Sunday, September 28, 2014

Header Photo: International Canoes Racing the 2011 Travemunde Worlds

Photo by Robert Müller, of two old-rule Nethercott IC's racing the previous IC World Championship in Germany. Photo was lifted from the World International Canoe website.

I had a debrief phone call from Earwigoagin's 2014 IC Worlds correspondent, Fran De Faymoreau and he offered these conclusions from the just completed World Championship at Richmond YC, San Francisco.

  • The Chris Maas wedge design is clearly superior in anything over very light conditions. The top two were Chris Maas designs with Mikey winning in a slightly older model with slightly fuller forward sections. The Germans have developed a Chris Maas variant in which Peter Ullman fashioned a late regatta surge into a fourth overall.
  • The Clark clan, father Steve, sons, Dave and Willie, were sailing plywood wedges. They were fast but prone to suffering breakages. They were also slightly heavy, around 5kg over weight.
Some of my own observations from very far away.

  • It looks like Colin Brown (GBR) won the over-60 award, finishing in 12th place. An absolutely amazing feat given the very tough conditions. (This is an educated guess and someone may have to correct me on this.)
  • Tweezerman has always liked the idea of a Persistence trophy, particularly in heavy-air regattas so Earwigoagin would like to recognize John Gilmour (USA) of Richmond Y.C who finished every race to place 20th overall. TOH to John and Tweezerman promises to supply you with a craft beer whenever we cross paths.
  • Tweezerman was also very surprised to see a suit of IC sails of his design and manufacture that were used in the 1993 Worlds (under the Shore Sails label) split between two Nethercotts (one had the mainsail, the other had the jib). Obviously these sails were well beyond the use-before date but still heart warming to see your own fabric creation kicking around twenty years later.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

E-Scow plus A-Scow equals some Wowee Drone Video

I haven't seen many aerial videos of out-and-out planing (for some reason they like following foilers). This video features plenty of spectacular shots of scows doing just that! TOH to the drone operator who figured out how to pace the scows whilst flying into a stiff breeze.

E Scow Blue Chip Day 2 - by Regatta Aerials from Sean Fidler on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Music Whenever: Ylvis "The Truckers Hitch"

Found this on Huffington Post - comedy section. Kinda cool that they stuck the singer into an Opti for the sailing ( and crashing) scenes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

2014 International Canoe Worlds - New York Canoe Club International Challenge Cup

The New York Canoe Club International Challenge Cup is the world's oldest small sailboat international race, dating to 1886. From the cup's history pulled from a short article put out by the British Canoe Union:

"An early Baden-Powell design was exported to the U.S.A. and international competition began when Warrington Baden Powell and Guy Ellington challenged for the New York Canoe Club International Cup in 1886. They found that the Americans gained extra power by sitting up on the deck of their canoes, using bodyweight to counteract the pressure of wind in the sails and the British were outclassed by this new technique.

Those dastardly Yanks were actually sitting on the high-side of their canoes instead of, as the English were doing, laying prone on the bottom of the hull - imagine that!

The International Challenge Cup is still competed in the International Canoes though the New York Canoe Club is long gone  [ed. note: Oops. Wrong about that one. Lloyd Herman, Vice Commodore of the North Shore Yacht Club writes in his comment, "The New York Canoe Club is not long gone - it has changed its name to the North Shore Yacht Club and is located in Port Washington, NY."] It is a three boat per country team race, two international teams, first canoe across the finish line wins that race for his country, best two out of three races wins the International Challenge Cup. The modern competition is held the day after the end of the World Championships. Fran DeFaymoreau has the report on the 2014 competition:
"Monday September 14, 2014. After the International Canoe World Championship it has been the custom in recent years to compete for the New York Cup. This is one of the oldest challenge cups still in competition dating back to the mid 1880's. Two teams of up to three canoes each compete and one sailor from from the team wins for the team. The USA was holder of the Cup and was challenged by the UK. The American team was Mikey Radziejowski, Chris Maas. and Del OLsen. The British team was Robin Wood, Phil Robin and Alistair Warren.

