FRESH FISH - April 17, 2017
SUNFISH FLEET 532 NEWS
The sailing season is here and I've been so busy with so many projects that I'm running behind on the Sunfish News deadline. Special thanks to everyone who helped with our participation on the Lawn at Commissioning. I feel it's important to let people know that the Sunfish fleet is active and that we are planning all sorts of new activities for 2017 and beyond. Now the next step is putting boats on the water for any and all sorts of activities, mostly just sailing around and having some fun.
One of my goals is to make Sunfish Sailing an everyday activity at the club and that starts with making it easy to launch and retrieve from the beach in the swim area. There are several Seitech Dollies that belong to LNYC and I would like to get those up and running. I would also like to work with the owners of the boats that are stored along the "beach/shoreline area, which is known as area "L" or LIMA and see who along that stretch would volunteer to move their inactive boats further down the shore or up to the area "M" along the road. This would free up a few spots for the more-active Sunfish sailors, in the interest of increased activity, particularly with the junior sailors who are not interested in racing and also for the parents/graduates of the Adult Sailing Camp.
MYSTERY SUNFISH ID PROGRAM CONTINUES
Thank you to those who are responding. I am removing your boats from this list as I get the information.
There are many unidentified Sunfish at the club. Please insure that your name is clearly marked on your trailer or on the hull itself. Here are the location and serial number’s of the mystery boats. All have been marked with orange duct tape. If you have property at LNYC then you are required to insure that it is properly identified or it could be assumed that it has been abandoned.
Location L23, #00134574D000 - Newer-style boat, great condition.
Location L29, #ODT35636A001
Location M25, No Serial Number found. “JD Michael” written in dirt. Solid Blue Deck.
Rack B-4 - AMF 82420M80E - White deck with blue stripes
Rack E-6 - AMF 05115 - White Deck with red, white and blue stripes.
Rack F-1 - OQT 35543A00P - Newer Boat, White deck w/wide gray stripes.
Rack F-2 - AMF-05621M836 - No description
Rack F-3 - AMF 51618M77H - White deck with red stripes.
Rack F-6 - AMF 23816M74L - Yellow deck with white stripes.
There are several Seitech Sunfish dollies that are in need of repair. This will be done in the near future so they will be available so you can launch your boats.
The market is starting to heat up as the season draws closer. We will need boats for both Junior and Adult Sail Camp this year. If you have a boat to sell, please let it go to an LNYC member at a good price.
LNYC RACE COMMITTEE
Sunfish fleet members are reminded that the RC Assignments are due out soon. It is your responsibility to show up prepared and ready to serve. If anyone has any questions about RC then please ask me and I’ll be glad to go over it with you. It’s a lot of fun and very educational.
FIRST THINGS FIRST !!
Someone reached out to me this morning to tell me that she is excited about sailing her Sunfish this year but is "not very fast...."
Get over that idea that we are worried about "FAST." We are looking for "BETTER." You can start worrying about fast when you get up near the front of the fleet and you let your outhaul out 1/4 inch. Until that point just come on out and let's go sailing. If you have a genuine interest in being better and are open-minded and receptive to being coached, we'll have you scooting along in no time at all. I want to see you walk down the beach, slide your 'fish into the water and go out sailing and come back with a big smile on your face. That is all that I am after here, because I know that if I can make that happen then you'll be back next weekend to do it again.
If you came here looking for the Fleet Newsletter please scroll down. I have left it posted, but head's-up that in the future I will post the monthly news here before it goes into the Signal. As soon as the Signal is issued, I'll pull the content from here and send you to the Signal to find it. Of course I have it all archived right here. A big thanks to Editors Ray Weeks and Carol Claypool for giving us so much valuable space and letting me ramble a bit. I had a lot of catching-up to do.
“Fresh Fish” will be a place where we can all share our thoughts, mostly mine unless you guys chime in with your two cents and I would welcome that. My goal is to keep a lot of things happening in this space in hopes that I can get you to come here more often to see what I've got going on. Retirement is very liberating in terms of being able to throw things out there and not worry that they might fail or that your boss will be calling you into the office to discuss your "outlandish" ideas.
When Long Range Planning Committee Chairman Fred Jones said that they were aware that we might be "missing something" I quietly thought; "Not if I can help it." And so I will manage this space with that in mind and it will be a place to ease out of the “envelope” and see what might be found “outside the box.” Got something? Throw it at me.
I tend to bombard people with emails and I know that a lot of them are never read because they are little more than the "Static of Life" for most of you. With that in mind, I will share things here in hopes that everyone at LNYC will come and join the discussion. I thank everyone for the opportunity. When I returned to sailing after a total absence of 20+ years my plan was to lay-low and be invisible, but now the old marketing instincts in me are starting to simmer. "Pssssssst...... Hey Buddy.... Wanna join a yacht club?"
