be hauled on Wednesday.  Members are welcomed to stay aboard Arabella on Sunday & Monday nights to keep exploring and enjoying Newport.  You may also just do the Long Island Sound cruise and come home Sunday.

This cruise offers up to 4 nights aboard Arabella.  Breakfast, lunch & dinner on Saturday will be served on Arabella.  Breakfasts will be served every day and once you are in Newport, you can go to any of the great restaurants in town for lunch & dinner.


Space is limited for this trip and pricing and registration will be sent out soon.  Marks the dates in your calendar now, Oct. 24-28!




Do you want to Skipper De Caribbean Regatta, Jan 24-31

Now is the time to start thinking about your Caribbean sailing vacation.  De Caribbean Regatta will be January 24 to 31.  A large flotilla of club members and sailing school graduates will travel down to the British Virgin Islands for one week of fun, sun and sailing.  This is the first call for skippers interested in forming boats for De Caribbean Regatta.  If you would like to be a skipper, please send an email to Commodore Michael Fortenbaugh at



Seen at the Club
State Senator Daniel Squadron (center) took time out of his busy schedule to come see all the great recreational opportunities which happen from North Cove.  Joining Daniel were (l to r) Mike Duran, Jordan Gruzen, Daniel, Commodore Fortenbaugh & Mary Cooley.