Race 1- "The first race was held at about the same location as the worlds but on a shorter course of triangle, windward leeward, finish to weather with 0.75 nautical mile legs. At the first rounding Del Olsen led followed by Alistair Warren. Alistair passed Del and won the first race. Mikey and Robin Wood were over early and not in the race. [ed. note: Race 1 to the English.]

Race 2 - "Chris Maas developed an early lead and held it to the finish in increasing winds up to 14 knots. He Was Followed by Mikey Radziejowski.

Race 3 - "With one race apiece The UK and USA needed one more race to decide the cup. This time Mikey developed an early lead with Chris behind but going fast enough to catch everyone but Mikey who, with a large lead, defended the cup for the USA.

And from the Earwigoagin archives! I have in my collection a newspaper article on the first race in 1955 of the New York Canoe Club International Challenge Cup.

September 1955

U.S. Trails British in Canoe Sail

By Ed Sinclair

Sea Cliff, L.I. Sept 6 
"Great Britain, the mother of many of history's greatest sailors, today commanded a clear-cut advantage over the United States in the International Canoe sailing championship series being conducted on Hempstead Harbor off the Sea Cliff Yacht Club.

"Finishing first, second, fifth and sixth after knocking out America's ace at the start, the British scored 34 1/4 points in the first of three nine-mile races which will determine possession of the seldom publicized seventy-year-old International Challenge Cup.

"With two disqualifications within 400 yards after the start of the three-mile leeward-windward-leeward course which had to be traversed three times, the Americans were lucky to return to land with 23 points. All hope for the trophy defenders has not been abandoned , however, for they have two more races over the next two days in which they can regain lost water.

"Graham Goodson, the challenging team's captain from Aldeburgh, Suffolk, took immediate aim at the canoe being handled by Louis Whitman, the American team captain from Brooklyn and the fellow who brought the cup back here from England three years ago, and luffed him out of the race in the first 200 yards.

"Goodson then zeroed in on Joe Farrugia, a Queens member of the United States foursome and luffed him out within another 200 yards. Each time the Briton was to leeward and came about and then nicked the hull of the American. In as much as he had the right of way, the Americans were disqualified in each case because they didn't give way, and an embarrassed pair they were later.

"Goodson's maneuvers were not illegal or unsporting, let it be known immediately, for luffing in team racing is a most effective tactical bit of strategy if the victim leaves himself vulneralbe. Thats exactly what the Yanks did.

"Meanwhile, Ronald Head, the British champion from Twickenham, Middlesex, had taken the lead, and he never relinquished it. He covered the nine miles in 1:23:05 and was far ahead of his teammate, John Stothert of Ahterton, Lancashire. Frank Jordaens of the Bronx, was third, and Adolph Morse, of Yonkers was fourth.

"Goodson, the wily leader who had done his job at the start got home last among the six fininshers, just a few seconds after William Kempner of Brighton, Sussex.

The Americans must have come back to win the remaining two races in the series for they are listed as the winners in 1955. Here is a photo of Brit Ronald Head winning the first race. IC's have changed a lot in the past 60 or so years.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

2014 International Canoe Worlds - Mikey Radziejowski World Champion

Pressure Drop US has the video interview with World Champion Mikey (the kid) and former World Champion Chris Maas (the sensei) who finished second by a squeaker.

2014 International Canoe Worlds - Races Eight and Nine

Our intrepid Earwigoagin reporter Fran DeFaymoreau takes us through the final two races of the 2014 Worlds:

"Saturday, September 13, Race 8. Same conditions as yesterday. At 11:00 am wind is from 205 at 5 knots. By the 12:35 start the wind is at 10 knots from 205. After the start the leaders settle into a pattern we have already seen; Mikey leading, Chris following, and not all that far behind them is the German Peter Ullmann who has been surging in the last couple of races. Aussie Hayden Virtue is also working his way up and one or the other of the two Clark brothers is in the hunt. What I could not see from the weather mark boat is the reaching duel that took place just after the last reach mark had been rounded. Mikey was leading, but not by much, when somehow Chris managed to luff up over his stern, going high and fast and got past to take the lead. At the leeward mark Mikey split tacks going left to the possibly bigger wind - and waves- but at the finish it is Chris Maas -USA 254 - 1st, Mikey Radziejowski - USA 248 - 2nd, and Peter Ullmann -GER 79 - 3rd. 4th is Hayden Virtue - AUS 40 - followed by Willy Clark. Sunday September is the 9th and final race and if the last race goes off this will allow 2 throw-outs which throws many finish permutations into the mix. As of the 8th race Mikey is ahead of Chris by one point, and Alistair Warren (GBR) is ahead of Peter Ullmann (GER) by 4 points for the final podium position.

