Monday, November 30, 2015

RS Aero News

There's a lot happening in RS Aero world these days.

RS Aero World

1. Perhaps the most exciting news is that the RS Aero Class has qualified for ‘world sailing (ISAF) class status’ following the recent World Sailing conference held in China. This is only 18 months after the launch of the class which is now being sailed in 41 nations, and the announcement comes in a week when the 793rd RS Aero was being shipped.

This status gives the class ISAF approval to run an official RS Aero World Championship. I understand discussions are underway as to whether to designate a 2016 event already being planned as the first RS Aero Worlds or wait until 2017. Watch this space!

A major contributing factor to the remarkable growth of the class has been the energetic efforts of our RS Aero International Class Manager - Peter Barton.

Peter Barton
RS Aero International Class Manager
Apparently having just won something
which looks vaguely rude.

Every class should be so lucky as to have a Peter Barton.

2. In the last few months, RS Aeros have been competing in regattas in all four corners of the United States.

 Ash Beatty and Hank Sausage in RS Aeros
and a bunch of other random boats
at the Wurstfest Regatta 
at Lake Canyon YC in Texas 

Ian Ponting and Jim Muir 
at the Goblin Regatta 
in Santa Barbara, California

Andy Mack, Todd Willsie and Michael O'Brien
wearing their cool RS Aero Seattle Fleet hats
at the Puget Sound Sailing Championship
in Seattle, Washington

Gary Werden and Eric Aker
2nd and 3rd RS Aeros
and a bunch of other random boats
at the Archipelago Rally
in Westport, Massachusetts.
Modesty prevents me from
naming skipper of the first RS Aero.

3. 2016 is shaping up to be an even more exciting year for RS Aeros in North America. It looks like there will be an RS Aero Midwinters in Florida in March. And there will be a major east coast RS Aero regatta in Newport, Rhode Island in July and a major west coast RS Aero regatta in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon in August. 

RS Aeros at the Gorge in 2015

4. An RS Aero has even been spotted racing at that bastion of Laser sailing, the Cedar Point YC Laser frostbite fleet. What is the world coming to?

Spot the RS Aero

5. I have always thought the RS Aero is a pretty cool-looking boat but it seems that RS Aero owners in some parts of the world are turning their RS Aeros into veritable works of art. Some Swedish RS Aero owners have been "coloring" their boats green or pink or orange or blue with vinyl wraps above the water line...

But the prize for best decorated RS Aero must go to Chris, from South Australia, who has named his boat 'Yes!' as in, "Yes! This is the boat I have been waiting for all my life."


I know exactly how he feels.

Friday, November 27, 2015


Ten years ago today I became a grandfather.

Nine years ago today I posted this collage of shots from the first year of my granddaughter, Emily.

This is how she looks now.

Happy Birthday Emily!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Laser Radial Womens Worlds 2015

The Laser Radials Womens Worlds are being held in Oman this week.

All the world's top women Radial sailors are there - including the contenders for medals at the Olympics next year.

After ten races, going into the final day, Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) and Evi Van Acker (BEL) are tied on points, with Marit Bouwmeester (NED) the reigning World Champion and silver medalist at the London Olympics in 2012 just four points behind these two.

Anne-Marie Rindom 

Evi Van Acker 

Marit Bouwmeester

Who will be the new world champion?

Will these women be among the medal winners in Rio!?

Mirror Mania!

Was the Mirror Dinghy the start of the dinghy sailing boom in the UK?

Is it the reason why Britain has won more Olympic gold medals in sailing than any other nation?

Friday, November 20, 2015

If I Had A Boat

If I had a boat 
I'd go out on the ocean
I'd ride him on my boat 
And we could all together 
Go out on the ocean 
Me upon my pony on my boat


Ride a pony on a boat?

A little boat like a a Laser or an RS Aero?

What a ridiculous idea!

What on earth is Lyle Lovett singing about?

Well it may mean different things to different people. But it seems to me that this is some kind of escapist fantasy. As a boy I always dreamed of owning a boat and going out on the ocean in it. And my granddaughters have been known to say they want ponies for their birthdays. (Not that any of then have had that wish fulfilled. At least not yet!) Is the central theme of this song a combination of those two childhood wishes?

