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Sailing, Sailing...
Old 12-22-2014, 02:57 PM   #1
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Sailing, Sailing...

Triggered a memory...
Just received an alumnus report about sailing team news from my school. (I sailed a Tech Dinghy with them, for a while, way back when, about 55 years years ago, and it brought back memories of frostbite sailing in Maine.)

I know there are some sailors here on ER, and would like to hear some adventures, and see some pictures of sailboats of any kind that have been part of your experience.

The competition boats then, and for some colleges, even now... were designed by M.I.T., wooden in the beginning, but when I came on board were the brand new fiberglass models. Since then, the newer boats are lighter and sleeker, though the current favorite racing dinghy is the Flying Junior. It looks like a fun boat to sail, per this YouTube clip of rolling tacks.


We've had some threads here on ER about sailing, but not recently. So if you've had sailing experience of any kind that you'd like to share, here's a chance. It's a sport that gets in your blood, and doesn't go away, if only in memories...

My college team today... 14th in the Nationals...
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:29 PM   #2
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Wow, haven't heard of Tech Dingies in forever. Learned to sail while in college in them.
Once owned a 14 ft daysailer, similar to a Laser but can't recall the name, but after about 5 years, it slowly became a garage queen so sold it off. The area I lived in didn't have reliable wind during the hot summers.
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:40 PM   #3
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Back in the 60s they had weekly doubles Sunfish races on our lake each Sunday. I crewed for a neighbor quite a bit. Later, he got a new Sunfish because the one he had wasn't fast enough so my Dad bought their used Sunfish on a Sunday morning. I drafted one of my sisters for the afternoon races. Even though I had crewed a bit, I hadn't been paying enough attention as we capsized around each mark that afternoon, but we still had fun.

I read and learned and one of the adult racers took me under his wing and within a couple years I was regularly winning races and in the hunt for the season championship (with this allegedly "slow" boat .... and I won one year and was consistently in the top 3).

I remember one year that the perennial champ and I were swapping first and second all season. After two of the final three races, I was one point behind him and it was cold and nasty and I liked my chances in the final. The commodore decided (unilaterally without consulting any of the racers) that it was too windy and that the final race would be cancelled and the season was over. I was a bit upset abut that, gave him an earful and hardly ever spoke to the him for a number of years.

Later, I had a Lightning and we competed in some local fun races on Thursday evenings. I recruited a couple of crew from work, neither of who had sailed before, so my expectations were quite low. It was quite windy and we were going to windward with the two crew seated and me in the hiking straps. A gust hit us and I leaned back to counteract the boat heeling and suddenly saw both my feet up in the air in front of me. It turns out my hiking strap had broken and I flipped backwards out of the boat into the water but still had hold of the mainsheet and tiller. The boat turned away from the wind and that made it heel even more! The work colleague sitting next to me reached down, grabbed me by the collar and hauled me into the boat in one fell swoop, probably more from fright and adrenaline than anything else. We stopped and got reorganized and then continued on our merry way.

One of my most memorable outings was with my BIL. They had stopped over for dinner and cards one beautiful warm summer night and as we were walking them to the car about 10 pm and I noticed that it was a beautiful moonlit night and we had a moderate wind. I looked at BIL (who likes to sail) and said "Gee, it would be a real nice night for a sail". Before I knew it we were out on the water in my O'Day Daysailer, going dead downwind and wung out with the full moon right between the mainsail and the jib... now that was really cool.

My most recent acquisition is a small 14' Trac catamaran that is a lot of fun, though I turtled it two seasons ago and needed to wait for help to get it upright. I've watched video of Lasers with foil kits on them and those looked like a lot of fun.

See below...the foiled Laser blows past a conventional laser at about the 2 minute mark of the video.
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Old 12-22-2014, 04:41 PM   #4
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See below...the foiled Laser blows past a conventional laser at about the 2 minute mark of the video.
Loved that!... reminded me of a book that was written in the late 1950's about a 60 MP sailboat (hydrofoil)... It was a theoretical about a work in progress... Can't find references to it, but may have been written by Moorewood or Moorehood.

I had a plywood Sunfish, and used to crew on different boats... best friend had a Lightning. Living in New England, there were many many boatyards and Narragansett Bay and Newport were wonderful places to sail. Lots of Yacht Clubs and many Class races.

My folks lived in Barrington RI, and we were regular boaters in the Bay all summer. next town over is Bristol R.I.... home of Herreshoff Sails... here's a link to an interesting place that operates there today.
Herreshoff Designs, Inc. - Yacht Design, Engineering, and Management
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Old 12-22-2014, 04:52 PM   #5
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One day my cousin and I were out water skiing on a local lake here in MN. We heard a couple of kids yelling to us, so we made our way over. Their ~16’ sailboat was upside down. The kids, a brother and sister, were like 12 and 13 or so. Pretty young.