Sunday, September 14, the 9th race has been cancelled. The wind came up rapidly today and readings of 20+ knots caused cancellation [ed: note: The SI's have an upper wind start range of, if I remember correctly, winds sustained over 21 knots]. As it was, numerous canoes had to be rescued. Luckily Per Harding ended up on the only sandy beach between Brooks Island and the breakwater. Steve Clark was rescued from inside the breakwater with a missing rudder. [ed. note: There is a breakwater just outside the Richmond Y.C that extends for some distance - at least 1/4 mile. To get to the SF Bay, take a right out of the club and sail in glorious flat water for a couple of minutes until you pop out and head left to enter the Coliseum, i.e. Berkeley Circle.] The worlds oldest international small boat sailing trophy, the New York Cup is tomorrow. It will ba a team race between USA and GBR; three IC's each. The Brits are the challengers and their team will be Robin Wood, Alistair Warren and Phil Robin, the USA team are the current defenders and will be comprised of Mikey Radziejowski, Chris Maas, and David Clark.

With the 9th race being cancelled it appears that the kid ( Mikey Radziejowski) outlasted the great Canoe Master (Chris Maas) for his first Worlds title.

Now its time to put on your snorkel gear, breathe only when you can turn your head, and follow Brit Chris Hampe as he negotiates one reach and then part of the next reach in Race 8.(This is why IC sailors know what a true "firehose" reach is all about.) I've got to compliment Chris on a very nice jibe in some very tough conditions.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

2014 International Canoe Worlds: Races Six and Seven

Fran DeFaymoreau covers Friday:

"Friday September 12, 2014. This is a two race day and the weather cooperated with the wind filling in early. At the start of Race 6 the wind speed is 8 knots from 205 degrees, similar to other days and the course is set slightly NW of Brooks |Island. The start goes off on time at 11:35. At the first rounding of the weather mark, the leaders are the usual suspects At the end of race six it is Chris Maas - USA 254 1st, Mikey Radziejowski - USA 248 -2nd, and Robin Wood - GBR 329 - 3rd. Chris and Mikey have leads of hundreds of yards and seem to be in a league of their own. After waiting about a half hour for the rest of the fleet to finish race 7 gets started.

Race 7 - this is the number of races needed to make a proper championship. After this race one throw-out is allowed and with two more races scheduled to complete the championship there is the possibility of two throw-outs, potentially changing the outcome. As the afternoon progresses the wind builds as usual with 13 knots at the start and building to 18 knots by the end of the race. Notably missing this race is Robin Wood. At the end of Race 7 it is Mikey Radziejowski 1st, Chris Maas 2nd, and Peter Ullmann - GER 79 - 3rd. The finishes like all the weather legs are fascinating to watch from the weather mark RIB as the approaches are different with Chris Maas overstanding the layline and footing fast while Mikey tacks sooner, pointing higher. In the 7th race they split tacks at the bottom mark with Chris going to the right side if the course with maybe slightly less wind and waves while Mikey who has a weight advantage of possibly 15 lbs goes left into more wind. At this point in the regatta the standings with one throw-out are: Mikey 1st, Chris 2nd, Alistair Warren - GBR 17 3rd, David Clark - USA 256 4th.

Del Olsen got into International Canoes at the same time I did, in the early 1980's. Unlike I, who stopped competing seriously (which I admit wasn't super-serious) around 1995 - with a short return on the cheap in early 2000's, Del has remained in the class and is the organizer of this SF Worlds (as well as the 1993 SF Worlds) and one of several competitors over 60 years in age. Here is the video interview with Del from the folks at Pressure Drop who also put together the Mikey Radziejowski featured in a previous post:

Friday, September 12, 2014

2014 International Canoe Worlds - Race Five

Fran DeFaymoreau covers Race 5:

"Thursday September 11, 2014. Race 5. It was a dead calm until the wind filled in, nearly an hour late . Start at 1:25 with 10 to 12 knot breeze from 205 degrees. Once again the course is triangle, windward, leeward, triangle finish to weather. At the first weather mark the rounding order was Chris Maas -USA 254, Stephen Clark -USA 250, Stephen Gay -USA 245. Second time at the weather mark Chris Maas remained in front with Stephen Gay and, Mikey Radziejowski - USA 248 joining the chase. Thrid rounding was Chris Maas, Mikey Radziejowski,  and Peter Ullman - GER 79, with the finish in that order. By the end the wind had built to 18 knots and the capsizes were aplenty, continuing after the finish, making the ride home difficult and piling on the exhaustion.

The Wild Thing

Erich Chase had developed a wicked fast way of getting down the reaches in the 1993 San Francisco Worlds. He would slide the seat all the way back, vang the bejeezus out of the main, and rocket down the reaches, hiking off the end of the end of the seat. It was doing the catamaran thing; as you went faster you developed more apparent wind and you went faster. And fast he went, usually passing to leeward in a blink of a second. Me, I delilberately had my speed dialed back as I picked my way downwind....going too fast risked launching and then stuffing, something Erich seemed to avoid. Plus I needed to save some energy for the upwind work. From the famous 1993 video of the SF Worlds here is a still shot of Erich doing the Wild Thing with spray everywhere.

Bill Beaver from the Annapolis fleet picked up the technique quickly and was also bombing down the reaches, climbing for the sky, but with usually some disaster negating his gains. (like being bounced off the seat and wrenching his ankle!) Bill at speed at the 1993 Worlds:

With the new rules IC's, being lighter and more skiff-like, this technique may be de rigueur, but since I've never sailed them, I'm not sure (they definitely need the seat all the way back since the new boats have very little buoyancy, initial or reserve, in the bow).

Thursday, September 11, 2014

2014 International Canoe Worlds: Lay Day and Interview with Mikey Radziejowski

Lay day on Wednesday so no Fran report. Let's go to YouTube. Leader after four races (five more to go for nine total), Mikey Radziejowski talks how he got into International Canoes and some of his techniques for the breeze and chop off Berkeley Circle.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

2014 International Canoe Worlds - Races Three and Four, plus we backtrack to Race 2

Fran DeFaymoreau gives us a delayed report on Race #2 and adds Race # 3, and 4:

"Monday, 8 September 2014. Race two of the International Canoe World Championship. At the start, 12:35, the wind was 12 to 13 knots and building. The course was moved NW several hundred yards near the NW side of Brooks Island, Wind direction 205. The fleet split again with Chris Maas USA 254 tacking from starboard to be one of the few going up the middle of the course. But at the weather mark Mikey Radziejowski led by 100 yards with Chris Maas leading the next boat by over 100 yards. As the race progressed the distances between 1st and second and between 2nd and third canoes kept increasing till the intervals were over one quarter mile! Wind speed kept building and topped out near 18 knots with a short steep chop that made tacking quite a challenge. Many a capsize caused the typical "chutes and ladders" with constant place changes. Gear failures started mounting that forced two IC's to the "bone yard" an anchored buoy with a polypropylene line with loops for collecting out-of-commission canoes before they tow the disabled into Richmond Y.C.. At the finish Mikey Radziejowski - USA 248- was first followed by Chris Maas -USA 254 and in third, Phil Robin -GBR 328. With the wind up and the short chop many boats retired for repairs. Bent rudder shafts, broken tiller extensions kept the competitors busy after the race was over.

"Tuesday, September 9, 2014. This is a two race day. Race one [ed. note - Race three in the series] starts at 11:35 in atypical light winds - 4 to 5 knots from 205 degrees magnetic. The start of the course has been shifted NW another few hundred yards past the west end of Brooks Island. More of the fleet go left hoping for stronger wind but a few go right. A the weather mark local Del Olsen - USA 253 - rounds first but as the wind builds Del is passed by Robin Wood -GBR 329 - who finishes first and David Clark -USA 256 - finishing second. Del is third. [ed. note - Finally the lightweights get their day - Both David and Del being on the small size end of the scale in the IC fraternity]

"After a brief break race four gets underway in the same location. The wind is now up to ten knots and building. Once again most of the fleet goes left looking for stronger wind. Going up the middle allows for gaining on shifts but few choose that option as canoes prefer fewer tacks as the wind gets stronger [ed. note - Like catamarans, IC's in a breeze lose lots of distance in a tack compared to someone going uphill at Mach 1.5]. At the finish it is a photo finish with Mikey Radziejowski -USA 248 - being edged out by inches by Chris Maas -USA 254. Robin Wood - GBR 329 - is third.

