Warwick “Commodore” Tompkins turned 88 last Wednesday, and he and wife Nancy celebrated with family and friends on Saturday at the Sausalito YC. War stories were told, our favorite being recounted by Skip Allan. It involved a Soling event in Kiel, Germany, sometime in 1972. The design had been chosen as a new Olympic class in 1968, and many high-level sailors were competing in events leading up to the boat’s debut in the ’72 Olympics, which took place in Kiel that September. Skip says they didn’t realize how high until they got to the event and learned that Paul Elvstrom was there.
For those of you unfamiliar, let’s just say this was like going to a conference of ministers and learning that God was going to be one of the speakers.
But lo and behold, Commodore, Skip and third man Jim Gannon won the first race! They later learned it was the only race Elvstrom had not won in, like, three years. Wow! Of course, Elvstrom scored straight bullets in the remaining six races and won the regatta. But hey, Commodore, Skip and Jim are among only a handful of sailors who can truthfully claim to have beaten the Great Dane.
Then a sort of revelation happened. As noted in one of last week’s ‘Lectronic Latitudes, Paul Elvstrom’s birthday was February 25 — just a day before Commodore’s (though different years). But get this: Skip Allan’s birthday is February 24!
Three of the best sailors in an entire generation and their birthdays were on consecutive dates. What are the odds?
We figured that was worth a quick look at this Pisces thing, where we found this in the first entry: “As is the case with all water signs, you are at ease in the deep, mysterious oceans of emotion . . .”
Maybe there’s something to this astrology stuff after all.
Readers — This story’s ‘cover image’ is a picture of Commodore Tompkins aboard Wander Bird.