A nice week with 82 snipes Brazilian championship, on the water you have 9 world titles among others medalists. Brazil will held the World Cup, Snipe, next year at Ilhabela. Beach close to São Paulo, and about 300 km from Rio. - Anarchist Henrique...

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The 3rd RS Aero World Championships is set to enjoy the Australian summer as a climatic end to the 2019...

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The island Saaremaa in Estonia, announced last Saturday as DN European Championship venue, was hit by a snow storm on...

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more rigs, no rigs….

Does this Laser/Olympic shit show ever end?


ILCA is aware that photos and videos of some developmental rigs for use with the Laser hull as well as portions of a recent media release from Laser Performance have led to quite a bit of questioning, speculation, and information (as well as misinformation) swirling around the internet.


ILCA would like to share with our members the class perspective on some of these matters


First, ILCA has no plans to replace or remove any of our existing classes. The 4.7, Radial and Standard classes will continue as always with controlled, incremental evolution and development aimed at improving longevity, increasing the ease of use and reducing the cost of ownership.


Second, any new rigs that are in development are not proposed for inclusion in the Olympic reevaluation or sea trials. It is the existing Standard and Radial rigs that ILCA is working to have retained for the Olympic Games. The one proposed change at this time is a new composite Radial lower mast that is in development with an introduction planned so as not to conflict with the 2020 Olympics. The composite Radial lower mast is intended to eliminate any permanent bending issues seen in some aluminum masts and therefore reduce the cost of owning, maintaining and racing the Laser Radial.


Third, consistent with ILCA’s past practice, any new rigs for the Laser hull will only become class legal equipment after thorough testing and widespread evaluation in conjunction with the ILCA Technical Officer, the ILCA Technical and Measurement Committee and with the approval of World Sailing.   Read on.


We are working through some bugs - duh - but just a quick reminder to check out the daily Sailing News feature on the upper right, remember that the three articles on the top are all clickable, and always scroll...

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doing it again

Ronan Lucas, team manager and skipper Armel Le Cléac’h Team Banque Populaire. | THOMAS BRÉGARDIS
The racing team off Popular Bank, based in Lorient, today confirmed the construction of a new maxi-trimaran Ultimate, following the loss of Popular Bank IX, skippered by Armel Le Cléac’h, November 6 last in the Route du Rhum. For Ouest-France, Ronan Lucas, Team Director, discusses the causes of the capsizing and details the new project that leads the skipper and his team until 2024.

The racing team off Banque Populaire installed in Lorient, announced the construction of a new maxi-trimaran Ultimate after capsizing and loss of sailboat racing Banque Populaire IX. Interview with Ronan Lucas, the team director who returns to the capsizing of the boat, and the project team.

Ronan Lucas, what can you remove as explanations of what capsize November 6?

It is not obvious to know. If we knew exactly what happened, it would be almost easy. Today, we know that we put in work to make it not happen again. For 15 years that we are on the circuit, there has never been a major break, this is the first damage to that order. We, when we built a boat like this, we used two structure of firms. The entire boat passes in the mill computers and then all the sensitive points are independently reviewed by another firm of calculation, to see if there is no inconsistency. We spent all our boats, from Banque Populaire V in these belays, and I think it is one of the few racing teams to do so. Our goal is to never take a risk to the marine and boating. And on Banque Populaire IX, we were extremely confident about the strength of the boat.

After the first capsize?

No, upstream in the building. Then we did a bunch of tests, many resorted to experts during construction and after the launching. Our expert, Emmanuel Le Borgne passes twice a year on the boat and expertise all sensitive parts: the mast arms, appendages … And that’s what was done after the first capsize. They had gone even further, opening his arms, opening the composite to see inside. And nothing was found! Just a little trick on a rear arm, which had been repaired. But nothing on the arm before anyone suspected of having sold! So we left extremely serene on the Route du Rhum.

“A shock at the arm before” You had tested the boat in rough conditions?

Since the catch and release of the boat this summer Armel had one thing in mind, that to go sailing in the breeze and the sea, to test the boat. And during training rides, where we shot, we checked again, the floats and the rest of the boat. We could not imagine that there would be a failure before leaving. And yet there was this case.

Route du Rhum 201811th edition DépartArmel The Ultimate in Le Cléac’h Route du Rhum The 201,811th edition DépartArmel Le Cléac’h in Ultimate | Joel Le Gall
You say imagine?

Yes, because we do not know. Today, there is even a third firm computing structures which expertise on behalf of insurance, and which, at that time, did not find anything on the recovered parts in the calculations, and in the implementation method.

So what conclusion do you draw?

So … we imagine that this is an external event that damaged the maxi trimaran, which has made it is weakened and the breaks arm. And that, between the small depression Monday afternoon, after which Armel has checked the boat, and Tuesday noon at the break. Today, no other ideas than that.

It is therefore the arm that broke, and not float …

Yes, at first it is the information that we had, because the float was blocked. But, having got to speak with Armel seen pictures, we now imagine this is the starboard bow arm broke, due to a shock, then the second rear arm, but it’s all in seconds. It was an accident that makes it insane chain of losses behind.

“Impact with a log”
And at no time, you do not say that architectural firms have underestimated the design or the strength of the boat structure?

No. Look at the boat that is there (he shows thereby Macif window at the dock), it was the same arm as him. And he has crossed the Atlantic without problems. We will ensure in the future create other arm structures that will ensure that when there is a break, it avoids capsizing and endangered marine. But I do not think that what is done today is anything. The new Ultimate steal, certainly, are often in contact with water, it is faster, but the boats are instrumented today. We know exactly, at time T, what power grows in the foil … and that it corresponded to what is obtained by calculations. And what was built instead grows 20% less than had been imagined. So the calculation chain is not déconnante.

The arm before port side. Internship multihull class of Ultim off Fouesnant, a month of departure of the Route du Rhum.A board Ultim Banque Populaire skipper Armel Le Cléac’h The arm before port side. Internship multihull class of Ultim off Fouesnant, a month of departure of the Route du Rhum.A board Ultim Banque Populaire skipper Armel Le Cléac’h | Thomas Brégardis
And you do not know what has hit in the arm for the damage?

