Regatta Revolution

With worldwide attention focused anew on Lower Manhattan, the annual New York Architects Regatta Challenge took place last week, with boats departing from the North Cove of Brookfield Place (formerly the World Financial Center). The race is a charity fund-raiser that brings out both competitive and altruistic spirits, not to mention copious amounts of Mount Gay rum on the dock afterward. Architectural firms in New York City put crews on boats belonging to the Manhattan Sailing Club, and contribute $1,500, and sometimes more, to good causes.

The AIA New York Chapter has, for the last six years, put together a “pick-up” boat to allow sailors from firms not organizing their own team to get out on the water. The Chapter’s “Flying Eagles” this year included skipper Wids DeLaCour, AIA (DeLaCour & Ferrara), Guy Geier, FAIA, FIIDA, LEED AP (FXFOWLE), Blake Middleton, FAIA, LEED AP (Handel Architects), and Xenia Vytuleva (CGSAPP). AIA New York Chapter President Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, wished the team well, and well it did, finishing a respectable 10th out of 21 boats sailing.

Event organizers, including Dan Allen, AIA LEED AP (Allen + Killcoyne Architects), Gerry Dolezar, and Charles Prettyman, AIA (Truisi Design Group), called it the best regatta ever, in terms of funds raised, weather and technology. Results and then some can be found online through the transformational “Kattack” link.

About the revolutionary Kattack technology, Prettyman said: “This was new, and I think it was an interesting addition. Like you, I was there, and yet when I watched the replay, I learned a lot about how we ended up where we were, relative to other boats. Next year we want to take it a little further, by arranging for the thing to be playing live for the spectators on the Honorable William Wall during the races.”

Dockside afterwards the Chapter’s traditional invocation to the celebration, read by Rick Bell, FAIA, was derived from the Russian Sailors’ Dance known as Yablochko or “Little Apple.” The original Soviet-era lyrics were changed, so that lines such as “I am tired of Kolchak, I want Lenin instead” became “We are tired of Kattack, we want to win instead.” Admiral Alexander Kolchak, a Russian naval commander, was the leader of the White Russians during the civil war with the Bolshevists after the Russian Revolution.

The “Willy Wall” – short for “The Honorable William Wall” – was the spectator barge located in the harbor not far from Ellis Island, where distinguished observers including Oculus Editor Kristen Richards, Hon. AIA, Hon. ASLA, and author and Oculus contributor Janet Adams Strong, Ph.D., cheered on friends and colleagues.