The regatta is an exciting part of the HarborFest 2017 celebration where third-graders make and sail their own pontoon-style boats made with recycled materials. All third-graders who register on race day morning will have a chance to win.
Race day registration times at Baxter’s Pond are staggered for participants as follows:
• Sousa & Daly—9:15 a.m.
• Guggenheim & Salem—10 a.m.
• Manorhaven & St. Peter’s—10:30 a.m.
The first elimination heat will take place at 10 a.m. with the final heat slated for 11 a.m. The awards ceremony immediately follows.
The children will compete against other “skippers” from their schools, with the winners of these rounds racing against other schools. During the awards ceremony, awards will go to individual school champions, the first, second and third place overall finishers and the prestigious Team Spirit Award to the school with the highest percent of participation in the regatta.
The regatta school instruction chairperson is Marian Weissman. She and many capable volunteer instructors will have met with more than 400 third-graders at all of Port’s elementary schools to show them how to make their boats. Empty milk or juice cartons are transformed into pontoons. Paper sails and plastic bags are turned into sails. Wooden dowels serve as masts and booms, and slats of wood act as keels to keep the boats sailing upright and straight.
Bill Palafox is the Principle Race Officer (PRO) for the actual race day and responsible for the day’s operation. He is ably supported by his team of Hank Brakman, Joan Brakman, Holly Byrne, Mary Lu Dempsey-Palafox, Fred Hsu, Laura Silver McGuire, Tom Scalice and Paul Schrynemakers.
The first 200 children to register for the event will receive T-shirts, compliments of the Tepper Intergenerational Program of the Port Washington Public Library Foundation. Benefactors for the event are the Baxter’s Pond Foundation and the Nautical Advisory Council of the Port Washington Public Library. Major sponsors include Atlantic Outfitters, Center Island Contractors, Knights of Columbus Council 1227, Laffey Real Estate, Manhasset Bay Yacht Club, North Shore Yacht Club and Port Washington Yacht Club. Additional financial support is received from many Chamber of Commerce members.
The regatta was created to fire kids’ imaginations and give them the challenge of creating something themselves, seeing their creation in action, all while learning the principles of buoyancy and sailing. It is also a great way for them to begin to develop a lifelong appreciation for the water as well as helping them develop team spirit.