FRESH FISH - May 12, 2017
SUNFISH FLEET 532 NEWS
HOSPICE REGATTA: If you haven't signed-up to sail then please do so. This is the regatta that we all support, even if we sail boats other than our Sunfish.
FLEET ROSTER - I am still frustrated that I don’t have a good handle on all of the LNYC Sunfish people. I need the name of everyone at LNYC who owns a Sunfish or has interest in the Sunfish Fleet. If you would like to be included in our Fleet communications then please go to the LNYC website and identify yourself as a fleet member. If you can’t do that then please contact me by email and I’ll get you on the list.
JUNIOR SAIL CAMP SUNFISH numbers are at a record high. Where do we go from here? There are over 20 registered and it’s become obvious that we need to focus our resources on the kids and that is what I have agreed to do. This means that the “Adult” sail camp plans have been put on hold for now. Where does this leave those who had hoped to be a part of that? Why was there pressure/demand for an Adult Sail Camp? How can we best capitalize on this demand?
Here is the MOST important question: We’ve got 20 kids who’ll be sailing Sunfish: what happens AFTER camp? I know of one outstanding young man who owns a Sunfish and keeps it in dry storage, but I don’t think he’s sailed since last year’s Sail Camp. We’ve got to come up with a program that gives these kids more opportunities to get out on the water. MANY parents tell me that their kids are just “not competitive.” I understand that completely, I assure you. So what can we do to put the focus on the “fun” and other non-competitive aspects of sailing? What kind of activities can we discover/create to get and keep them coming back for more? What if we focus on the idea of “efficiency” as opposed to “winning?” I’m hoping the parents will help me with some ideas.
Why don’t we just plan to hold Adult Sunfish Sailing Classes going forward? Why don’t we make the Sunfish kids part of that process and get parents and kids sailing together? I’m asking for feedback here. I’ve got a million ideas but I’m hoping that someone out there is paying attention and willing to step up and be a part of this movement going forward.
If you didn’t read the thoughts of Rathbone DeBuys that I referred to a couple of months ago, then you are missing some excellent thinking that is 100 percent germane to the current situation. I urge you to go and take the time to read this: http://www.fishclass.org/history/history.html
At present there are a lot of folks looking for good used Sunfish: suppose we form a syndicate, and pool our money and buy a few boats and have a “boat-bee” and fix them up and they would be available to sail at any time, by members of the group? I would like to do some rearranging of the boat storage area and end-up with four “decent” Sunfish, sitting on dollies, ready-to-go. Of course you would have to be “checked-out” and qualified, but once you’re qualified you can go sailing at any time you like. Part of the “dues” would be service to repair and maintain the boats. We might also assign days that a member would be responsible for getting the boats rigged and to the beach, ready to go.
These sort of programs require a lot of discipline in terms of respecting and maintaining the community property: could we do it?
SUNFISH DRY STORAGE - LAUNCHING
The Pavilion is the natural place for our activities, with the storage racks and dry storage spaces convenient to the beach, but I would like to improve the layout of that area. Many of the boats in the best spots are seldom-sailed. I would like to move those boats and clean up the area with the priority spots given to those who are more active. I’m sure the LNYC Board would have to approve, but I can’t imagine that they would object to any positive steps to increase the number of boats on the water. This would also be a natural place to stage our Club-Owned Boats, with easy access to the water. Who would be able to find the time to be a part of a total re-make of the dry-storage racks for the Optis/Sunfish/Lasers? Could we actually get that done and end-up with the active boats given the optimum spots and the other relegated to “long-term storage?” Could we have this done by Commissioning 2018?
The Sunfish is a miserable boat in light air, but then so is all sailing. However, when the wind blows it’s a totally different story and that means that you need to be prepared for those days, usually in the Spring and Autumn when the fronts are moving through and we get those wonderfully rare days when the winds are above 15 mph. This is when the Sunfish comes alive; the perfect way to enjoy the very best of the wind-driven experience while sitting comfortably in complete control of a stable, forgiving and easily-controlled platform. Do you look at the 20+ knot days and realize just what you’re wasting? Would you like to enjoy a 25 knot day? The Sunfish can take you there. It is a great way to stay fit and limber and far easier to handle than you would imagine. I recently read that over 300,000 Sunfish have been built in the past sixty years: there is a reason for that success.
Access to the wind and the water is just as easy and convenient as ever. With the Sunfish you reduce the game to a tiller and a sheet. How could it be any easier?
I hope that by the time that the Fall winds start to blow and the water is still bathtub-warm, that we will have a regular crowd out taking advantage of it, building confidence, and making plans for being able to take advantage of the big winds and cooler waters of Spring, 2018.
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 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.
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.
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.