They wanted us to help turn the boat upright so they could go back to their house on the other side of the lake. The boy asked for a rope, and we were going to pull the rope with our boat and right the sailboat.

There are always a lot of cables, ropes and other items to get tangled up under the water. The kid took the rope and dived in. The water was still a bit cold, as the sun was not out. I swear he was under the water for a minute and a half, maybe longer. My cousin and I were wondering if we should jump in and bring up his body, or should we wait for a bit longer. We didn't want to get tangled up either. We didn't want to die trying to save him, and it was his boat.

All of a sudden, the kid popped up and said, “All set”. We pulled the rope and up righted the sailboat. Just like the original plan. We then towed the boat back to their dock. I thought for sure the kid was a goner.
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Old 12-22-2014, 06:51 PM   #6
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Here is my son's sailing club when he was in college: https://www.csum.edu/web/support/sywoc2


We chartered a sailboat one summer, the folks at the rental office looked at my motley family and asked if we knew how to sail. I looked over at their magazine rack and pulled out the current edition of Latitutde 38 with son's picture on the cover (along with the other sailing team members - they had just won the San Francisco - Santa Catilina race in their class). Son took great pride in beating UC Berkley and Stanford with their new boat with Kevlar sails. The guy asked for his school ID and said "I think you can handle the boat." Scared the heck out of me when we sailed back from Friday Harbor to Anacondas racing ahead of a storm - the hull was caveating.
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Old 12-22-2014, 08:20 PM   #7
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When I attended the US Naval Academy back in the 1970's, one of the first things we did was learn to sail in 27 foot knockabout sloops. As I recall, they had 1100 lb lead keels, so it was impossible to capsize them, although we swamped them many times. After we learned the basics, we crewed on 44 foot Luders yawls farther out in Chesapeake Bay.

When I was first dating the young college girl to whom I have been married for the past 31 years, she took me one weekend to her family summer house in Seaside Park, NJ, where I met her father for the first time. Knowing that I was a recent USNA grad and had learned how to sail there, he suggested that I take his daughter out on Barnegat Bay in his sailboat - a 16 foot centerboard day-sailer. Things started out well enough, but a squall came up while we were out, I had the mainsail trimmed too tight and we capsized. We got the boat righted, but were unable to get the water out. Eventually, a friendly soul in a power boat towed us back in, where my future FIL was waiting at the dock. It was embarrassing enough that I capsized his boat, but I had also lost my pants in the fiasco. I'm still slightly astounded that he let me marry his daughter after that episode.

I really enjoyed sailing and should have kept with it after the Navy, especially given that I now live on Long Island Sound, right next to a boatyard full of sailboats. Alas, I spent all my time working.
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Old 12-22-2014, 09:04 PM   #8
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Hobie 16s. First sailed one at Ocean Springs, MS, belonged to my roommate. We spent two summers on that boat when we weren't working, eating, or sleeping. Didn't know much about sailing, but we had fun hull-flying and generally messing around. We did enter one race, to Horn Island and back. We missed the first buoy, had to 360, ended up almost last in all three classes at Deer Island. We tried to point into the wind to follow the pack, but couldn't (our mast was counter-rotated, and we didn't notice). So, we fell off and figured we'd hit Horn in the middle, tack to the western tip where we were supposed to be going, and hopefully get there about the time the pack finished lunch and started back. We noticed a couple of other boats doing what we were doing, thought maybe they were having our problem too. Finally, here comes Horn over the horizon, and we're headed to the western tip. Arrived fourth overall, second in our class. Turns out the pack was following some guy from Mobile who didn't know where he was going... We did come in 2nd to last going back, though...

A few years later, I owned my own 16 in Cocoa Beach, FL. Would trailer it back and forth from the ocean to the Banana River, had a great time with that boat.

Years later, did a stint at Kwajalein Atoll. Did some pickup sailing with the handicap racers, but nothing else.