Chris Maas's Rudder Winglets

Chris Maas has attached anti-diving winglets on his rudder, which, as far as I can recall, is a first for International Canoes (incorrect, see below).
[Ed. Note: Jim Champ corrects me. I've dragged out his comment: "Andy Paterson tried winglets on his experimental IC Tin Teardrop, but in lighter UK conditions he felt they hurt more than they helped. IIRC he may have tried running them without fore and aft seat adjustment. TinTeardrop was very fine aft, quite unlike the powerful stern on the Maas boat.]
This concept is not new. It was developed by the International Moth class (I think John Claridge had the original) in the late 1980's as the International Moth class hulls got narrower and narrower and getting down the reaches and runs without going head-over-heels became an issue. The idea is as the hull takes on a pitch-down attitude (prior to a nose-dive) the winglets at the back of the boat take on a negative angle of attack that sucks the stern down and reasserts trim equilibrium. It gave downwind control back to the narrow International Moths. I haven't heard whether it is working on the International Canoes but the new-rules hulls do have a reputation (compared to the old one-designs) of going down the mine very quickly and unpredictably in a breeze.

Photo courtesy of Fran DeFaymoreau.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

2014 International Canoe Worlds - Second Race

No blow-by-blow description of Race #2 from Fran DeFaymoreau but Fran does go into some of the damage meted out to the IC fleet by the San Francisco wind and chop:

"Dave Gilliland- broken spreader. Steve Clark - one dinged up daggerboard, One german boat [ed. note - actually English - see video below] got T-boned with a small hole in side. minor cracks on several seats. broken tiller plastic universal extension plus other broken tiller extensions.

"Today [ed. note - Second Race], Swede OLa Barthelson had a broken shroud. Dave Gilliland bent his rudder shaft (about 1/2" solid stainless) which was straightened using a hole in trailer frame and cheater pipe. Steve Clark USA 250 and Michael Costello USA 228 both broke their daggerboards. Of the many others I did not inquire, but the sailors were busy beavers throughout Richmond Y.C's dinghy park.

From the Internet I pulled the following about Race #2; Mikey Radziejowski (USA) won his second race ahead of Chris Maas (USA) in breeze that had a little more weight than the first race - hanging around 20 knots.

Fran mentions the T-bone incident from race 1. In a situation somewhat similar to my previous photo from the 1993 Worlds, Chris Hampe (GBR) had a bad start and decided to bail out onto port tack. Unlike I, who got away cleanly, Chris, once on port, narrowly missed one starboard tacker but the second one hit him squarely in the side. To show how far technology has come in twenty plus years, Chris has a GoPro documenting his every move. even the dumb ones (thank goodness that technology wasn't available to install on the tiller of my IC in 1993 - today I'd have video that would still keep me wincing in disbelief.) Chris put his T-bone gaffe up on YouTube - he had Monkee repaired and out to do battle to a top-ten finish for race #2..

And from the Earwigoagin archive, more still shots grabbed from the famous VHS video shot at the 1993 Worlds in San Francisco.

Fredo Beers (GER) becomes disconnected from his IC in spectacular fashion. (Hey, this happens on an IC every so often, one moment you are sitting on the sliding seat, the next you aren't - don't ask why!)

John Kells (USA) in spreadeagled fashion, willing his IC upright (not going to happen).

