Friday, November 29, 2019

The Playboy Bunny

Next year is the fiftieth anniversary of the Teacup Regatta, the regatta famous for introducing the world to the Laser (originally named TGIF, Thank God it's Friday). The above photo is from the article on the Teacup Regatta in the December 1970 issue of One-Design and Offshore Yachting. OD-OY came up with the idea of pitting all the 1970 American off-the-beach sailboats in a regatta and judging competition and did all the leg work in putting the event together. The Teacup Regatta was held on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, about a two hour drive from Chicago. In 1969 Hugh Hefner had opened a huge Playboy resort on Lake Geneva, hence this photo of a trio of Playboy Bunnies taking a spin on one of the competing dinghies between races.

This photo jogged the old memory banks about my own Lake Geneva and Playboy Bunny story. Two or three years later, as a poor college student on summer break, I decided to enter the O'Day cup, a singlehanded championship of the old USYRU (U.S. Yacht Racing Union). You qualified in ascending elimination rounds (club to district to region and then to the finals). I didn't have any lofty aspirations; my racing skills were somewhat rudimentary, but it was a cheap way to get in some sailboat racing as the host club supplied the boats and entry fees were either free or nominal. My local club, Berlin Yacht Club, put my name forward and I awaited being told where to go for the Ohio-Pennsylvania district eliminations. It turned out that there was only one other club to put up a name and he dropped out. Without sailing a race I had qualified for the Midwest Regional O'Day eliminations.

The Midwest Regional O'Days were to be held by the Lake Geneva Y.C. in Lasers, a 500+ mile trip from my home and I didn't own a car. During the 1970's this was no problem  as hitchhiking was a viable means of getting around. I had already crisscrossed the Midwest several times on the kindness of others stopping to give me a lift. I duly made it into Lake Geneva. (This may have been the time the rides dried up late at night and I had to spend the night at the Milwaukee Airport; elevator music, bright lights and trying to sleep across three hard seats.) The regatta was midweek and there were four or five of us racing in typical on-off, shifty lake conditions. I finished third or a close fourth, the memory is hazy, but I was fine with that. I had no plan B if I had improbably qualified for the finals and had to figure out how to get to a regatta during the school year and far away.

The Lake Geneva YC had their midweek evening summer series during the O'day eliminations and I got a crewing job on a M-16 scow. (Which has now morphed into the very popular cat-rigged MC scow; the M-16 was main/jib). I remember being miffed at having to handle leeboards on every tack and came away with a better appreciation of my Dad's Y-Flyer scow which was my Berlin YC racing ride.

In the fog of long-ago recollections there is one searing memory from that race and that is of another fellow crew. One of the leading competitors in the M-16 scow class had married a Playboy Bunny who was now his crew. We were far enough back in the race that we didn't cross tacks often with the couple but I did join the gaggle of sailors that surrounded her (bikini-clad) apres-racing. I came away with the impression of a separate female race; not so much titillated by her but more having encountered something genetically unique. Hugh Hefner's vision of an ideal American woman was rooted in the 1950's and 1960's, all jutting breasts, small waist, small butt, very much top-heavy. I had the good sense, even back then, to realize this wasn't the real world.

I never went to the Playboy Club at Lake Geneva during that trip. No money and besides, when hitchhiking, travel times were always open-ended. No time to dawdle. Best to hit the road when things were wrapped up. The Lake Geneva Playboy Club closed in 1981.

Two videos of the Lake Geneva Playboy Club.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Australian Sailfish: updated plans

News from Down Under. The Australian Sailfish class has updated their plans. From Greg Barwick:
"After many, many months of hard work, writing, editing; reviewing (repeat until you can’t sleep :-)), a new set of Building Instructions, complete with CAD drawn frame diagrams is now available. This has been an enormous task led by our own Chris Cleary, who built a boat as he went along just so he could adjust the Instructions and take photographs There was also a lot of input from Ian Urban (our CAD specialist), Ian Milton and others to get us to this point.

"When we kicked off the website and made the plans available three years ago, we had no idea how popular that would be, so plans have been sent out for the last three years without an allocated number. To mark this relaunch of the Plan Sets we are also starting numbering the plans once again.

"The highest number issued up to now was 3500, so we have decided that we will start the numbering of the new Plan Sets from 3501. I even have the original Plan Sales book to record it in!

"As well as a comprehensive set of Building Instructions, (76 pages) there are two A0 sheets of frame diagrams that will give full size Frame templates, one A0 Centreboard Plan & Section sheet and one A1 Rudder Sheet in each Plan Set.
We have also launched a new section on the website, 'Building . . . a Visual Guide', to be used in conjunction with the Building Instructions, so check that out as well.

Click here to order a set of Australian Sailfish plans.

Also a very earnest Earwigoagin TOH to the hard-working folks reviving this great little Australian dinghy.

Header Photo: Zephyr Dinghy OTP

OTP = On the Plane (This was the name of the U.S. International 14 newsletter - not sure if it still is - probably not since newsletters have gone the way of the Dodo bird.)

The previous photo featured the New Zealand Zephyr class ripping along. The Zephyr is one of four 11-footer conventional racing classes featured in the blog (Classic Moth, Europe Dinghy, British Moth, and the Zephyr).

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Header Photo: St. Lawrence Skiff

The previous header photo is of the very pretty St. Lawrence Skiff; one of several racing classes I highlighted, over several posts, that doesn't use a rudder. The blog series was titled Look Ma, No Rudder.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Singlehand Dinghy Racing Shorts of 2019

As the night takes over the day during the winter months, time to pop over to YouTube for some vicarious thrills. Here is a compilation of some 2019 singlehanded racing dinghy videos which Earwigoagin has deemed worthy of viewing.

From the Lake Garda video maestro, two junior singlehanded classes that are not the Laser; the O'pen skiff (designed to go after the Opti market) and the Zoom 8 class (a Laser 4.7 alternative).

The English Solo Dinghy class. Move the slider to the 1:40 mark and watch some incredible planing action.

Again, the Worlds most popular Classic Moth, the Europe Dinghy.

And the two classes designed to take down the Laser in the Olympics but couldn't surmount World Sailing politics; the RS Aero and Devoti D Zero.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Watercolor of Solings at the Dock

Found this in the International Soling Association Guide 1992-1995. A beautiful, subtle ink and watercolor  (or ink wash) drawing by Michel Bernard of Paris.