Vikas Kapur shared with us these scenes of a beautiful, sunny day in October. "We were pleasure-sailing and did get to see a bit of the racing of the Leukemia Cup alongside Angel Island," he writes. "The big ketch was very impressive."
"We were on Ry Whitt, a Jeanneau 40 we chartered from Modern Sailing in Sausalito (I’ve been a member there for about 10+ years)."
The recent New York City marathon may have a lesson for sailboat racing and those seeking the ever-elusive ‘fair’ rating rule. Last weekend’s New York Marathon had 50,643 competitors, with the fastest time coming in at a quick 2 hours, 10 minutes and 53 seconds. And for the first time in 40 years, an American, Shalane Flanagan, won the women’s division. But the average time for all competitors was 4 hours and 37 minutes.
The point? About 51,000 of the competitors have no chance of winning and don’t care. They’re out there because they love the challenge and just want to see how they measure up against the clock and some other competitors. There isn’t anyone trying to figure out some rating rule to give everyone a ‘fair’ shot at winning.
The Vendée Globe is similar. There are a handful of competitors with the time, money and skill for a shot at the podium. The rest are doing it for the challenge, the camaraderie and simply to see how well they can do. The last boat in can finish weeks after the first.
Recreational racing fleets might grow if people see it as an opportunity for a personal challenge, improving skills, enjoying a great day of sailing and a chance to be with friends. If you’re one of the few with the time, money and skill who can consistently rise to the top, that’s terrific. For the rest, it’s probably not worth chasing a magical rating rule to improve your results. Just enjoy the challenge and the sail.
Why do you race? We’d like to know. In the video below: What does it feel like to be DFL in the New York Marathon? Pretty good, actually.
We’d like to introduce a few films that wouldn’t necessarily be considered ‘sailing movies’, but have references to, or underlying hints of sailing and/ or seamanship. Back in August, when we first solicited readers for their favorite sailing films, Lee Johnson wrote:
"My favorite sailing movie is Cast Away, a Robert Zemeckis film starring Tom Hanks, which doesn’t have much actual sailing in it, other than the one scene where Hanks’ character, Chuck Noland, tops the breakers to escape the island with his raft using a broken outhouse [portable toilet] shell for a sail. The reason I call this a ‘sailing movie’, however, is because Noland shows that the skills and life lessons of an avid sailor can be both life saving and life affirming.
"What? You didn’t catch the fact that Noland is a sailor? It comes about 14 minutes into the movie. Chuck and Kelly Frears (played by Helen Hunt) are asleep with the TV on. The camera pans across the room, showing a trophy shelf where Noland’s sailing school certificate and pickle dishes are displayed. That’s how the Fed Ex guy knows enough about buoyancy, sail power, and weather patterns to plot his escape and build his raft. Indeed, the whole movie is a testament to the sailor’s core skill of ‘adaptive attunement’ — successfully dealing with a changing external set of circumstances."
And what about What About Bob?, which has a brief but (yes, we’ll say it) iconic sailing scene:
After returning to shore, Bill Murray exclaims: "I sail. I’m a sailor! Is this a breakthrough, that I’m a sailor? That I sail now?"
Reader Michael Moen had another offbeat suggestion: "I’d like to nominate The Four Seasons," the 1981 film written, directed and staring Alan Alda and co-starring Carol Burnett. "The segment on charter rental with friends, acquaintances, and strangers is a valuable lesson to us all on accommodation of others."
And Tom Varely wrote: "There is one movie that is quite overlooked, and quite ridiculous: Cabin Boy. Chris Elliott is the absolute best playing his role as a ‘Fancy Lad,’ and David Letterman’s cameo as a sock-monkey salesman is epic ("Big girls have big appetites!"). And yes, we have a copy on our boat, along with the ever-beloved Captain Ron. (And of course, Dogtown and Z Boys)."
Additional movie suggestions include Wake of the Red Witch, staring John Wayne, and featuring Duke Kahanamoku, the godfather of modern surfing, and The Sea Wolf, starring Edward G. Robinson and adapted from Jack London’s novel of the same name.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Please send them here.
The C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta invites North American community sailing programs and other sailing organizations aimed at expanding opportunities for sailors with adaptive needs to apply for the 2017 Clagett Boat Grant Program.
On offer for this second Clagett Boat Grant Program will be up to two race-ready 2.4mR boats with sails and trailer. Readers may recall that the 2.4mR is the design that former Marinite pro sailor Dee Smith raced in the Rio Paralympics. The singlehanded 2.4mR has been retained as the boat for the bid to reinstate sailing to the Paralympic Games (sailing is out for the 2020 Paralympics).
"Applications can be for one or both boats depending on the needs of the organization applying," announced Judy McLennan, Clagett co-founder and president. "We raised the funds to purchase the two boats through a grant from the Newman’s Own Foundation and the generosity of supporters at the annual Clagett fundraiser."
The deadline for applications is November 30, 2017. For information about the Clagett Boat Grant Program application, contact Sara Klik. For more information about Clagett, visit www.clagettregatta.org.