Monday, September 8, 2014

2014 International Canoe Worlds - First Race

Report from Fran DeFaymoreau:

"Sunday September 7, 2014. Race one of the 2014 Canoe Worlds. San Francisco Bay. Wind was in a bit earlier than yesterday, but the usual direction, from 220 degrees -coming down from the Golden Gate -12 knots at the start which got off at 12:35 pm. Start line just north of Albany Hill, south of Brooks Island where it will likely be throughout this regatta [ed. note: One thing about SF Bay, the direction is consistent in the summer/early fall].The fleet (9 out of the fleet of 34 are the old Nethercott one-design, hefting a sizeable 83kilos around the course versus the new rules boats at 50 kilos) splits right and left out of the gate. It wasn't clear which side was favored but the fastest tended to go left. The course is triangle-windward-leeward-triangle with the finish to weather; the legs are 1.1 nautical miles. At the 1st weather rounding Chris Maas (USA) is hundreds of yards ahead. In not so close pursuit are the British duo of Alistair Warren and Robin Wood with Australian Hayden Virtue and another Yank Steven Gay, not necessarily in that order. Many spectacular capsizes in the 9 legs with the eventual winner Mikey Radziejowski (USA) followed by Steven Gay and Alistair Warren.

"The capsize with greatest impact was the hammer blow that befell Chris Maas who, when leading by hundreds of yards at the last weather mark and against all odds, caught the last couple of inches of his main halyard on the weather mark ballast snap shackle! It took Chris considerable time to undo this tangle. [ed. note - He eventually retired]

"Tacking these boats is very hard."

This was a quote that Swede Olle Berqvist gave to a reporter after finishing second in the 1981 Worlds on Buzzards Bay.

I previously wrote about the 9-point drill of tacking an IC in this post of the 1981 Worlds.

By 1993 I had gotten better at tacking an IC, but not good enough to avoid my fair share of problems getting from starboard to port and vice-versa at the San Francisco Worlds. One rich source of images from the 1993 San Francisco Worlds was a VHS video shot by the support-boat driver for Steve Clark. A copy made it to every IC fleet on the planet and provided much amusement over the winter. One of the sequences that elicited chuckles was me demonstrating the belly-flop tack, a last-ditch desperation move when things go wrong and the only option to prevent a capsize is to throw yourself front-first on the sliding seat, or whatever was extended of the sliding seat.

By contrast the same movie had a beautiful sequence of Lars Guck (who finished third at the 1993 Worlds) executing a perfect tack at the finish line (when most of us were so gassed that any maneuver at the finish provided enough follies to keep the finish line RC amused). Bill Beaver chunked the movie images into a primer on how to tack an IC in a breeze. (Click on the image to get a larger picture.)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

2014 International Canoe Worlds - Practice Race

Today's report from Earwigoagin's on-site reporter, Fran DeFaymoreau, at the Richmond Y.C.:

"Saturday September 6, 2014. Practice race. The start line is set west of Albany Hill in the east bay between Richmond and Berkeley. Wind direction 225, velocity 5 to 8 knots. This is a typical San Francisco pattern, with the marine layer covering the entire bay [ed. note: marine layer as in fog]. As the Central Valley heats up and pulls cool ocean air into the bay, wind speed increases and continues to increase as the afternoon progresses.

"By start time, 12:25, the wind is at ten knots, at 220 degrees. At the first weather mark Chris Maas [ed. USA and reigning World Champion] is 100 yards ahead of the second boat. By the time they go around the reach mark he has stayed out front and at the leeward mark he peels off and retires back to the harbor having demonstrated that he is still the one to beat. Robin Wood [ed. GBR and winner of the last Worlds in San Francisco - 1993] wins the practice race showing that he is still one of the front runners.

Everybody to the back of the bus!

One of the things etched in my mind about the 1993 Worlds was how differently we set the International Canoe up to race in the San Francisco breeze and chop. Back then, as it is today, the sliding seat on the International Canoe is on a track so you can adjust the live trim. In the Chesapeake Bay we would crank the seats back for heavy air reaches and move them forward for the beats. In San Francisco, once the breeze was on, the seats stayed back, upwind and down. In 1993, I set my seat forward for the first beat which usually was in lighter winds, 12-15 knots, then pulled it back for the first reach and never touched it again. It was full on - stay at the "back of the bus" sailing.

Similarly when setting the daggerboard. Even though I was using one of the smallest daggerboards in the fleet in 1993, I was "reefing" it by pulling it up a foot or more. I usually had it down for the lighter first beat. After that, as the breeze came up the daggerboard came up, stayed up, never to be adjusted for the rest of the race. Completely out of the norm compared to our Chesapeake Bay racing.

