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faster is funner

point/counterpoint

faster is funner

A counterpoint to Brian Todd’s counterpoint (seeing things, below) to Amgnus Wheatley’s ISAF point

I met Brian Todd 30 years ago when I was trying to race a Finn at 165 lbs and he had come to my home club on Mobile Bay to compete at the 1978 Finn Nationals. Brian was (and I’m sure still is) a pretty cool guy and even though I have not seen him again in all of that time, I have read about his work over the years with the CYA and I have a lot of respect for what he has done for Canadian sailing. It was good to hear his comments about ISAF and Olympic sailing.

I’ll offer my counterpoints to Brian’s comments. His views seems to be cautiously pessimistic that fast boats can save or benefit ISAF, the sport, and the Olympics. His comments lead the reader to believe that fast boats are only what the elite sail. I can agree there is validity to his viewpoint in light of current events but what seems to be missing is balance in his viewpoint. When the multihull discipline was dropped from the Olympics, not only was it an outrage that a siginificant portion of the sport was being told it was not legitimate but it was just plain stupid (or maybe to be kind illogical). And as a former Tornado sailor, I don’t think we were rich or elite in the class. ISAF has been backstroking ever since to wipe the egg off its face and they have gotten more splatters as multihulls have shattered speed records and become the central focus of the 34th AC.

I guess ISAF just did not have proper vision and did not bother to take a good look around in the last decade. Our youth (that Facebook generation) want to sail fast, exciting, and athletically challenging boats. While the Optimist is still the boat of choice to introduce a kid to sailing and racing, there are good arguments that the Bic O’Pen could be better if you really want to sink the hook. Likewise, the Laser Radial, Sunfish, and 420 are starting to look long in the tooth compared to other choices like the F-16 Viper (mulithull), Bic 295 (sailboard), and 29er (skiff). Does anyone really think that if a 14-15 year old athletic teenager that moves up from the Opti or Bic was offered the old school (Laser Radial/Sunfish/420) versus the new school, that they would not immediately choose the new school route? What’s even more compelling about the new school route is that all three disciplines could be shared with an adult sailor (a Viper can be sailed by a kid and an adult,

An adult can enjoy sailboards racing with their children, and a 29er can be raced with an adult and kid). Fast is fun, it’s exciting, and it will keep our youth engaged in the sport. Boats like the Corsair/Farrier trimarans are probably the most fun family boats there are and probably do the best job of multitasking from daysailing to racing to weekend cruising. The Corsair group is pretty middle class, no elitism there. Sportboats are becoming more and more popular. A family of three is finding it much more fun to sail and race a Viper 640 rather than a J-22.

Racing older slower designs is certainly still fun for a large portion of the sailing community. The current infrastructure of established dinghy, keelboat, and centerboard boats are not going to die are probably still the best choices for tasks like interclub competitions and learn to sail programs. There will be for sometime the majority of the sailing population that will prefer racing tactics at 4-8 knots boatspeed. But once you do experience racing at 10-15 knots, it’s pretty addicting. It’s not elitist and it won’t break your bank account. And it’s probably the best way to keep more kids in the sport.

Cheers,

Bob Hodges
(who owns an A-Class catamaran, a Corsair trimaran, and a Sunfish (!)) Jump in the thread.