Now, I'm contemplating buying a used Sunfish to teach the grandkids the basics.
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Old 12-22-2014, 09:49 PM   #9
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DW was the big sailor in our family having spent many summers crewing on racing boats but she didn't see it as a relaxing past-time due to the intensity level of racing. When we acquired a cottage on the eastern side of Lake Huron with very reliable and predictable winds I got a little Hobie and we have been having great fun sailing for the past 10 years. All the kids have learned to sail and seem to enjoy it. The Hobie is very stable and fast and quite durable thankfully.
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Old 12-23-2014, 04:54 AM   #10
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I learned to sail on a laser, but quickly found I was a cat guy buying my first Hobie 18 used. That followed with a Nacra 18sq, Hobie 14, Hobie 16, Holder 20(monohull). My sailing for the last 14 years has been under a kite. Too funny, I am building a hydrofoil board for my kitesurfing.
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Old 12-23-2014, 09:49 AM   #11
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Anyone remember the old Lightnings? Used to race them around these parts (North of Boston). Fast, hard-chined and heavy wood boat but so fun when the wind kicked up!
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Old 12-23-2014, 10:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitesurfer2 View Post
I learned to sail on a laser, but quickly found I was a cat guy buying my first Hobie 18 used. That followed with a Nacra 18sq, Hobie 14, Hobie 16, Holder 20(monohull). My sailing for the last 14 years has been under a kite. Too funny, I am building a hydrofoil board for my kitesurfing.

I used to have a 16' Prindle and a Nacra 5.5. Loved both the boats especially the Nacra. Spent a lot of time sailing in Long Beach, CA. Always good and consistent winds in the afternoon just up until sunset. Back in the late 80's and 90's the beach used to be packed with catamarans on the weekends but once windsurfers came along the cat's seemed to have died out and the windsurfers took over. Now I see a lot of kite surfers along the beachs. That seems exciting but I am not sure how my back would handle something like that.


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Old 12-23-2014, 12:49 PM   #13
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Great thread. We used to go to this small county lake, no powerboats allowed. For some reason DW wanted a sailboat, neither of us had even been sailing. We bought this little thing smaller than a sunfish, one step up from ones that were just Styrofoam it was coated in abs plastic. Maybe 10' we paid $100(?).

We actually cartopped it on a VW Bug.

Our first day no one was out except one guy that really knew what he was doing, the winds were probably gusting close to 40mph. It was the only time that water patrol checked us out. Our permit wasn't coated in plastic yet. The officer said it would be ok this one time to leave it in the bug. He asked about our experience, reponded none. He was concerned and warned us of the high winds. He insisted that we put on our life jackets as we would need them. Course we were 20 yo and industructible, but did put them on.

Got on the lake and before we knew it were almost at the other side. I turned the rudder, unknowingly tried to jibe in these winds. Boat capsized and DW and I were dumbfounded. The guy that was sailing started yelling to grab the centerboard and roll it upright. I figured out what he meant and we are climbing back in. As soon as we were in, another capsize, and another.

Despite the life jackets we were getting pretty tired. DW spotted a bunch of canoes coming towards us to. I realized it was a troop of Boy Scouts coming to help us! Oh the embarrassment. One last time up I managed to drop sail and help DW in. Used the centerboard as a paddle. We declined the Boy Scouts offer to pull us in out of embarrassment. Should have accepted we were beat.

Before we went out again I got a book that explained the basics. Great fun when you knew what you were doing. We bad a couple bigger boats including a Hobie. Fun for the dollar, that little plastic covered boat beat everything else.

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Old 12-23-2014, 12:54 PM   #14
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That is a great story about sailing... and 20-year-olds!
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Old 12-23-2014, 12:54 PM   #15
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Another fan of windy waters here. We have a little Cape Dory 27 that is a load of fun but not too fast. We live inland and do most of our sailing these days on the Columbia River - lots of wind and tight spaces; it's quite challenging in a "bull in a china shop sort of way".

Getting her moved from the coast was an interesting challenge - big truck here:

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Old 12-23-2014, 02:18 PM   #16
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Fun to read the adventures.

I may have posted this in the past.
Anyway... age 23 in the early 1960's we lived in Vineyard Haven. For those who aren't familiar with Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod, here's a map of the town.
An excellent destination for travelers.
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Vi...bca78ff74952e1
We Lived on Main Street in the 1720 house, for which we paid a rent of $95/month. Today in July and August you can rent it for a full week, for only $8400. The 1720 House - Home
Anyway, we "docked" our Sunfish at the VH Yacht Club beach for free, and with two young sons, aged 2 and 4, would sail out of the harbor, under the Beach Road bridge... where I had to demast the sail and float thru at ebb tide, remast, and then go into Lagoon Pond, where we'd net for scallops. Received many dirty looks for having two babies in the footwell of a sunfish, but they could both swim like fish, so never to worry. . If we missed the tide, going back, would have to beach the boat, and walk back home.