Not that escaping on a boat is merely a childhood dream. For me, and I suspect for many people, the appeal of sailing is that it takes us away from the everyday life of working and living in little boxes and driving in little boxes on roads, and shopping in big boxes (ugh - I hate supermarkets) and bills to pay and the Internet and computers and phones and blogging...

Stop! I need to finish this blog post.

For some of us, sailboat racing provides relief from the pressures and tedium of everyday life. For others, just taking a small boat like a Laser or an RS Aero out to play on the ocean in big waves is their escape route.

But what is Mr. Lovett trying to escape from?

Maybe the first verse will give us a clue?

If I were Roy Rogers 
I'd sure enough be single 
I couldn't bring myself to marrying old Dale 
It'd just be me and Trigger 
We'd go riding through them movies 
Then we'd buy a boat and on the sea we'd sail


He doesn't want to marry "old Dale." He is pulling back from a relationship with a woman...

Roy and Dale

 ... and going back to a childhood fantasy of a man and his horse. 

Roy and Trigger

Maybe the song is about the bitterness of a man who was hurt in a romantic relationship that went wrong?

But wait. What is in the second verse?

The mystery masked man was smart 
He got himself a Tonto 
'Cause Tonto did the dirty work for free 
But Tonto he was smarter 
And one day said kemo sabe 
Kiss my ass I bought a boat 
I'm going out to sea

Lone Ranger and Tonto

The Lone Ranger.  A man and his horse. But now the singer identifies with the lone ranger's Indian companion who "did all the dirty work for free." And it is Tonto who says "kiss my ass" to the boss and goes off on his boat to escape. Or is there an undertone of a sexual relationship here too? Whatever the nature of the relationship it's clear that the image of going out on the ocean on a boat (with or without a pony) is a release from a human bond which the singer wishes to escape.

But things get even more confused in the third verse.

And if I were like lightning 
I wouldn't need no sneakers 
I'd come and go wherever I would please 
And I'd scare 'em by the shade tree 
And I'd scare 'em by the light pole 
But I would not scare my pony 
On my boat out on the sea

Lightning? Sneakers? What does that have to do with the other verses? Well I guess it's all about escape and freedom again so he can "come and go wherever I would please." But there's a touch of anger and maybe even revenge too.  "I'd scare 'em by the shade tree and I'd scare 'em by the light pole." Who does he want to scare? The mysterious woman? Her new partner? The boss man? All of the above? Whatever the source of his rage it is in contrast to his liberation with his pony on his boat out on the sea.


I guess I really am no good at analyzing song lyrics.

All of the above is probably utter nonsense.

You are probably laughing at me because I am too naive to understand the true meanings of "pony" and "ride" and "lightning."  They are likely references to drugs or sex or both, subjects of which I know so little.

So how do YOU explain this weird little song?

This post was inspired by today's post on Damian's excellent blog, The Final Beat,  which is about a different song called If I Had A Boat sung by a musician friend of Damian's.

If I Had A Boat - the Lyle Lovett song not the one by Damian's friend - was one of the the Top 10 Sailing Songs in a vote held by Adam in 2007 on his excellent blog Messing About in Sailboats.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Bitter End Yacht Club 2011

This is one of my favorite photos of me sailing.

Or should I say "not actually sailing?"

This embarrassing incident happened during my stay at Bitter End Yacht Club in the BVI in December 2011.

I was racing in the Laser regatta on my first Sunday there. I won the first race. Then in the second race a squall came through and my mast broke on a beat. Of course I fell out of the boat.

"Luckily" the official photographer was on hand to capture this photo just as my little head in my favorite orange sailing cap popped up out of the water.

Tillerwoman insisted on buying a 12x8 print of this image (the one with the broken mast - not the one of the orange cap) to frame and hang on the wall at home.

For the record, I was towed back to shore, got myself a new rig, came back to the racing, and won the bottle of rum awarded for first place Laser.

Yes, the photo of me and my broken mast has been posted once or twice on the blog before.

There may have even been a picture or two of bottles of rum here before.

I am allowed to do that on Throwback Thursday.

I really need to get back to BEYC some time soon.

Anyone up for a sailing bloggers' reunion there?