This year, with the meaningless loss of so many in Newtown, Conn., we all have many extra reasons to appreciate what we have in our community. We also have a poignant opportunity to reflect on what we have lost, as well as what lies ahead.

For instance, Alameda -- along with the Bay Area and beyond -- lost an incredibly caring and creative entrepreneur in Corwin Hardham, the late chief executive of Makani Power, an airborne wind turbine developer based at Alameda Point.

Hardham died unexpectedly in late October at age 38. Along with a love for Alameda Point's proximity to the water and its open spaces, Hardham and others have helped make the Island a new center of wind-inspired engineering innovation.

Around the corner from Makani, Artemis Racing of Sweden -- the America's Cup challenger of record -- is moving ahead with its ability to race on its AC72, which it christened Nov. 3. It reworked its team mix earlier this month to help it prepare for the upcoming September 2013 races and earlier events.

New team members include several Olympic medalists: Iain Percy, Nathan Outteridge and Santiago Lange. In addition, Lock Peyron, one of the world's most experienced multihull helmsmen, according to Artemis Racing, has come on board. Percy is the new sailing team director.


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"With the America's Cup racing just seven months away, it's crucial that we maximize each day the team is sailing the AC72, both in terms of training, as well as understanding the boat's limitations and attributes to be considered for future boat and wing development," said Artemis Racing CEO Paul Cayard, a Bay Area native. "The experience this afterguard brings is unmatched and is what will help the team succeed."

For those Island sailors with slightly smaller vessels, the end of the year brings the annual Around the Island Cruise. Yacht clubs around town say this is a great way to start the year and tour six different facilities. Of course, completing the roughly 15-nautical-mile course requires a high tide, so check the latest tide and current tables.

Landlubbers may want to take in a New Year's walk near Crown Memorial State Beach or the Crab Cove Visitor Center. And, if you're looking for a New Year's resolution, picking up trash and debris on the Island's wonderful waterfront, or in its fantastic parks and other green spaces, would be very much appreciated by the community.

As we look to 2013, many local organizations plan to start the year with a host of interesting and, in some cases, novel activities. The Frank Bette Center for the Arts, for example, has a show and silent auction of "gently loved" arts and crafts slated for January.

Janet Levaux also writes the Alameda Journal Blog at www.ibabuzz.com/alamedajournal.