Too many stories to relate all, (as sailing to Edgartown in a gale), but the best story involved my BIL, who was not exactly an "natural" sailor. A few quick lessons, and he decided he could handle the boat. I was still working then so, thinking he'd be ok in calm waters, went back to the store. Three hours later, I came home to my frantic DW, who announced that her brother was nowhere in sight. Just as we were ready to call the coast guard, we received a call from Jack, who... unable to tack, sailed over the ferry route all the way to Woods Hole, where the MV Ferry docks. He got some help to load the boat on to the ferry, and took the 6PM trip back to Vineyard Haven, where he waved (happily) from the rail, to us waiting on shore. He paid a "car" fare for the Sunfish.

One more... DW and I were sailing around the Woods Hole, and got caught in the rocky narrows between Uncatena and Nonamesset Islands... a terrifying spot to be at spring tide with an opposite high wind. Couldn't move forward or back, and sharp rocks on both side, with some of the narrows, less than 10 feet wide. We were hung up there, for 2 hours, desperately tacking, tacking, tacking, only to be left at the same point with each tack. We lost one of our nine lives on that memorable day.

Duh... which reminded me of another time, with a different BIL, who lived next to the Cape Cod Canal. We were in his gaff rigged Eagle, sailing with the outgoing tide, when we realized the tide was changing and we were headed out to sea... That beautiful Herreshoff Boat
http://sailboatdata.com/viewrecord.asp?class_id=5924was a terrible sailor, and almost impossible to run close hauled, so again, we we caught in irons... tacking back and forth, trying to go back, and making no progress. In the midst of this, as we were mid canal, suddenly, a few hundred yards away from our almost stationary boat, rose... out of the deep.... a huge submarine. Mid canal, with no headway, with this monstrous black vessel headed right at us. Very close call. Just one of so many stories that all sailors have experienced.
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Old 12-23-2014, 02:39 PM   #17
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My dad had a pacific cat (predecessor to the Hobie) when we were growing up. He used to race it with my older sister as first mate. I remember hanging off the trapeze as we rocketed past Point Loma. Sometimes the wind was strong enough he'd have himself and all 3 of us kids hanging off the edge so we could go fast and not capsize.

He had us all take sailing classes - first basic classes in Sabots - then more advanced classes at Mission Bay Aquatic Center.

In college I got college credit for Phys Ed (required) for taking a Hobie Cat sailing class. I used to tease a friend of mine when I'd show up after that class to an engineering class - and empty the sand out of my sneakers... after he'd spent the afternoon in the library.

My kids are comfortable sailing lasers and hobies.

What's the point of living someplace like San Diego if you don't take advantage of sailing, surfing/boogie boarding, walking on the beach, etc...
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Old 12-23-2014, 02:48 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Anyone remember the old Lightnings? Used to race them around these parts (North of Boston). Fast, hard-chined and heavy wood boat but so fun when the wind kicked up!
I owned an old Lightning for a few years. Great fun. I recall one time a friend and I were out on it with a couple young women on a nice day and my date took off her bikini top under her t-shirt to be more comfortable. For giggles, I attached it to the spinnaker halyard and hoisted it to the top of the mast.

Later, it hit me that when the spinnaker is up I could pull down on the spinnaker to get it down, but I had no such option with the bikini top. The next day I beached the boat and tipped it on its side to retrieve the bikini top (it was easier than taking down the mast).

That was the boat I referred to in a previous post that the hiking straps broke on me during a race and I went heels over head into the lake.
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Old 12-23-2014, 03:32 PM   #19
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Wow, haven't heard of Tech Dingies in forever. Learned to sail while in college in them.
Once owned a 14 ft daysailer, similar to a Laser but can't recall the name, but after about 5 years, it slowly became a garage queen so sold it off. The area I lived in didn't have reliable wind during the hot summers.
Lido 14 ?
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Old 12-23-2014, 10:30 PM   #20
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The 'sunfish in the wind' stories remind me of my own. During the Mississippi sailing time, I was approached by a girl I knew to take her sailing. I queried my roommate about using the Hobie 16, but he was going to be taking it to Florida for the weekend. So, I figured we could just go to the Navy marina at Gulfport and rent a sunfish. Never sailed one before, and the wind that day was howling, short story is that we just spent the morning turning it turtle and righting it in the basin, and drifted into the yacht club moorings. Folks eating lunch on a boat hauled my friend aboard, gave her a ride back to the marina, and loaned me a paddle to make my sorry way back across the basin...

'Bout a month later, a fellow I worked with asked me to take his daughter sailing. This time, my roommate let me take the Hobie. We were out in the sound just flying hull and tacking around, and she said, "Glad you know what your're doing. I was at the Gulfport Yacht Club a month ago, and this poor schlub in a sunfish..."
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