BORING PERSONAL BACKSTORY
I came to organized "yachting" at the age of 13 after learning to sail at Boy Scout camp. I came home and told my father that I wanted to sail. My parents had been social sailors on Mobile Bay for many years and frequent visits to various yacht clubs for major events (or to get a beer on Sunday) were not uncommon when I was a young child. We joined the Mobile Yacht Club and I was soon part of the regulars who spent the weekends racing the fleet of five club-owned Fish Boats in as many as ten or more races a day. (Yes, we had a wonderful prevailing sea breeze.) I'll be sharing more about this in the future in terms of how it might be germane to what we are doing today and our efforts to reinvigorate interest in sailing.
Nothing about the magic of the wind making the boat go has changed; only the means of accessing it. Again, that's the beauty of the Sunfish; so many barriers are just not there. Make a list of what you need to sail a Sunfish. It is very short.
But I digress! (imagine that..)
SAVING SAILING IN 1919
Please go and read "The History Of The Fish Class" written in 1947 by Rathbone DeBuys, which you will find on the website Fishclass(dot)org. Mr. DeBuys was an Ivy-league-educated architect from an old New Orleans family and very much a renaissance man. He single-handedly changed the course of organized yachting competition on the Gulf Coast with the introduction of his "radical" ideas and his design of the wonderful Fish Boat.
Here is a "teaser" to get you to go and read it. The details might be different and even though it was almost 100 years ago, I think it is very germane to our present dilemma:
“The birth of the Fish Class was something of an accident; the result of a conversation in 1919 while congratulating Commodore Ernest Lee Jahncke on his election. He is well remembered as one of the Southern Yacht Club's finest and most progressive Commodores, whose support was instrumental in making possible the Fish Class. This was it:
"Congratulations to you, Sir, as Commodore of the largest fleet of Jelly Beans and Flappers in existence." "What do you mean?" was his reply with some irritation for which I could not blame him.
My answer was: "Commodore, you well know yachting in our club is practically dead. "There are only a very few racing sloops remaining, plus a motley lot of craft impossible to successfully handicap. "Yachting spirit is at ebb-tide. "Our club life consists of dinner dances attended by hundreds from our large membership and their friends. "The Race Committee for several years has had no control of what little racing there has been and has been dominated by a small clique who do as they please."
Notice that Mr. DeBuys didn’t hold back the criticisms that obviously would have been resented by many. He shook things up. He shared his vision of the problems, knowing that he was stepping on toes and upsetting many, but then he offered a solution. And it worked.
The key to making it work was designing a boat for a program that made it possible for all members of the club to be a part of the action on the water. At a time (1919) when towing a small boat on the road was unheard of, he made it possible for sailors from all of the clubs in the Gulf Yachting Association to come to a regatta at the Mobile Yacht Club where their five boats were joined with the five from Fairhope Yacht Club (across the bay), and the five from Buccaneer Yacht Club (just up the bay) to provide a fleet of fifteen boats for a total of 45 sailors. The events were three races and the usual format called for crew rotation. Many clubs sent nine sailors so there was a fresh team for each race. To keep things fair*, there was a drawing for boat assignments, insuring that everyone had a chance to draw the fastest boat. That was me in October of 1963 when I drew the vaunted MYC#1 (still winning today) and skippered (and won) my very first race because I had the two best junior sailors crewing for me and we were in the fastest boat.
Hold on a minute: Based on that formula: (15 Yacht Clubs) x (9 Sailors) = 135 Participants - None of whom had to own a boat.
I believe that many of the elements for the “Salvation of Sailing” are to be found by looking to things that worked in the past: This is clearly one of those things. Fishclass(dot)org. And while you’re there check out the photos of a wonderful classic design and the historic photos or the crowds watching the action. (I can remember the pier at the Mobile Yacht Club so covered with people that I was afraid of being accidentally knocked overboard.)
WATCH THIS SPACE
I'm working on something totally different. A totally new twist on sailing competition with some crazy things borrowed from my time in the Staging Lanes (like R/C duty) at the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Drag Races down at ZMax. I'm going to throw it out there as soon as I can get it all on paper. HINT: Heavy Air
As the radio commercials say: "BE THERE! BE THERE! BE THERE!"
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"I don't care if you think it's silly, folks. I don't care if you think it's silly, folks." F. Zappa
* - "Fair is where you go to eat Funnel Cake." - David Poole - Charlotte Observer NASCAR writer (RIP)
FEBRUARY FLEET NEWS:
As the new Fleet Captain I will start by thanking Mark Evans for a great job and by reaching out to the long-time members of the fleet to thank them for their service and to ask for their continued support as we move forward with renewed enthusiasm and energy.
It is my belief that the “Salvation of Sailing” begins with individuals having fun on their Sunfish and it grows from there. Let’s plant those seeds at LNYC.