No, Armel and heard nothing as shock. This is not a container that did it. Besides, it’s probably not a shock that occurred at the time of breaking the arm, but before. One can imagine an impact with a log that makes it damaged, gradually weakening it … and at some point break, it is brutal. The conditions were not easy, but it was still manageable. We’ve all sailed in 40 to 50 knots of wind, but it is not the Love Boat either.

What to do about that?

Perhaps arm bars that stand for themselves, for a planned refit impacts … but do not be too innovative and take new risks.

Say insurance?

The pre-report that they have made is very favorable for us. And they understood that it is not to play me or Armel or guys from the design office. If you say to me you can do 10 knots more, but there is a risk … I would answer: we do not. I do not care that Banque Populaire do 100 or 200 kilos more, this is not the speech of our team. We have no right to take risks. But while saying this, we must admit that a thing has happened, and we do not really know anything, so we will strengthen, we will do everything to make it not happen again. For even if we got caught a log, even with a damaged fairing, the arm should not fart like that. It must remain sufficiently operating in its structure, so that we can get out of a situation.

“A new multi, a bit better”
And now, you’ll do what?

We will make a beautiful maxi-trimaran to leave! A beautiful maxi. The key question was: do Armel feels. And that was essential. Because this is not the type of boat where one is going backwards. And if he says, I sense, so

And you, you feel Armel?

I know him. I can see how he uses the boat. I see the vista it has, and it’s very impressive!

Internship multihull class of Ultim off Fouesnant, a month of departure of the Route du Rhum.A board Ultim Banque Populaire skipper Armel Le Cléac’h Cléac’hArmel the winch Internship multihull class of Ultim off Fouesnant, a month of departure of the Route du Rhum.A board Ultim Banque Populaire skipper Armel Le Cléac’h Cléac’hArmel the winch | Thomas Brégardis
So restart building an Ultimate?

Yes. It is in this process one, which is already launched. And, we have the chance to re-build something because it’s a chance. Many partners would have thrown in the towel. And, honestly, I think that Banque Populaire has not asked the question. They have us, of course, asked questions, but they know that we have not done anything. So, as we have the chance to play again, we will try to make a boat, a bit better still. There are two years, we wondered if such a boat could fly, now we know.

This is a boat built on the same basis as Banque Populaire IX?

We work with different architects, even if everything is not stalled. But we will work with VPLP, and others to the appendices. The constraints that we have, is to use the molds of the floats possibly arms molds without making the same structure. It looks as mussels and structure of existing vessels, as the arms of Macif, for example. There were more questions than answers. But we do not start from a blank page. It will have a chassis base BP IX, but the foils will not be collocated, the mast is more, appendages have a different form.

When will it be under construction?

There, in the spring, for pure construction, the first carbon folds will be installed in March. The idea is to be in the water, the end of 2020, early 2021. 18 months of construction. But we want to take the time to do it right.

Compensated at the price of the boat
Banque Populaire gives you the same financial envelope?

Yes, anyway, a boat like that it’s always the same envelope. Just over € 10 million. Here you do not pay the mussel floats, because we already have them.

You have not recovered from the old boat?

Not almost nothing. And the parts that we have recovered are the property insurance, as the boat will be considered a total loss. Eventually it will buy parts for the insurance, but at the margin.

Where are you, exactly, with insurance?

We’ll see what it will pay us. We are confident to date that we rule the entire incident. The boat is insured for X, and touch this X amount which almost corresponds to the actual price of the boat.

This is good news for your sponsor …

Yes, and this is what can help revive a beautiful project.

Thanks to Ouest West

pool before you

A nice piece of imagination  and thinking outside the box from Glenmore Sailing Club in Alberta especially as the outside temperature is more conducive to Ice Yachting right now with temperatures of around -7C right now. Just shows what can be done by even a small club to promote or continue interest in our sport out of season with a bit of effort. Excellent initiative.

It reminds me of when, back in the day the Paris Salon Boat Show used to have Indoor Yachting at Versey although on a much bigger pool and budget. It was even televised on Eurosport much to the delight of those sailing fans starved of coverage of our sport back then – way before the advent of Youtube of course.

If you can find it on line it may bring a smile to your face given the youthful look of Sir Russel Coutts and Peter Gilmour with even rules guru Dave Dellenbaugh in the mix. See, he doesn’t just write about the rules .

Some pretty aggressive match racing to boot. Apologies about the quality of the screen grab, this was way before HDTV. – SS.




Major developments have come to the fore in the past weeks relating to the Laser – so far the most successful one-design sailboat ever, with the Optimist. These developments, including the announcement of not less than 5 new rigs, come at a time when the Laser is being evaluated against 3 other single-handed dinghies for the 2024 Olympics.

These developments are complex and hard to fully understand. Yet one thing is clear is that the thousands and thousands of Laser sailors around the world have not been consulted. Those in charge of the class, along with the manufacturers, are making decisions that, although in theory well-intended,  may have huge repercussions, including adverse ones. The Laser is at the crossroads.

The future of the Laser is in fact at stake. So the message of this article is that it’s time to pull the plug, to put all these 5 new rigs and other changes on the back burner until the Olympic future of the Laser is known, for the class to reconnect with its membership, and then to make the right decisions for the class, will it remain Olympic or not.

What did we learn in the past weeks?

three new rigs have been announced in Australia – called C5, C7 and C8 – intended to ultimately replace the 4.7, the Radial and the Standard — these rigs have been in development for several years by Julian Bethwaite, who was also behind the design of the 29er and the 49er. The publicly available pictures and videos of the c5 rigs show lots of resemblance with the 29er: no vang but a gnav instead; an apparently non-adjustable outhaul, a mylar sail; and carbon/composite mast and booms. The prices of these rigs have been announced respectively at AUS$ 2,000; 2,600 and 3,600.

Two additional new rigs have been announced by Laser Performance (USA/UK), which is the dominant Laser manufacturer in the world. They are called the ARC rigs – intended to ultimately replace the Radial and the Standard. Little is known about those rigs except some pictures taken of apparently carbon masts along with laminate sails made by Doyle, in New England. The pricing for those rigs is unknown, but they are supposed to go on the market as early as in May 2019.

The Australian manufacturer is also working on a new composite bottom mast section for the current Radial rig, with an extra cost of some AUS$560 compared to an aluminum section).

