The 2013 Folkboat Internationals hosted by the Richmond YC started on Monday and runs through tomorrow. Nineteen Folkboats with three-person crews from Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Great Britain and the United States are competing in uncharacteristically calm conditions. Unlike in years past, winds have not exceeded 15 knots for the entire regatta.
Monday’s light-air practice race on the Olympic Circle, where the American teams placed at the top, proved only that the Europeans are fast learners — some know the Bay almost as well as the locals. Although David Wilson (USA), managed two bullets on Tuesday, Germany’s Christoph Nielson took locals to school, winning both of Wednesday’s two Cityfront races and giving spectators at the St. Francis YC a remarkable show.
The Europeans’ ability to place well in this regatta stems not only from their competitive home fleets, but is likely due in part to the local Folkboat fleet’s overall condition, which is better than it’s been in years.
Don’t throw in the towel for the Americans though. Dave Wilson leads by three points, followed by Nielson (GER) and Ersnt Gaede (GER). Two races are scheduled for Knox today (wind permitting) and then it’s back to the Olympic Circle for the the regatta’s last race tomorrow.
We hope to have a full report on the event in the November issue of Latitude 38.
We quizzed our readership last week to see if anyone could properly identify the purpose of the unusual Russian sailing craft pictured below.
Truth be told, we actually have no idea what specific use it was designed for, but we figured some worldly reader out there in ‘Lectronic Latitudeland might know. And if not, we were certain that our query would at least yield some amusing explanations. Here’s a sampling:
"It’s bound to be a downsized prototype of the next-generation, energy-efficient, Russian passenger ferry." — Bill Crowley
"It’s a Loom Boat, a multihull that weaves its own sails. Missing in the photo is the shuttle that zips back and forth, under and over the warp which is yet to be re-strung between those two rectangular things, called gallnettles, and you can see some of the fabric its made frapped to the jaspal, which is that masty looking thing sticking up in the middle. They have their own language for such things in Russia." — Brooks Townes
"Prototype vessel for Captain Ron: The Sequel." — Darrell Andrews
"On good authority, this is a private enterprise prototype for a giant mouse trap to potentially rid Russian lakes of an invasive and non-native species of giant walking catfish (clarius batrachus)." — Skip Allan
"It was obviously built to be put on a train and then sailed to France where the man and his wife can travel the canals as they have always wanted to do. Bonjour." — John Eldridge
"It’s one of the new omni-directional trans-Siberian vodka delivery scows (ODTSVDS) capable of operating on water, snow, or ice. Safety regulations do not allow booms (duh!), and operators must have current plank-walking certification. Looks like the amas are adjustable fore and aft." — Goose Gossman
"Ivan has been delighted with preliminary sponsorship interest. He is leaning toward each team being sponsored by a different vodka distiller. He has approached some prominent rum distillers that support sailing but so far they have given him the cold shoulder. Latest news has interest from New Zealand, but they want to have at least one event south of the Antarctic Circle. Ivan was unavailable for comment." — Pat McCormick
And finally the following, which we suspect is the most accurate — though certainly not the most amusing. For his (seemingly) correct answer Bill will be receiving some official Latitude 38 swag:
"It looks like it’s designed to cruise canals and other narrow waterways with low bridges. The side decks flip up, which allows the pontoons to swing in. The mast can be tilted down to clear low bridges, a la upper Santa Cruz harbor berths." — Bill Ogilvie