Monday, September 27, 2010

A Great Weekend

This weekend was Don's birthday, and that is one of those low-key events that is celebrated quietly with a tiramisu cake, and as many of the kids as possible.  So easy.  Don spent some of his birthday pursuing his favorite hobby--politics--helping NY-5 candidate for congress Dr. Milano meet and greet folks at local fairs.

It was also Webb Family Weekend, so most of us spent our time on the gorgeous Webb campus on the LI Sound, with great food, and fun events.  A new Model Cutter was dedicated.  (I must admit that I thought they were dedicating a model cutter; it was actually a device that cuts models--a model cutter--I kept laughing to myself about the mistake as the machine was demonstrated).  And thanks to a couple of seniors, Grannie got to see a demonstration of a propeller in the 90ft model tank!  We took a video, but she does not know how to get it off her camera.  ;)  A fascinating article (with photos) featuring Webb's unique marine engineering facility is here.

But this was the highlight of the weekend (click on the picasa symbol to view the complete slideshow in full screen format)

The main event was the Freshman Wind Powered Design Challenge. The freshmen were divided into 5 teams (there are 19 students) and challenged to build a sailboat that actually sails using plywood, a tarp, duct tape, an aluminum pole, zip ties, and up to 10 tubes of caulk. This was their first design project, and, after only 4 weeks of naval architecture classes, they had one week to design and build their boats, putting what they have learned to practical use.

On Sunday, at 10:30 am, with all our family members present, the boats were launched on the sound. The canon sounded the start of the race, and the boats were off. There was a fine wind, but a strong incoming tide, and several boats were swept away to the west side of the quay, never to recover.  One boat sank, but the crew were expertly rescued (there was, of course, little danger in calm seas so close to shore)  T's team had the advantage of the windward starting position, and two very good sailors as crew. After 21 minutes of very difficult sailing (and bailing) the good ship Felicia came back to shore, victorious; in fact Felicia was the only ship that finished the course.  It was a true Swallows and Amazons day!

An outstanding brunch followed.

L was there for the race, but missed the previous day because she was performing in the season opener of the New Juilliard Ensemble. The NY Times has a review today, and a photo of the ensemble (L is under the bassist's elbow). We were disappointed that we missed the performance, but we figured there would only be one opportunity to participate in Webb Family Weekend while T is a Freshman...but there will be many more concerts. (Many, many more concerts!)

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