OMEGA was delighted to bring two of its star ambassadors Ellen MacArthur and Dean Barker to North Cove Marina in Manhattan to help with the rebuilding process following the tragedies of 09/11. Solo round-the-world yachtswoman MacArthur and Team New Zealand skipper Barker offered their time and expertise to inaugurate a "Fantasy Regatta" to raise money for the OMEGA Teen Sailing Programme to which the Swiss watch manufacturer has donated 25 000 USD. High profile Wall Street yachting enthusiasts also donated generously for an opportunity to race against the world-famous sailors. An exciting race ensued in New York Harbour, in full view of the World Financial Center Plaza. Both OMEGA ambassadors once again proved their sailing expertise: Barker came in first place, while MacArthur finished in third.
Large crowds turned out to welcome stars of the sailing world and OMEGA ambassadors, Ellen MacArthur and Dean Barker. For both, it was their first visit to the city of New York and they were delighted to be able to take part in an event to promote such a worthwhile cause. Proceeds of the Fantasy Regatta will support the OMEGA Teen Sailing Programme, which is part of the New York Harbour Sailing Foundation: an organisation established to inspire teenagers to get outdoors and become involved in one of the city's most splendid residential areas.
First, a press conference took place to explain the concept of the event and welcome the OMEGA star ambassadors to New York City.
Before the race got underway, the crowd gathered to see the result of a lucky-draw competition organised by OMEGA to win the Seamaster America's Cup titanium Chronometer. Joyce Castleberry of "The New Yorker" magazine was the lucky name drawn out of the hat and the winner of the coveted prize.
The boats then lined up in preparation to start the big race. 20 OMEGA J/24 sailboats filled the Hudson River in a 2 mile, 3-lap course around the country's proudest figure, The Statue of Liberty. After an unlucky slow start, Ellen showed her professionalism by quickly recovering and finishing the race in third place. Dean's match-racing experience saw him take an early lead and clinch first place. The racing was observed from the deck of the VIP yacht by OMEGA President Stephen Urquhart, Timothy Carey, Battery Park City President, and Kenneth Podziba, New York City Sports Commissioner.
Immediately following the regatta, an Awards Ceremony took place on the South Side Jetty, where all Skippers from the 20 J/24's were awarded an OMEGA trophy. Dean presented the winning trophy to the crew of "Flying Cloud", and Ellen presented the OMEGA Seamaster America's Cup Chronograph to Skipper Heinz Posch.
OMEGA is delighted to have been the main sponsor of this successful event. 75 children have signed up for the Programme, to be launched at the Lower Manhattan Sailing Club later this summer. OMEGA ambassadors Dean and Ellen were very impressed by their first trip to New York and look forward to visiting the city again in the near future.
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