Team McLube Forum Index: .: Dock Talk:
These were the best of times...

The Publisher

Jul 18, 2011, 7:05 PM

Views: 10632
These were the best of times...

Ever hear about the good ole days? For the sport of sailing... some were, some weren’t. The depth of the conversation depends on your age. The sport has paid a price for the pursuit of excellence. Most everything in sailing has improved with time... except the number of people doing it. Here longtime Scuttlebutt reader Ray Tostado of Southern California reflects:
You may have missed the best times sail boat racing ever had. It happened in Marina del Rey (Los Angeles, CA) in the late '70s and early '80s. During the birth of the IOR rating system.

It was a period of total transition from wooden boats with full keels to the Peterson, fin keel and detached rudders age. The entire racing scene was open for innovation. From sail cuts, to hull shapes, it was an open playing field. I recall some summer months when the harbor was welcoming one IOR boat a week to the starting line. What made it so exciting is that money was not the dominant factor for winning races.

Amateurism was still assumed, and "pros" stood out for their limited skills, bravado talk. Crazy kamikaze crews ruled the seas. As an owner you could compete against multi millionaires, even billionaires. All you needed was decent gear and crew. It was exciting to race against the best money could buy, and have at your disposal only what true friendship and will to win could provide. I, as a Hollywood teamster, was racing against a man who owned a Hollywood studio. Now that was fun.

Eventually money won and took over the playing field. Our amateur crews became semi-pros, then full time pros. Getting good crews became limited unless you could "compensate" them. We, today, could not buy the great times we had back then.
Would you like to share your version of the ‘best of times’? Post it here.

- Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt


Jul 18, 2011, 8:29 PM

Views: 10618
Re: [The Publisher] These were the best of times...

I started racing offshore in 1971, coming from dinghy racing, and I can only agree with the publisher's views. We dinghy racers discovered that we could, with a compliant owner, race with the fast & rich guys, finishing ahead of gold-platers while we were in stock "clorox bottles". We'd sometimes get reimbursed for bus fare to Chicago to race, and usually get to sleep in the owner's spare bedroom before the race, but that was the extent of the finances.

I have again taken up racing (see the avatar), now in my retirement, and I have been asked to chip in for food & booze while paying my own airfare to the venue. I had such a excellent time that it never occurred to me to ask for "compensation".

So the good times are still out there to be had. Ya just gotta be choosy about who you hang with.


Jul 19, 2011, 7:50 AM

Views: 10557
Re: [The Publisher] These were the best of times...

Back in the early seventies, one could race and Comfortably cruise the SAME BOAT. Boats had real berths, real heads, galleys with gimballed stoves with ovens. The boats were well built to a point of being overly heavy.

How about starting a rule that the owner and crew must live on board for 5 days prior to the start of a race: cooking, sleeping, performing bodily functions, etc.

Today's race boats are so lightly built that a fastnet type tradgedy is waiting to happen. Designers forget that thickness plays an important part of dissapating impact force. While a thin skin may have the physicals required, it will be easily punctured regardless of the high modulous. You can impale one page of a phone book with a pencil, but not the whole book.

Localized reinforcing with high strength materials frequently lacks an adequate transition zone to unify the laminate. If you sew a wire down the middle of a spinnaker, it will break right at the wire in less wind pressure than if the wire were not there, as the force has been concentrated.

Bill Seifert
Warren, RI