The International Laser Class Association (ILCA), via his President, Professor Tracy Usher, is seen on videos about the C5 rig advocating for such rig changes and asserting that there is no future for the Laser with white sails and aluminum spars. ILCA has been closely associated with the development of the C5, C7 and C8 rigs, but not the ARC rigs.

other issues include the negative impacts of Brexit, an unsigned 2020 Olympic contract, an expiring licence to operate for ILCA ending August 2019, perverse impacts of litigation issues, lack of agreement on intellectual property rights, requests to move ILCA to the UK and appoint new staff, and the list goes on
expected sea trials of the Laser, along with the D-Zero, Melges 14 and RS Aero, under the auspices of World

Sailing, will be held in the coming months to  determine which boat will be Olympic in 2024, potentially replacing the Laser Standard for men, and the Laser Radial for women.

How the Laser became the Dominant Single-Handed Dinghy World-Wide

The Laser became Olympic for men in 1996 (Standard rig) and for women in 2008 (Radial rig). The class was already successful, as developed as an affordable strict one-design car toppable boat. Over 200,000 units have been produced, which makes it, along with the Optimist, the most successful dinghy ever produced.

While the Laser was a logical choice for a single-handed strict one-design Olympic class at that time, the situation today is very different. The Laser has indeed competitors, including the three boats that are in contention to replace it for the Paris 2024 games. These boats have all been designed within the past 10 years, compared to a Laser design that is now 50 year old. These new designs improve substantially on the Laser, both regarding the hull and the rig, and are widely seen as better, and obviously faster, boats than the Laser.

Today, the main force of the Laser lies with the large number of sailors sailing it worldwide, particularly youth sailors, and with its Olympic status. The Olympic goal is indeed key to the sailing career of junior sailors. Olympic campaigns take several years. It can take 4, 6, 8 years or more to reach the top 10 in the world. With the Laser, an Opti sailor dreaming to go to the Olympics has a clear single-handed path forward. First, he/she will jump into the 4.7, then transition to the Radial, and for male athletes, to the Standard.

The system is far from being flawless, however, as many female athletes don’t ever reach the 150 lbs or so needed to sail the Radial. Some male athletes don’t reach the 180 lbs needed to sail the Standard, and others will exceed say 190 lbs, and then the only avenue for them is the Finn – which is presently withdrawn as an Olympic class for 2024, although this may not be final yet. But despite these flaws, the Laser system works pretty well and is a key to the continued popularity of the class with youth sailors.

While the very top sailors need to change equipment very regularly, as the Laser hull is not lasting more than 1 or 2 years before it gets softer, there is lots of breakage of spars, and sails are not very long-lasting, many junior sailors will sail several years with the same hull. And then the transition from the 4.7 to the Radial, and then to the full rig, are not particularly expensive, as only the mast bottom sections and the sails need to be changed. Despite the relatively low longevity of the hulls at the top competitive level, the boats presently keep a decent resale value. So overall, the system works reasonably well, despite a range of pitfalls.

As an indicator of how the system reasonably works, one can mention the huge fleets competing for events such as the Junior 4.7 and Radial Europeans and Worlds. One talks about 300, 400 or even more entries at such events. This is huge, and actually much bigger than what the Optimist, the Europe, the 29er, the 420 and any other class is able to achieve. While initially not intended as a junior boat, the Laser is now fulfilling that role more than any other dinghy.

This was not at all an instant success. There was hard work involved, spread over decades, to introduce and popularize the Radial, and then the 4.7. Such work happened mostly in Europe, in France, Italy, UK. In other countries such as the USA and Canada, efforts were geared towards the Radial, not the 4.7, and Laser sailing therefore mostly involves the Radial and the Standard in North America.

It’s worth commenting here about older – say 40 year old+ – master sailors. At the club level, the Laser remains popular, and non-class, much more affordable equipment (sails at US$150 for example, instead of US$600 when class legal) helps keep these fleets reasonably alive. For the competitive master sailors, there are obviously a range of master regattas organized by the Laser class.

But that’s where there has been somewhat lower participation. Indeed, boats such as the D-Zero, Melges 14 and RS Aero have mostly attracted, until now, master sailors. These boats are typically bought by previous Laser owners, who prefer a more modern, lighter, more reliable, faster design, with carbon spars, and with better ergonomics than the Laser. There is also competition from other single-handed platforms such as the foiling Waszp.

It’s important to note that several of these new designs typically support a higher sailor weight than the Laser – allowing sailors say of 190 to 200 lbs to participate without being automatically relegated to the back of the fleet. This is of particular importance with the highly uncertain future of the Finn as an Olympic class and the consequent de facto exclusion from the Olympics of the male sailors over 190 lbs, for whom there are no suitable Olympic dinghy to sail.  Also, the lighter hulls of the Laser alternatives make their small rig, such as the Aero 5, attractive to adult light weight female sailors. The 4.7 is indeed a junior class, and the Radial rig is simply too powerful for most women.

Implications of the Upcoming 2024 Olympics Decision on the Laser

World Sailing announced on May 25th 2018 its intention to proceed with a review of the equipment – i.e. the boat – for the single-handed dinghy for the 2024 Olympics. It published tender documents with a range of criteria which the various candidates would be evaluated against. On October 4, it announced that there were 4 contenders that would be recommended to undertake trials: the Melges 14, the D-Zero, the RS Aero, in addition to the Laser.

What World Sailing is looking at is what it termed to be a universal single-handed dinghy, like the Laser, which works for both male and female sailors, with different rigs. With the current approach of World Sailing, either the Laser is maintained, or it is completely replaced by one of the 3 other dinghies. A different approach could have been taken, with different equipments for male and female sailors, but that did not occur. So, in 2024, it will be the Laser Standard for male athletes and the Laser Radial for female athletes, possibly with other rigs than the current ones, or it will be one of the three other boats, with a different rig for male and female athletes. The Laser stays or it goes: World Sailing has not envisaged a soft exit strategy.

When the Laser became an Olympic class, the Olympics needed it. Today, one can argue that the Laser may need the Olympics to remain a meaningful class. Let’s imagine what will likely happen if the Laser loses its Olympic status. It will mean that all the sailors seeking to go to the Olympics, or aspiring to do so in future years – will opt for the dinghy selected for the Olympics. A big share of the top senior sailors – typically aged 18 to 25 /30, male and female, will opt for this new dinghy.

