tempestuous girls

tempestuous girls

During the 4 weeks since broadcasting its plea for help, the United States International Tempest Association, or USITA, has been swamped by current and past owners, as well as a whole slew of people interested in finding a Tempest to sail, race or renovate.  In this short space of time the class has discovered the whereabouts of over 50 of its NA boats – from FL to WA, AB to NB (that’s Canada, people!), CA to NY, and everywhere in between.  How else could this have been achieved, other than by utilizing the far-reaching network of sailors that devours the news and chat daily on Sailing Anarchy?  The USITA thanks the sleuths that frequent this website!

Of course, It didn’t hurt that one of the country’s premier speed freaks, Steve Clark – who is perhaps best known for designing/sailing International Canoes and C-Class Cats – weighed into the discussions mid-November () and made such comments as “the original boat was so f*cking brilliant” and “The existing boat can humiliate most modern sport boats”!  Strong claims from one of America’s pre-eminent cutting edge designers.  And while a brand new Tempest from Europe is extremely aggressively priced when compared to the home-grown Melgi, Open 5.70s, U20s, etc., when you consider that you can pick up an old US Tempest for as little as $1,000 or bring a competitive used European boat into the US for less than $10,000 (including shipping and duties), all of a sudden the idea of owning one of the original sports boats becomes absurdly practical.

But wait!  It gets better!  Thanks to the foresight of one of the long-standing Tempest owners, the USITA is now a tax-exempt organization under IRS Section 501(c)(3).  This means that class dues and donations to USITA may be used to reduce income subject to federal taxes.  Moreover if you live in California, where USITA is incorporated as a tax-exempt corporation, dues and donations may also be used to reduce income subject to California taxes.  Now people…honestly…do you really want to give your hard-earned money to Uncle Sam, or would you rather be involved in the rebirth of a classic sports boat instead?  The class is run by enthusiastic sailor volunteers, so 100% of the dues and donations received goes directly into building the class and to helping owners of older boats who are trying to get them back into sailable or competitive condition.  Ultimately you’re investing back into the sport you love, supporting a grass roots class/association that is not bankrolled by well-heeled investors or ‘rock stars’, and getting a tax break at the same time!  You’ve only got a few weeks to take advantage of the 2010 tax season; just $25 grants you full membership into the USITA, whether you have a boat or not, but of course there’s no $$ limit on a donation! 

Go to the tempest site and look for the PayPal button.  And yes, you’ll get a tax receipt!
Steve Clark’s enjoyable and strongly-opined letter, while taking us for a wander down memory lane, also raised a common misconception: although his comments regarding needing 6’ 6” gorillas as crew are accurate for the period of the late ‘60s/early ‘70s, modern controllable spar technology and improved hardware have moved the Tempest away from the brute force and grunt of yesteryear and into the realms where mixed husband and wife/boyfriend and girlfriend and even all-girl teams can compete on level terms with the boys.  At international level! 

Seriously, check out the photos!  For instance, at last year’s Worlds in Switzerland, in a fleet of 63 boats, the top lady skipper was 7th and the top lady crew was 17th.  Neither was a gorilla, and nor were the other ladies who competed!  Here in North America, where the class is rather more relaxed than its counterparts from across the pond, it is quite commonplace to see the fairer sex either dangling from the wire or driving.  Amusingly, this ex-Olympic beast has also found favor with the day-sailing crowd as it provides a light, fast, yet stable platform from which to explore one’s nautical back yard.

So don’t be put off by the Negative Nellies who claim the Tempest is only for the iron-pumping Schwarzeneggers, Ferrignos or Lundgrens of the world; those dainty little girlies from Switzerland, Austria, France, Holland, Britain and elsewhere have clearly demonstrated the versatility of this exciting, trapeze sports boat; you can be a Tempest sailor and still be a Sailing Anarchy SCOTW! 

Join or donate to the USITA today and you will become instrumental in helping this Phoenix not simply rise from the somewhat soggy ashes (), but be CATAPULTED from them! – Nick Mockridge.