LET’S GO SAILING!: I’ve been at LNYC for almost a year now and I’ve met too many of you who don’t sail. I’m determined to change that. If you can swim, have reasonable flexibility and are in decent physical shape then there is no reason that you can’t enjoy what I’ve come to know over forty-five years of Sunfish sailing: There are few things more liberating than the simple pleasures of a tiller and sheet, the wind and the water.
The goal is to teach you the basics and then over time help you develop the boat-handling skills and confidence to venture out on those days when the wind is kicking and it’s just a non-stop rocket-ride. You’ll discover what I know: there is no boat better suited to extreme conditions than the Sunfish. A single non-stop planing reach from the Interstate back to the club makes up for many, many hours of drifting and makes it all seem worthwhile.
FLEET INSTRUCTOR: The first person that I have reached out to is Claude Summers; I had heard too many good things about his natural talents as a teacher and he has agreed that he will be the Head Instructor for the fleet and so this year we will offer an Adult Sailing Camp in conjunction with Junior Camp. Details are still being worked out, but you will need a Sunfish and the fee will be very modest especially for camp volunteers. Thank you, Claude for stepping-up.
SLEEPING SUNFISH: I recently photographed 55 Sunfish or “clone” hulls on the LNYC grounds. It is obvious that many have been abandoned. If you have a boat at the club please be sure that it is clearly identified. Do you own a Sunfish that you plan to sail in 2017? Please go to the Sunfish Fleet Roster on the LNYC website and register as a fleet member. It costs you nothing and you are under no obligation. Do you own a Sunfish that is not being sailed? Please offer it for sale in the Classifieds in the Signal. If you are unsure of its value then let me know and I’ll help you appraise it and set a fair price. There are many Sunfish on Craigslist and other places; if you find one and want an opinion let me know. I’ll be happy to help you find the perfect boat for your purposes and budget. We are discussing having a series of Tune-A-Fish events to help get boats into shape, especially so they’ll be ready for Sail Camp and we’ll not waste valuable sailing time patching-up your boat.
FLEET SECRETARY/REGISTRAR: One of the many reasons for my optimism is the arrival of another new LNYC member, long-time Sunfish racer John Butine. He has agreed to be the Fleet Secretary/Registrar and if this past year is any indication you will usually find him at the front of the fleet. For those of us who love the competition side of Sunfish this bodes well for the possibility of some serious throw-down racing. I had a few tastes of it during the 2016 Board Bash and I’m hungry for more of it.
COMMISSIONING DISPLAY: We’ll have a presence on the lawn at this year’s Commissioning, featuring Claude’s Bloody Marys so stop by and say “Hi!” Look for a Spring Fleet Meeting, date TBD.
2017 SAILING OPPORTUNITIES
April 1 - 2 LNYC Commissioning - Club Series 1
April 22 - 23 LNYC Club Series 2
June 12 - 16 LNYC Sail Camp - Adult and Junior
July 21 - 23 Harker’s Island Regatta
August 4 - 6 SAYRA One-design - Wrightsville Beach
September 23 - 24 Board Bash
November 4 - 5 Sunfish SE Regionals -Columbia, SC - Qualifier for the Worlds.
FRIDAY FUN SAILS: LNYC has added some Friday dates in July and August for Portsmouth racing. Maybe we can get something going there?
WHO ARE YOU?: Please sign up on the Fleet Roster so I know who you are and watch the Signal for monthly reports and more news about Adult Sailing Camp. All creative and constructive ideas are welcomed. How can we have more fun at LNYC? I believe it starts with the Sunfish.
NEW FACEBOOK GROUP: Check out Carolina Sunfish Sailor - It’s a closed all-ages group and all posts will be moderated. Join today! I'm letting this sit for a bit - apply and be patient. I'm looking for good stuff to post.
LET’S DO IT: Let’s find a way to get more boats out this year. How can we make the wind forecasts our friend? Can we find a way to respond on short-notice and be there when the wind is up? It only takes five of us to put five boats on the line. (duh.. that's the beauty of Sunfish - my point is: it should be easy.) The more boats we put out there the more accommodating the club will be in their efforts to provide us with quality sailing. I sailed Portsmouth last year and it was decent at times except for being a Sunfish in the midst of those Scots and U-20s and such. I’ve suggested that if we show up with five boats on Sunday morning then the R/C would give us the first start in clean air. The big boats are going to run over us sooner or later anyway, usually more than once per race. I’m not a big fan of the Windward/Leeward courses anyway because it seems like you're always sailing in bad air, particularly when the "corridor" between the marks is filled with so many boats and all of the wind seems to be disturbed, especially down low on the water where we sit. Just another challenge of sailing on a light-air inland lake. Gotta love it and do the best with what you've got.
Can we promote and get enough boats pre-registered for the Hospice and other Open Regattas so that we can get off the course with the Optis? The “authorities” might be open to the idea if we have the numbers.