Don’t forget, top Laser sailors change hull very regularly, so moving to another dinghy is really not much of an issue. Today, the price differential between the Laser and its competitors is from negative to relatively small. For example, in Europe, the price of the D-Zero, is slightly lower than the price of the Laser. The purchase price of the Aero and M-14 are just a bit higher.

The three new designs have already modern rigs with carbon spars, while the Laser is still struggling to update its spars and sails, adding every time costs to the process. For top sailors, abandoning the Laser is expected to be a near instantaneous process. The top sailors will probably draw the medium level sailors in the process, as those typically sail in the very demanding senior fleets with the objective to improve and ultimately become top sailors themselves.

Now what about the other sailors. Let’s check first with the Master sailors. Most of them typically keep their hulls a longer time, and may be less harsh on their equipment, using for example less vang. Those who still sail competitively today in the Laser Master series have resisted so far to move to one of the three competitors, which have attracted, as indicated previously, mostly master Laser sailors.

So one can anticipate that there will continue to be master sailors in the Laser, but those are not the sailors who consume that many hulls, spars and sails. And they represent a smaller group compared to the juniors and the seniors. And for the casual club sailors, who can sail on hulls that are 10, 20 or even 30 years old, the widespread usage of non-class cheaper equipment, particularly non-class sails, also suggests that they will do little in terms of generation of sales of Laser boats, sails and parts.

For the Junior sailors, things may be different. In Europe, and in a range of countries, the transition path from say the Optimist to the 4.7 and the Radial are very well established. As there would certainly be shortages of boats in the beginning, for say at least 1 or 2 years, in case of a replacement of the Laser, a likely scenario is that the Laser will be maintained for youth sailing, in the 4.7 and the Radial. Many youth Laser sailors actually sail second-hand boats, and there would be plenty of those, so that it could further strengthen Laser youth sailing, at least in the first years.

For the Laser to remain a well-established platform for youth sailing after say 2 or 3 years following the replacement of the Laser, critical conditions will need to be met. First, the Laser needs to fix its key problems, that are well known, both at the hull and the rig level. The boat must become much more durable, not loose performance after just one or two year. And the spars must stop breaking as frequently as presently. The hull must become truly reliable.

Second, the cost of the new Lasers will need to be kept under control, and kept cheaper than the competition. Remember, today, the price of a D-Zero, with an elaborate hull, carbon spars and laminate sail is similar as the Laser with mostly aluminum spars. The price of the M-14 and the Aero may be a bit higher, but this is quickly compensated by the savings done in terms of not having to replace the hull and various parts as regularly.

So the two key conditions to keep the Laser as a youth sailboat are a) to make it truly reliable, and b) cost-competitive. And it is not clear that it will be feasible. First, there will be reduced production, because less demand due to the switch to another single-handed dinghy for the 2024 Olympics. So there will be fewer economies of scale. Second, fixing the problems of the Laser may prove to be expensive. For example, the price announced for the new c8 rig in Australia is AUS$3,600 which may mean adding US$1,000 to US$2,000 to the existing retail price of the Laser.

This would make the Laser even more costly. And third, there is the issue of the location where Lasers are being manufactured – UK, Japan and Australia. These are three high factor cost countries. For the UK, there are great uncertainties with Brexit – with possible tariffs on UK exports towards Europe, the US, Canada and other countries. And there are antitrust issues with the European Union on top of that. Plus issues of fluctuating exchange rates, Plus issues of disagreement among manufacturers, intellectual property questions, etc

If the Laser is not Olympic in 2024, its future is expected to mostly depend on youth sailing, and for that the boat must become a truly attractive choice for youth sailors, in terms of both quality and price. Otherwise, even youth sailors will lose interest in the Laser. So the current developments, with completely new rigs, and the potential of substantially adding to the price of the Laser, may be counter-productive.

There may be other ways to fix the Laser, that will help keep its price down, without disrupting the successful 4.7 and the Radial fleets, while making it an irresistible choice for youth sailors (and their parents footing the bills).

The other scenario of course is that the Laser remains Olympic. It’s hard to believe it could when one analyzes the various criteria set by World Sailing. See this article for details.  Indeed. the existing size of the fleet is not a criteria, and that’s about the only element in which the Laser clearly has an advantage in. The three competitors, although none is perfect, are largely better boats, because they are more modern designs that draw from decades of lessons learned from the Laser. There is more technology, know-how with those boats. The hulls are lighter, use composite and carbon. The rigs are modern. The sails have more modern designs and are reported to last longer. And production costs seem more in control than with the Laser – with 2 out of 3 production units located in lower production cost, yet EU / Euro Zone, countries.

Despite its weaknesses, many observers think that the Laser will remain Olympic for 2024. If that is the case, then the question of the rigs selected by World Sailing will be of critical importance. Right now, we have the Radial and the Standard, and those are in principle the ones to be used for the upcoming World Sailing sea trials. But the other options will be available, in theory, to World Sailing: c5, c7 and c8, which are supported, even if unofficially, by the Laser class ILCA, and the two ARC rigs developed by Laser Performance. For male sailors, World Sailing will have to choose between the current Standard, the c8 and the ARC-Standard rig. For female sailors, it will need to choose between the current Radial, the c5 (light weight), the c7 (medium weight) and the ARC-Radial.  World Sailing may require modifications to the rigs too. There is no way to say which rigs will be selected, if the Laser remains Olympic. And don’t forget, there is disagreement and intellectual property issues among manufacturers, which support different rigs, so that their global distribution may be problematic.

It’s Time to Unrig, to Take a Pause and to Reconnect with the Sailors

Today, after 50 years of service, the Laser is at the crossroads. Yes it will be Olympic in 2020. But its Olympic status in 2024 will define its future.

If the boat loses its Olympic status for 2024, it will need to become an irresistible choice for youth sailors in the next decades. Or the boat will possibly discontinued by its producers, as little demand is to be expected from senior and master sailors. Remember, the Laser II was discontinued while it was still pretty successful. What is needed is a more reliable and more cost-effective boat than today. For sure, an improved boat would be even better, and some new rigs would help in that regard. But such change must remain cost-effective, keep the Laser price below that of its competitors, and the membership of the class needs to be widely consulted before any choices are made, as this will deeply impact the class for the next decades.

