American Star December Youth Invitational Rowing Race
Floating the Apple will hold its Sixteenth Annual American Star December Youth Invitational Rowing Race in support of community team rowing, team building and community waterfront access. This event will take place on December 4th or 5th 2010 in Midtown Manhattan at the Hudson River Park & Estuarine Sanctuary at Pier 84 Floating the Apple Boat House, Dock and North Cove. This event will improve the knowledge and skills required to row effectively and confidently in the open water, encouraging the enjoyment of public access opportunities to the Harbor and the need to maintain the health of the Estuary
History Behind the American Star Race
This annual race, sponsored by Floating the Apple, commemorates the December 1824 contest between two gigs similar to those built in the city today. One the British, Thames River champion, the “Dart”, the other the Brooklyn-built gig, the “American Star”. $1000 was placed on that race which added to political factors between the two nations to draw out 50,000 spectators turned out at the Battery, on third of the city’s population and the largest crowd up to that time to witness an American sporting event.
The “American Star”, rowed by Whitehall boatmen and coxed by a fourteen year old named John Magnus, decisively won the race. At once the elegant “American Star” was a celebrity, a symbol of the country’s engineering skills and the vigor of its people. So it is not surprising that when an appropriate gift was sought for General Lafayette during his visit to the city the next July, that the beautiful boat was it. It was presented to the General by young John Magnus with his statement of the great maritime motto “Freedom of the seas and sailors right” – which was affirmed by Lafayette. The “American Star” is the oldest American craft still in existence today, and one of the most elegant. It is housed in a small museum at Lafayette’s family estate outside Paris with the winning rowers names still visible on its four thwarts (seats)
From FTA History: 2001 American Star Rowing Race
Eleven (11) crews competed Floating the Apple’s annual American Star Rowing Race on Sunday, December 9th, 2001. Our own Johann Orvalle of the NJROTC, was a member of the winning crew. Taking 2nd place was Beach Channel High School. 3rd and 4th Place was taken by the Sound School from New Haven.Â The final was a race from Pier 40 across the Hudson River to Newport Marina on the New Jersey side and back.Â In 2000 the Sound School took three of the first four places.
Over one hundred (100) people were on hand for the event and with rowers from as far away as Charleston, South Carolina and Boston, Massachussets. Don Betts and Brendan Malone set up the course in the morning. Frank Cervi brought the Lox and Bagels, Hazelnut Coffee and Cream Cheese, which shocked the guests (especially Hull Massachussets). Becky Olinger was signing the crews in and securing the waivers. At this point I lost track of our guys and what they were doing, there was so much going on.
I saw Roy Arezzo was working the dock with lines with Tim Rutgers, Matt Bianco and Walter (unknown last name). Melissa Carp was chopping the lettuce and tomatoes and making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Karl Schulman was the master chef cooking eighty-eight (88) hamburgers and fifty (50) hot dogs which were all consumed. Mary Nell Hawk provided the hot cider and fish chowder and Emma Tichenor brought a barrel of home-made cookies. Â Lissa Wolfe was one of Chris Berg’s judges for the race. Steve Bydel filmed and Ori Dubow taped the video of the event using the chase boat generously provided by Diana Russell and Louis Norris. Steve Bond provided his usual communication services. Making cameos were the two Anne’s, Cavallero and Polster. Networking were Mike Davis, Eric Russell and John Tichenor (and I thought they were low tech?). Martha and Mary Betts, along with Moxy were there to cheer as were Amy and Audrea Berg. John Breitbart who judged also provided first aid to a Sound School Crew member who twisted her knee (a good indication that a thorough warm-up is needed on a cold day).
Everyone performed more then I listed above and we were happy to have them there to make this event a success. There were also others who could not attend who helped prepare the Boathouse or help build a new Chase BoatÂ for the event. The next big event is Coxswain Training in May. We hope to have as good of a team for that event as this one.
-Philip Yee, Village Community Boathouse