Racing At The Model Boat Regatta


Don’t miss this year’s 23rd annual HarborFest Model Sailboat Regatta for third graders on Sunday, June 2, at Baxter’s Pond in Port Washington.

The regatta is an exciting part of the HarborFest 2019 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:

• Manorhaven: 9:15 a.m.
• Sousa: 9:30 a.m.
• Guggenheim: 9:45 a.m.
• Daly: 10 a.m.
• Salem: 10:15 a.m.
• St. Peter’s: 10:30 a.m.

The first of 25 elimination heats will take place at 9:30 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 over 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. Other key team members are Alan Bergman, Holly Byrne, Mary Lu Dempsey-Palafox, Dave Franklin, Ronnie Heller, Lloyd Herman, Fred Hsu, Ken Magida, Laura Silver Maguire, Brigitte Mueller, Tom Scalise and Paul Schrynemakers. Additional volunteers support these key team members.

Children that register for the race 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, Knights of Columbus Council 1227, Manhasset Bay Sportsmen’s Club, Manhasset Bay Yacht Club, Minuteman Press Port Washington, North Shore Yacht Club, Port Washington Dental, Port Washington Yacht Club and Total Dollar Insurance. 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. Best of luck to all of the racers.