So there is a strong case to take a pause and to wait for the 2024 Olympic decisions, instead of making hasty decisions and bringing new rigs and other features on the market – as already announced in Australia.

If the boat keeps its Olympic status for 2024, then it is likely to remain for a while the dominant boat for both senior and youth sailing. It will be critical to know what will be the changes to the Laser that will be required by World Sailing. This clearly includes which rigs are to be used at the 2024 Olympics, for both male and female athletes. At this point, this is unclear, and it would be normal for World Sailing to test the various rigs before making any decision. Actually, there should ideally be wide testing of the rigs by Laser class members. For Laser manufacturers and the class to promote new rigs, before the World Sailing sea trials and equipment decisions have been made, and before any wide testing and consultations with the class membership, seems highly unwise. It may actually be contrary to the very constitution of the Laser class.

Yes the Laser is at the crossroads. There is a strong case for the Laser class to take a pause, to reconnect with its membership, and to wait for the outcome of the trials and the World Sailing decision regarding the 2024 Olympics. It will then be time to make the tough, and hopefully wise, decisions for the future of the Laser, as an Olympic class or not.

Copyright Jean-Pierre Kiekens. The author is an engineer and an economist, having sailed the Laser back in the 70s as a junior sailor (picture) and in the past 10 years as a master sailor.  He regularly writes about youth and Olympic sailing.

40 boy!

At the beginning of this century there was a proliferation of new designs and new classes, all trying to find their niche in the growing competitive world of inshore big-boat racing. The last generation of offshore boats were no longer...

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college stuff

If fleet racing is a zen-like endeavor where sailors compete mainly against themselves while the opposition is a secondary consideration, team racing is a one-on-one match where your squad must work together in perfect harmony to take down the opponents....

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pool time!

The first event of the Glenmore Sailing Club's 60th anniversary year is "Indoor Sailing"… in January… in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This is an introduction to sailing event with a wall of industrial fans along the length of the pool providing...

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ya dare?

If at first you don’t succeed, sail, sail again. That’s the mantra of dinghy adventure sailor Ken Fowler who is back on the water with his latest “dizzy adventure”.  Back in 2017 he took his 12 foot RS Aero dinghy along the length of Great Britain, covering 865 miles of action filled sailing in his “Race To Scotland”. Fog banks, nuclear submarine exercises, giant whirlpools and surf beach landings typified the roller coaster ride of taking on this challenging route. Having pushed his body to the limit with 10-12 hour days in the dinghy he managed to raise a staggering £37,000 for two cancer charities. Most sailors would give themselves a pat on the back; say “Well done” and walk away feeling “Mission Accomplished”.  But not Ken.

For Ken and Yoda (his RS Aero dinghy) it was more a feeling of “Unfinished Business” having set themselves the target of raising £50,000 for cancer charities and come up short. So in order to finish the job Ken came up with the equally crazy idea of becoming the first dinghy to sail around all the islands in England and Wales. This turned out to be a bigger challenge than he thought, once he started discovering more and more islands!  So far the count is up to 183 islands and over 1000 miles of sailing – but who knows what the final totals might be?

The 183 islands vary in size from the 120 miles around Anglesey in Wales to the multitude of stunning “Caribbean”  islands of the Isles of Scilly, some of which are only around 30m in length! Each island has its own intriguing history such as “Deadman’s Island” – full of coffins and bones that are visible at low tide and the Napoleonic forts guarding the home of the British navy at Portsmouth.

The sailing is going to be challenging with multiple islands in the Severn estuary where the tidal range is 49 feet – about four times bigger than Ken’s dinghy. In other locations the islands are over 10 miles off shore or involve surf beach landings, so no day is going to be a straight forward one!

For some of the adventure Ken will be out there on his own travelling and living out of his 20 year old VW campervan as he travels between the launch sites. For some of the more challenging sections a support crew will follow his journey along the coastline and monitor his progress on GPS tracking. They will be in constant contact either by radio or phone.

Safety will be provided by emergency equipment on board and a GPS tracking his position at all times, which will be available live on the internet– a great way to follow the adventure.

You can find out more about his adventures by following him on Facebook at “Yodare”, on Twitter @goyodare and at www.yodare.co.uk where you can find out all about the amazing islands of England and Wales and follow his progress live on the “Where’s Ken”  GPS tracker.

So why not become an armchair adventurer, learn all about the amazing islands, their intriguing histories, and most importantly help raise money for two amazing charities.

Yodare – sailing to make a difference.


wally world

After months of negotiations, Italy’s Ferretti Group today announced that it has acquired the Wally yacht brand through an exclusive license agreement. The news will be officially presented at the start of boot Düsseldorf, which opens this weekend. “There has...

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ice crazy

We dig this. Normally a video this long wouldn't make it, but this is just fun. Thanks to Anarchist Jeff...

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a true tragedy

A fire broke out at the Mount Gay Distilleries in Barbados yesterday, with the blaze burning 150,000 gallons of alcohol in a storage tank before being brought under control by the local fire services.

The Rémy Cointreau-controlled rum brand confirmed that there had been a blaze at its St Lucy site yesterday (16 January).

The Barbados fire service received a call at 2:18pm local time after reports of an explosion.

Deputy chief fire officer Henderson Patrick told local media: “Arriving on the scene we discovered that it was an alcohol tank that was involved in the fire. The tank normally holds around 300,000 gallons of alcohol and we were informed that it was about half-full”.

are we missing something?

All that's left of Wild Oats XI today after its controversial Sydney-Hobart campaign is the keel and bulb, about to be shifted by crane to a quiet corner of Woolwich Dock. The facility in Sydney is owned by the Oatley...

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what kinda bullshit is this?

Who wants to a two-man Melges 24 in the Olympics for an offshore boat? Two people sailing it? On a boat that takes 5 to sail properly? Seriously, could this be a bigger waste of time? They want to "test...

