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Sailing Competition Kicks Off Surface Line Week 2009
SURFOR Public Affairs

CORONADO, Calif.  – The horn blasts, the flag drops, and 10-knot winds fill mainsails to push two 22-foot sailboats forward. The race begins and also kicks off the first event in “Surface Line Week 2009,” a week-long series of events dedicated to friendly competition of Surface Forces sailors in a variety of seamanship and sporting events.

Sailors from five Navy commands crewed two 22-foot and three 16-foot sailboats to test their skills against each other for the bragging rights of being the best in the Surface Forces. The event began at the Navy’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s “Fiddler’s Cove Marina” on Coronado Island on Aug. 13 and will continue on Aug. 14.

The race has not been a part of SLW for 10 years. “I sometimes hear old timers talk about when sailing used to always be a part of Surface Line Week,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Brice Baldwin, coordinator of the SLW sailing event. “We wanted to bring it back to life. We coordinated with Navy Yacht Club San Diego to make this happen, and we’re really excited to see the sailing competition back as a Surface Line Week event.”

“The Navy Yacht Club promotes sailing in the retired and active-duty military communities,” said Roger Robinson, Vice-Commodore of Navy Yacht Club San Diego. “This is our way of contributing to the active-duty sailors. I hope next year it will be even bigger and better.”

The race began with the 22-foot boats competing against each other as they sailed four laps around marker buoys positioned one mile apart. The second race, between the 16-foot boats, covered three laps. The winner of each race competes Aug. 14 to determine the final winner. 

“I sailed at the Naval Academy the first time,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mark Haney, Force Diversity Director, Naval Surface Forces, who competed into today’s event. “I started sailing full time at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey. It’s a sport I enjoy and wanted to be a part of. I even live on a sailboat. Sailing is inherent to the Navy, it is our origin. I can’t think of a more appropriate competition for a surface warrior.”

Winners of the sailing competition and other events will be recognized at an awards ceremony on the final day of SLW, which will feature the Charger football team and cheerleaders, several of the Navy’s finest cooks will compete in a culinary skills contest, a chili cook-off and a cake decorating contest.

Media wishing to cover the final day of events and awards ceremony should contact Naval Surface Forces Public Affairs at (619) 437-2735 by noon Aug. 20 and arrive Aug. 21 no later than 7:30 a.m. at the Naval Base, San Diego, Pass and Decal parking lot, north of the Main Gate entrance on Harbor Drive, for credentialing and escort. Other coverage opportunities throughout the week are available by request.

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