The Snake in New York

From the Big Apple our slidy Around Alone correspondent wonders why the boats are tied up to a decommissioned aircraft carrier
After a non-point scoring, fully crewed race from Rhode Island to New York the entire Around Alone fleet was tied up next to the Intrepid Museum - a huge decommissioned aircraft carrier. Quite why this dock was chosen by the organisers as the race boats' base for two days is unclear, but price is probably the major consideration. That the dock was totally unsuited to Formula One race boats seems to have been ignored. The grubby, rusting pontoons were equipped with only one hose and a single electrical junction box for the use of all the yachts. Without exception the decks of every boat were trashed with dirt walked on from the pontoons and if like Bobst Group-Armor Lux(Bernard Stamm. Switzerland) and Pindar (Emma Richards. GB) work and systems checking was undertaken well into the night before the start, the lack of services must have proved a major headache. Many were left yearning for the calm efficiency of The Newport Shipyard, Rhode Island. The point of shifting the start from Rhode Island to New York was for the race to join in with the September 11 commemorative programme. The yachts trickled in from Newport throughout Friday, 13 September headed by Tiscali (Simone Bianchetti. Italy) and it soon became evident over 14 and 15 that the bulk of New Yorkers had chosen to get on with their lives. Predictably the TV networks had elected to saturate the airwaves with 9/11 retrospectives with the welcome exception of the Puerto Rican station 'Caliente' (bikinis, CDs, cadillacs) and Cartoon Network where even the deeply disturbing 'Cow and Chicken' came as a relief. Race morning Sunday 15 was overcast and very humid with a southerly breeze of 15 to 20 knots with the smell of rain in it. The dock was a throng of well wishers,