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old ain’t bad

Your readers might get a kick out of this. The picture is of Steve Dashew sailing his C-Class catamaran in SoCal in 1968 with a double skin, asymmetrically trimmed mainsail- not miles different from the next Americas Cup mainsail configuration. Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously. The Herreshoffs patented most of the good ideas in the early 1900s and the C-Class sailors made a lot of them work. Today we have better funding, better materials and better tools for modeling, but not necessarily better ideas. – Anarchist Dan.

the kids are alright

Conditions for Saturday’s 33nm Cabrillo I Race around the Coronado Islands were about as bad as they could get. The forecast showed no wind. It was raining. It was cold. The course sailed into Mexican waters and without even stopping...

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ice scotw

Maureen Krueger Bohleber of Green Lake, WI, won the Nite Class division at the International Skeeter Association Regatta sailed on Lake Pepin in Lake City Minnesota on Jan 11-13. She is the first woman to hold an ISA title  its...

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final chapter?

Webb Chiles, 77, is about to sail from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, for Panama and San Diego, in GANNET, his ultralight Moore 24, to complete his sixth circumnavigation and her first.  Since leaving San Diego in 2014, GANNET’s daily runs total 25,028 miles.

Their intended course to Panama is east of the Bahamas and through the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti.

Webb Chiles has never had sponsorship or shore teams.  He goes to sea with no radio beyond a handheld VHF with a range of less than ten miles.  He has contempt for crowd funding of other people’s dreams.  Decades ago he found freedom by choosing to be independently poor.  The key word is ‘independent’.

He and GANNET will depart when he sees a GRIB he likes, but no earlier than Wednesday, January 16.  Once at sea he cuts ties to the land completely and receives no outside weather information.  He studies the sky, the sea, and the barometer, looking for signs of change.

He hopes to reach San Diego in time to be with Carol, his wife, on her birthday in late April.

If you want to follow, GANNET’s Yellowbrick tracking page is:  https://my.yb.tl/gannet

His website is:  www.inthepresentsea,com

His online journal:


not a laser, a cluster

5 new rigs and counting …

3 new Aussie rigs: c5, c7, c8

And 2 new ARC rigs in North America.  (See quote below from Laser Performance)

Add the 4.7, Radial and Standard: that’s 8 rigs.

Can the Laser survive this?

« Further, we will introduce the ARC in May 2019, a contemporary racing rig and sail for Laser and Laser Radial that broadens the sailor weight range and increases overall performance. »

Picture: Aussie c5 rig.

bahia chill


Anarchist Tony towed his little tri down to Mexico and here it is a repose in Bahia de los Angeles.

and they’re off


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here we are

So after far too long, here is our new design for Sailing Anarchy. More of an evolution than a revolution, it nonetheless is a much cleaner, easier to use site with better functions.  For example, when you click on a front page story, it takes you to that story’s own page,  where – and we are stoked about this – you can comment on the story immediately via Disqus. Not exactly earth shattering, we know, but it is a great way to comment quickly and directly about the article you just read, rather than having to go over to the forums. The forums exist in their own galaxy anyway!

Ever since we started this site –  20 years ago! – we have never much cared about putting up every race result from everywhere, you know like that other poseur site does?  So to address a void in content, we now have added a Sailing News feature that constantly updates news from around the world. No reason to waste time at Cut n’ Paste central.

Our research has indicated that 30% of you view SA via mobile, with that number rapidly increasing.  As such, we have made that experience significantly better.

Our classifieds are much easier to use and to search, so hopefully that helps make the user experience better there as well. Bear with us as we update all the listings… We have ditched the free classifieds as we got spammed by a never ending stream of Nigerian Love Spell Doctors, and we have raised the price of ads by $25, the first price increase in 15 years.

This is just the first phase of the new design. You will be glad to know that part of phase 2 includes the reopening of the famous Sailing Anarchy Store! New gear, new designs (but yes,the god damn hillbilly hats will be available). And given what a horrible job we did fulfilling orders, we are going to have Amazon fulfill all orders going forward. Look for the store by mid year.

So that’s it. Let’s see your comments by clicking the Leave a Reply button at the bottom of this page.


life downunder

Josh Tucker (Boo-Boo) is one of the coolest dudes ever, and has been a faithful contributor to SA over the years with some of the best stories ever. Welcome back dude!

With the great ‘Ho Down’ taking all the sailing media and forum talk from downunder, little old NZ flies under the radar but still ticks along with plenty going on and some huge events coming up.

Shorthanded handed sailing in NZ is going from strength to strength and the upcoming 2 handed race around New Zealand makes the Sydney Hobart look like a walk in the park. 7 boats are now signed up for the event starting on the 16th of February that takes the boats on a 4 Leg 2100nm circumnavigation of New Zealand’s North and South Islands and deep down into the southern ocean. Check it out.

Run by the legends at the Shorthanded Sailing Association of NZ (SSANZ) who have made the 2 handed sailing scene what it is today by putting races like this on. They do a damn fine job and have fun doing it.

In the Round NZ race we have a strong fleet of 35-40fters. 2 Farr 38s, a Sunfast 3600, Pogo 40, 2 35ft Elliotts, and a Stomp 38. Should be some close and exciting racing. Im sure the SSANZ boys will be doing an official write up at some stage and get it out to the media and we will be updating our facebook page regularly during the race.

For many like us this race is actually just a warm up for the infamous Round North island (RNI) 2 handed race in 2020, it seems strange to take on a race like this as a build-up event for a shorter race, but the RNI is the one everyone wants to win. With a maximum entry number for the RNI restricted to 30 boats due to constraints with berthage for the stopovers, the race is always over subscribed with New Zealands top offshore boats and sailors. With names like Sir Peter Blake on trophies and over 40 years of history there is a huge element of prestige associated with the event.

After being out of the racing scene for the last one and a half years, sailing our boat down to NZ from France with the family and an unbelievable 1 week turn around to handover to the new owner upon arrival in NZ. I’m straight back into it purchasing an older but heavily modified Elliott 35 now named Motorboat II in partnership with Damon Joliffe who was my crew for our last successful RNI overall PHRF total corrected time win on board the Sun Fast 3600. We have been sailing together since doing the 1997 Sydney Hobart as a couple of teenagers 21 years ago, with much in between including tormenting the New Zealand race fleet with good results on (and off) the water and loud obnoxious music all night to rub it in afterwards…. True Anarchy Style.

