On The Bay: Model Boat Regatta at Harbor Fest

The starting line at the HarborFest Model Boat Regatta. Photo by Vivian Moy.

The results are in for the 2018 Model Boat Regatta held during HarborFest. The success of this event rests on the many volunteers that began planning back in January. Some stats: 6 schools participated as well as 22 classroom teachers, Baxter’s Pond Foundation was the host of the event, and 12 sponsors helped fund the event’s supplies, children’s’ T-shirts and provided kayaks. Over 450 model boat supplies kits were prepared, 450 children were trained and 247 children raced their boats on Baxter Pond. And in the end, over 60 volunteers worked approximately 6 months to bring the sport of sailing to our area’s third graders. Yikes…this is quite an event by anyone’s standards.

On the day of the regatta, Sunday, June 3, Bill Palafox, Model Boat Regatta Chair, and Race Officer, got 20 elimination heats run and scored accurately, with the support of 36 volunteers who made the day a success. Atlantic Hook and Ladder also helped, who, according to Bill Palafox, “outfoxed Mother Nature’s strong Northeasterly wind.”

They’re Off. Photo by Vivian Moy.

Individual School Champs results: Sousa: Abigail Amalfitano, Boat #20; Daly, Edward Conlon, Boat #145; Guggenheim, Alina Cooper, Boat #191; Manorhaven, Seira Mirakine, Boat #355; Salem, Yuna Garcia, Boat #369; and St. Peter’s, Andrew Blake, Boat #434.

In the final heat which determined the “All Port Champion”: All Port Champ, Seira Mirakine, Boat #355; Manorhaven; 2nd Overall, Alina Cooper, Boat #191, Guggenheim; 3rd Overall, Yuna Garcia, Boat #369, Salem. Congratulations to all the winners!

Bill, Chair of the Model Boat Regatta, and Mary Lu Dempsey-Palafox. Photo by Vivian Moy.

The Team Spirit Award (the percentage of children who raced versus the school’s Third Grade population): The winner is St. Peter’s who had 100 percent (not a typo) – the entire class participated, which is truly amazing! The First Runner-up is Sousa with 65.745 percent participation. Second Runner-up is Manorhaven with 58.06 percent participation. These high percentages are just another testament that Bill Palafax, Event Chair, with unbelievable help from Mary Lu Dempsey Palafox and Marian Weissman, plus the dedicated volunteers (60+), have turned this event into one stellar regatta. Congratulations to all. In addition to the above, many thanks the sponsors and the schools – who, working together, made the Model Boat Regatta a Norman Rockwell kind of day down at Baxter’s Pond.

Bill Palafox captured the essence of the Model Boat Regatta, “it’s all about the children and the promotion of Port Washington’s nautical heritage.” Indeed!

Today is World Oceans Day (June 8). The day is marked in a variety of ways, including launching new campaigns and initiatives, special events at aquariums and zoos, outdoor explorations, aquatic and beach cleanups, educational and conservation action programs, art contests, film festivals, and sustainable seafood events. Youth have been playing an increasingly important role since 2015, including the development in 2016 of a World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council.

The Advisory Council helps to expand the reach and impact of World Oceans Day, on 8 June and with continued engagement year-round. Advisory Council members are instrumental in helping shape the development of World Oceans Day as it grows, providing new and unique perspectives, ideas, and recommendations. Together with the Advisory Council and our growing global network of partners from all sectors and in more than 100 countries, we provide opportunities for ocean conservation throughout the year.

Even though you are reading this past the June 8 World Oceans Day, please go to their website to learn more about how we can help save our oceans all year long. www.worldoceansday.org.

The All Schools Championship heat to determine the overall regatta winner. Photo by Bill Palafox.
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Andrea Watson is a Port Washington-based maritime photographer and journalist. She writes Port Washington News' column On The Bay and is currently the Executive Secretary of the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound (YRALIS).


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