Here is a video of "Big Dave" Gilliland reaching in an International Canoe with the seat cranked all the way back. This is a good approximation of the view I had bombing around the 1993 Worlds courses. (To complete the visualization, add some boats crossing this way and that, plus some marks I had to get around, waves I had to avoid stuffing the bow into, tacks that were a bear to complete...the entire drill of racing an International Canoe in a breeze.)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

International Canoe Nostalgia Week

Today, Saturday, September 6, is the start of the 2014 World Championships for the International Canoe Class, hosted by Richmond Y.C. of San Francisco. Twenty one years ago I sailed my last International Canoe Worlds hosted by the same club. There are still some of those competitors from 1993 who are still going at it in these tippy beasts and who will be present on the start line for the first race on Sunday. Some names I recognize are the American's Steve Clark, Del Olsen, Dave Gilliland; the Canadian Bob Lewis; the Brit's Colin Brown, Simon Allen; the Swede Ola Barthelson and the Australian Hayden Virtue. San Francisco Bay always makes for a great windy regatta where sea stories spun on shore after the racing become legend and are told again and again.

For me, in 1993, I didn't cover myself in glory, finishing 44th, but glory wasn't the purpose as the regatta was sandwiched by a cross-country automobile family vacation with enough memories in and of itself. I raced not all the races, but finished enough of them to consider it a success. Participating in a World Championship in the big wind and waves of San Francisco was reward enough.

To commemorate the San Francisco Worlds, the hope at Earwigoagin is to post something on International Canoes every day this week. I also hope to have some reports from the current regatta as I have cajoled another ex-IC geezer to be Earwigoagin's on-site reporter . And you will definitely get some geezer nostalgia from the 1993!

I wrote some on the 1993 IC Worlds in this previous post.

Here is the only known photo I have from 1993. I'm in US 208, center-right in the photo, bailing out onto port tack after a very late start at the Race Committee end. I have a dim recollection of maybe getting a late push-off from the club and not quite making the start, or maybe I was doing an onboard repair (there seemed to be more than enough mucking around in the middle of the IC that regatta, fixing something that had broken). I was using a Kevlar jib back in the early years of mylar sails for dinghies. This particular sail was shedding large chunks of mylar every time I  had it out, hence the large patches of black sail number material. Amazingly the sail never ripped apart, despite large areas where you could see all the way through. I did revert back to a dacron jib later in the regatta.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

North American Trapeze in the 1880's?

The history of the trapeze, the device where a crew dangles overboard from a wire or rope attached to the mast, keeps getting pushed back. It is obvious that the Polynesians were hanging from ropes on their proa's and catamarans before the modern industrial era (though I haven't seen any firm dates). The earliest I've seen the trapeze dated in Western Civilization was the early 1900' where crews were hanging off "Bell Ropes" on the large river racers, the British Thames Raters. Peter Scott and John Winter introduced the trapeze to dinghies in the International 14 Prince of Wales race in 1938 (where the class immediately banned them and didn't reintroduce them until 1969, well after every modern performance dinghy class of the post WWII era came out with them).

I was looking at an illustration by C.G. Davis, drawn in 1914, of the racing 88's of the St. Lawrence. The 88's were large racing canoes with two batwing sails in the typical cat ketch configuration. They were popular in the late 1880's, early 1890's. The illustration by C.G. Davis definitely shows the aft crewman hanging off a rope from the mast. Maybe we need to move the date of the invention of the trapeze (at least in North America) even further back. The original illustration:

The aft crewman enlarged.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Header Photo: A Dutch Skûtsje Capsized

I mentioned in my previous post about the the Dutch Skûtsje working scow that they do indeed capsize. In this photo lifted from the InterWebs, it is unclear whether this behemoth is just going over or just coming up! (I'm guessing from the way the mainsail is eased that this one is being righted.)

Music Whenever: "Roar" Yet Another Great Scott Bradlee Arrangement

While I'm on a Scott Bradlee kick, this is another great arrangement I just can't let go. Featuring vocalist Annie Goodchild and the incomparable, frenetic, tamborinist maestro, Tim Kubart.

Click here for "Burn", another great Scott Bradlee arrangement with three fantastic female vocalists.