For me personally its been a huge couple of years. Resigning at my sailmaking job of 18 years with North Sails, selling everything in NZ, packing our lives into a few bags and taking our 4, 6 and 8 years old boys to France to jump on board our newly purchased, sight unseen 50ft yacht. From there it was the most amazing year and a half of sailing, covering a total of 16000nm and 28 countries without a single tack- true story. 3 months in the Med, 5 months in the Caribbean and 5 months through the pacific. Our trip took us to some far out of reach places like Cape Verde Islands, Cocos island in Costa Rica, Suwarrow in the northern Cook islands as well as all the standard stop offs along the way like Galapagos islands, the Mt Gay factory tour in Barbados, Divisional win in the Heineken Regatta and round Tortola Race and many social gatherings on ‘Rogue’, our aptly named 2007 Beneteau Oceanis 50.

The coolest thing about the mission was involving the family and really getting to know our 3 energetic and enthusiastic boys on a voyage that tested their (and our) boundaries to the maximum extent. A lifetime worth of memories made and a good base layer of world and life experience to broaden their minds. What could ever be a more fun adventure to take the family on, 1.5 years of literally sailing into the sunset.

I can tell you there was simply no greater feeling than sitting with my family watching the coast of NZ slowly appear over the horizon after an epic adventure such as this.

I was always not completely sure what to do on my return to NZ- stick in the sail making business, or try something new. Then I got a message from Rodney Keenan from Evolution sails who I did my sailmaking apprenticeship with in the 90s. He came to me with a proposal and with it a challenge to help grow the already booming business and take it to the next level. With a massive new loft and full membrane laminating plant just down the road, it certainly had its appeal. More control of the product, flexibility with the ability to turn a sail around from raw fibre to a completed sail quickly and efficiently, and a great bunch of talented and motivated sailmakers- many of whom I have worked with in the past.

I got my first taste of the membrane plant when I laminated up a new #2 Jib for my own boat over the summer holidays with the help of my sailing obsessed 8 year old son. I went for the fully cocked, 80% carbon-20% aramid, liteskin membrane. It certainly looks the part and based on what I have seen, it will have the performance and durability to match the good looks. Membranes like mine get shipped out of here all around the world on a regular basis, and in the 6 weeks since I have been here the membrane plant and loft have both been running nearly 24/7 to keep up with the demand.

It’s a product that is world class and I’m proud to be involved.  Is this the next Evolution of my life – certainly looks like it….

who knew?

This tragically slow and rather pathetic “race”, has, amazingly become a race! Wtf? Read on.


This appears to be dicky no matter the sitch, and while we don’t exactly know, here is what Anarchist Liz said about it:

Hi, this is the second image recently taken Jan 12 on Tampa Bay at an Opti Regatta. The negligent adult skipper plowed through the clearly marked Opti race course no sign of safety. He also yelled obscenities at the children (ages 8-12) telling them to get the F%$# out of the way.

Please note he is also on Port tack. Regardless, he had the choice to stay clear like all of the other large boats and chose not to. There are several upset parents about this and I thought if I shared it here you may have advise how to spread the word for better safety on the water. This behavior is not acceptable I’d like to hear what y’all think.

we want that

Big Pimp' Evolution Sails has revolutionized how sails are made with our modern approach to sailmaking. Our methodology combines the best technology in design and construction with a highly customizable and personalized sail. They are then constructed by a build...

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12 year bitch

Local Knowledge

It’s pretty rare when you race against the same boat with pretty much the same people for the better part of 12 years. I am speaking of the FT 10 Justice, first with my original FT 10 Anarchy, then with my Melges 32, and now with my recent FT 10 A4. (Yes, there was a Shaw 650, a GP 26 and the SC 33), but those don’t really count.

One reason why I got a second Tiger (besides absolutely loving the boat) was to take care of some unfinished business. When they first got Justice, we had our way with them pretty easily, but the owner is a good sailor and by the time I was fading racing the boat, we were beating each other pretty even, with maybe a nod to them. Fine.

And let’s be clear, they don’t like us and we don’t like them. I’ve never had a boat swear at us as much as they did in close situations. Kind of shocking, considering their alleged religion, but it is safe to say that we weren’t very pleasant in return. All’s fair in love and war, ain’t that right?

So 11 years later, when I found this FT sitting in a backyard, part of the motivation was to make the boat as fast as I could, and go out and not only pound them – which we convincingly did – but to punish the rest of the FTs. For the most part, mission accomplished. And hey, I’m no stud and certainly no rockstar, rather a fading mid level douche, and the racing we do is simply what is out there for our boat. You try to win wherever you race. Don’t fucking blame me.

A few people pointed out that Justice is now for sale, and while we don’t know why, we can’t say we blame them. We are not fun to lose to, but them’s the breaks. As Bruce Nelson once famously said, “Overbearing in victory, and surly in defeat.”

You’ll have to find it on your own, ’cause we’re not doing the broker’s work for free, but it is a quick boat, a bit of a beater, and at $32k, while it might seem like a deal, it ain’t. If you want it, go see it and figure out how much it’s gonna take to get it in fighting shape. We’ll miss them, but not really.

Great competitors, but no offense, by and large, those guys bounced between being halfway decent, and total dicks. Like a lot of us.


team frackers

Any team built on the dirty money of an anti-environmental business like this, deserves not even an iota of support, and certainly not from us. And don't be fooled by Ainslie's bullshit, he sold out to the devil, and for...

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sex raft?

From the WTF files…

In 1973, Mexican anthropologist Santiago Genovés set out to test a hypothesis. He had been researching the connection between violence and sexuality in monkeys. “Most conflicts,” he noted, “are about sexual access to ovulating females.”


But would this apply to humans, too? To find out, Genovés asked a British boat builder to make a 12×7 metre raft called the Acali on which he planned to sail with 10 sexually attractive young people across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to Mexico. It was like a prototype for the glut of reality TV shows since, a Floating Love Island or Big Brother at Sea, but with a twist – the participants were so isolated from the rest of the world that it would have been futile to cry: “Get me out of here!” The only ways out were drowning or getting eaten by sharks.


