Do you have activities and things that you look back fondly that “you did that”? Being involved in outdoor activities like Scouts, always brings me back to the activities that I did in “younger” me (body, not mind. i’m still 24 in my mind). Sailing is one of those activities.
Growing up in and on the water, sailing didn’t come into my world until late in high school/college. I always had a friend that had a boat, so anything we could do to sneak away and be on the water, was time well spent. From small 20 foot Catalina’s to larger trimaran’s, sailing is where it’s at.
In college, I got hooked on racing. We raced Olson 30’s out of the Santa Cruz Yacht Club, in Santa Cruz California. We tacked out of the lagoon mouth or if we were lucky got a quick tow. The race usually went to Davenport and back. The weekly races for bragging rights brought happiness (and bruises) to a young lady that just needed to be out on the water.
Olson’s really need a crew of 6. Not that the boat is complicated to sail, but you need the weight to keep the boat down in the water when you are pushing her boundaries. As the wind and speed heel you over, our butts would hang off the opposite side, waiting for the captain’s call that we would tack soon.
GoPro’s video of the week was the US team sponsored by Oracle and Red Bull competing for the 2013 America’s Cup race. The race has it’s origins back to 1851. The best US schooners would race against the British best. The race turned into an every 3-4 year event. The American’s dominated the race for over 100 years. That is, until the Aussie’s took the cup in 1983. This is the year (I was a sophomore in high school) that I first learned about the Cup’s existence. My friend Cass has a cool t-shirt with a koala holding up a wrench in victory.
The Ausie’s broke the 132 year record for sailing in the cup!! And so started the modern sailing controversy. In 1983 it was the Aussie II’s keel. WAS IT LEGAL??? Oddly enough the keel’s design wan’t the problem but the origin of the design. The rules say that the boat’s design must be by the competing country. And it is alleged, but not proven, that the Aussie keel was designed by a Dutch teem. Hmmmmm. A technicality???
Now remember. The Cup had been hosted only in America until Australia II took it. The winning team’s yacht club then hosts the next race. So for 132 years, the race had only been on the East Coast. New York and Newport. From there it went to Fremantle AU. Why wouldn’t there be controversy, no matter who designed the blasted thing, ehhh???
But step back a moment and think about the technology break throughs that were occurring in boat design, let alone in race design. Applying modern science to weight, drag and optimizing wind was not just in how the “keel” looked.
In 1988, Dennis Conner, with the Stars & Stripes, brought the Cup back to the States and the San Diego Yacht Club. This is the year that groups really began pushing the boundaries of what type of boat would be raced. Length. Mast height. Hull. Technology, and pride, pushed teams to do things they never thought could be done before.
1988 was the first year I got to see an America’s Cup boat up close. Family friends belonged to the club and we got to see the Stars & Stripes up close. It was a catamaran.
So now??? Sailing is done by professionals. They wear helmets. I am sure I could have used one of those brain buckets before one my my many concussions. Needless to say, the boats are still awesome and it makes me want to sail. Now. Even in Kansas. Hey we have to have a lake and wind somewhere. Right?
I hope you enjoy the GoPro clip. Footage is great.