2011 blokart north americans
Ok, so we weren’t running around the desert in a jeep with a 50cal mounted shooting at Nazis (though it sounds kinda fun), but we were running around the desert (Ivanpah Dry Lake Bed) in what I would call the closest thing Land Sailing has to Dinghy Sailing, " The Blokart". The reason I say that is we, don’t need no stinking push, to start our races. We start like dinghy races (a 2 minute dial up to jockey for position), unlike those NALSA guys who were out there the week before we showed up, ……..and we were running fairly short courses within full view of the spectators, something a bit different for sailing.
I don’t have any vids to show yet but I can say there was a professional vid guy with HD and 3D cameras taking a $h!t load of footage to put together a promotional clip for the 2012 Blokart Worlds next year. Yea that’s right 150 to 200 blokarts in the SO Cal high desert. I’ve been inviting you guys (so cal sailors) for the past few years to come out and give it a try but you all seem to have your keels stuck in the mud. I guess it is the 4kn $h!t box syndrome. Back to the vids, Bill Price, here is his Vimeo Channel (132 vids of lots of things including his blokart ones), placed his HD camera on my kart in the second to last race and filmed the whole thing looking backward at me and the action on my tail (yes there were some dogs chomping at me). I know Bill had his HD camera on some other karts but I don’t know whose. When viewing the 10 minute clip at the trophy’s, we chatted and he noticed that everyone was watching it as though they were doing the race themselves, that was Bill the artist watching the viewers reaction, you’ll have to wait until I get the word from Bill when it is released..
I stated earlier that, we don’t need no stinking push, and I don’t want to bag on the NALSA guys. But the Blokart is as friendly to a disable guy like me (T-11 Paraplegic) as the 2.4mR is. I can unload and rig the whole thing by myself and unrig it, Bill and I talked about shooting a video of me dong this for others to see. The Blokart is also like a go-cart in that you steer it in a conventional sense (not with your feet, like most land sailors).
This year was the first event hosted by for the newly formed North American Blokart Sailing Association or NABSA. NABSA was needed in order for the Worlds to be held at Ivanpah, known around the world as the best place on the planet for land sailing. 2 years back the GreenBird Project broke the World Land Sailng Speed Record and achieved a speed of 126.4 mph. there. Blokarters around the world are looking forward in anticipation of this event and Ivanpah’s wide open venue.
So lets talk about the 2011 Blokart North Americans (results here) now. This year had quite a few New Zealanders and the Reigning World Champion from Spain, Santi Oliver, in attendance. There was one Aussie that show up and he had a few credentials in his wallet, Ross Vickers, “Yacht designer and competitive sailor”. But Santi, who had no sailing experience before land sailing, smoked Ross (and everyone else) like a cheap cigar and had a few cocktails before everyone finished. I think if Santi had a different youth and was exposed to conventional sailing, he would have been Spain’s equivalent to Paul Elvstrom.
Rounding the leeward mark at 30knts
In the Performance Class, where you are allowed to modify certain items, I had my moments and the above sequence is (I think) from the second race where I took 2nd (my best) behind Ross 1st and Santi in 3rd. Further along the race Ross got by me but somehow I held off Santi, go figure that. racing in the Performance is very tight, though it seems Santi most of the time runs off and is almost unseen by the time we finish.
Because the Production class was started after the Performance class, it allowed Bill Price, who won the Production Class, to jump out of his blokart and get on doing video work and direct his crew. Bill was always out in front in the Production Class and with all his video work it was impressive to see him concentrate on racing and winning.
As the days went, Racing started on Sunday with the wind cooperating. Monday was the no wind day. Tuesday we had racing in the morning but the afternoon it died. Because we had a no wind day we had to use our lay day Wednesday and thankfully the wind cooperated and we finished racing by noon. We were going to have some fun rally type racing but the wind once again crapped on us and we called it a day to clean up for trophies. When it came to after race activities Tom Hill and his crew roasted a whole pig, and as Homer would say "Mmm bacon…"
So I’m not much of a race reporter but what do you expect from someone who wants to race hard. The racing was hard and fast. Next year at the Worlds it will be even harder and faster. For all you wankers out there that think your life is full sittin’ on your 4 or 10 knt SB, you’d better think again. LIfe is so much fuller doing 30knts +.
Thanks to all the volunteers who helped make the event a success and to Steve Irby for his photos. Make sure you check out all of his photos on Smug Mug. And like I said, as soon as I get some links to Bill’s videos, you’ll see them. Join the Chat