Genovés was a veteran of extreme rafting. A few years earlier he had been one of the seven-strong multinational crew on Thor Heyerdahl’s two Ra expeditions to sail reed rafts, like those used in ancient Egypt, across the Atlantic. The Norwegian adventurer wanted to show how people of different races could cooperate effectively.


Genovés had even grander motives in planning his voyage: he sought to diagnose and cure world violence. To that end, he placed ads in international newspapers and made his selection from respondents, choosing a crew of strangers from different races and religions so that he could create a microcosm of the world. Among the five women and five men were a Japanese photographer, an Angolan priest, a French scuba diver, a Swedish ship’s captain, an Israeli doctor and an Alaskan waitress who was fleeing an abusive husband. Genovés called his boat the Peace Project, but it rapidly became known in the world’s press as the Sex Raft.


Read on, thanks to the Guardian. Forum thread here.


he’s the captain now!

Just as maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 goes code orange for her crack at the Trophy Jules Verne, the Peterson 34 s/v QUIVER is also beginning her own sailing circumnavigation, though at a much more leisurely pace and with far more stops....

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who needs foils?

The power-to-weight ratios of the Australian 18-foot skiffs are astonishing. Here is Asko Appliances, roaring to the finish on Sydney Harbour yesterday in just 15 knots to secure their win in the 2018-19 NSW State Championships.  Photo: Frank Quealey.


smoke this

When Steve Travis and the TP52 Smoke TEAM sent us this photo of them leading the fleet, we knew they were on to something great. Sailing in the Caribbean circuit last year Steve and his team crushed it on their chartered TP 52 Conviction.

With just 38 days until the 2019 start of the Caribbean-600 there is still enough time for you and your team to order up the FASTEST SHIRTS AVAILABLE. (UPF 50+ Pro-Tech).  

Let us help make your team look amazing too. Order now and save up to 60% on the short sleeve, long sleeve and hoodies in the best fabric available for the 2019 season. Click here for more information on Pro-Tech and other team gear options.


that dumb?

Here is "American Magic" - still one of the most arrogant, wrongly prideful names ever (Did the Dotard come up with that name?) sailing in Pensacola, Florida, perhaps the dumbest state in the US of A. Maybe they should actually...

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is it me or is it you?

Is this a legit beef or some sour grapes?

So here is picture from the Australian Youth Championships at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania which I took on Friday morning. This a premier event of Australian Sailing.

All up about 75 coach boats were moored on this and the other wharf. At say an average of AUD $60 000 each that makes about AUD $4.5 million. I could not see that too many were privately owned. People wearing national body issued clothing were busy running around. Presumably, these people are being paid handsomely for what they do as well. Again I these people are not privately funded.


Later on Friday I went to usual Friday afternoon drinks at the little sailing club up the road from my house. Just 35 miles south of Hobart by sea is the Port Esperance Sailing Club. Port Esperance has a very proud maritime heritage having been a whaling port then a timber port and presently a major crayfish and abalone centre. It is also the home of both Tassal and Huon Aquaculture which are Australia’s two largest salmon growers.


The Sailing Club dutifully pays affiliation fees which make there way up the tree to Sailing Australia or at least to Sailing Tasmania. The club house is a converted apple packing shed that was built in the late 1800s. One major event is held each year which is the Easter Regatta and this year was 160th Regatta. All types of boats are catered for from classics to rowing skiffs to Mumm 36s and usually about 100 boats turn up.


So next weekend, the Sailing Club is holding a learn to sail weekend. Two days for $50.00, boats and lunch provided. There will be a good turnout for the weekend and it will be a community event for a small town even if not everyone who turns out, wants to learn to sail. The first thing you might notice about the Flyer is that there is no mention of Sailing Australia or any so called “pathway”. Just call “Matt”.


So here are a few pictures of the storage shed at the Sailing Club. A few timber Pacers and two newish Optimists. The Optimists were funded by a “dollars for dollar” grant offered by local government. The old Pacer and Lasers were donated.


The baby RIB was funded by the Salmon companies as part of a community engagement programme. Needless to say, there has never been any Sailing Australia support grant money for the Port Esperance Sailing Club.


I don’t expect anyone up the road in Hobart will be asked to make a gold coin donation to use the shower so a second shower can be built. And no doubt there will be a warning from Sailing Australia that the Sailing Club cannot hold a learn to sail course without some special Sailing Australia mandate which sees more money sent up the tree and never to come back down.


Funnily enough I have a problem with the proposition that we can spend AUD $4.5 million dollars on coach boats for one youth event for generally well-heeled kids when at the same time small club that puts on a community event that brings people into the sport asks for a gold coin to use the shower so they can build a second one.


So my first response last Friday was not anger but disappointment in the leadership of the sport. So to each director of Australian Sailing I say this, You are not Sailing Australia just Sailboat Racing Australia. Sports grow from the ground up not the top down. Do not pretend to represent sailing as clearly you do not and have no interest in doing so.


You are becoming more and more irrelevant to those you purport to serve but you don’t seem to understand this. You cannot call yourself a “peak body” of the sport. So time you change your name to reflect all you really do.


If your excuse is we don’t make the funding guidelines then if you are representative of the sport you should be arguing to change the guidelines. If the argument is that small club infrastructure is a local matter then either you are not representative or Sailing Tasmania Office which you operate is not doing its job.


It is not without great irony that the biggest sailing event in the country with the largest public engagement will happen next month in Hobart and you will have no involvement or presence.
So you can sling Port Esperance Sailing Club AUD$ 80 000 out of your “Reptile Fund” so it can build another shower, maybe even as shower block.


It is just the cost of one coach boat after all.


And maybe make “Matt” the Australian Sailor of the Year next year.


Jump in the thread.


piss poor

This is one of the lamest protest’s ever. If this is the direction our sport is headed, then it is doomed. I know all about lame protests – the biggest whiner i have ever seen, tried to protest me for not being in “OD trim”. Only one problem, it wasn’t an OD or even PHRF race. Oh yeah,and said genius forgot to inform me, or even bother flying a flag.


And what is the piss pour protest? “A crew (of a rival boat – ed) exposed his private parts to urinate when they were abeam of each other.


In this PC culture, nothing surprises anymore. Jump in the thread.