Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Random Ripples and Reflections

1. Mommy Boats
Regular readers of this blog -- that is to say Tim, Tim and that guy in Belarus -- will remember that back in June 2007 I wrote a rant about Mommy Boats, the increasingly common practice of having swarms of so-called "coach boats" buzzing around at every sailing regatta to mother the poor little sailors who aren't able to race all day without their mommy boats to help them.

Later that year, Mommy Boats was a hot topic both on Sailing Anarchy and the Laser Forum, and I wrote about that in Mommy Boats Redux.

Now, at last, there is some action. The Star class has voted to adopt a new rule which prohibits all contacts between athletes and coaches after leaving the harbour till the end of the last day race of the day. Good for them. I wonder if other classes will follow suit and ban these dratted Mommy Boats too.


2. Bottleport
Then in October of last year I wrote about the Bottleport, Greg Little's fantastically clever device for carrying a drink bottle on small boats, so perfectly suited for the purpose that it's amazing nobody has thought if it before.

Not so fast Greg. Some dude in Australia decided to ask the Big Chief Imperial Measurer of the Galactic Laser Class if the Bottleport is legal under Laser class rules. And the aforementioned BCIMGLC rendered his judgment that it is not legal. Oops.

The Laser Forum has been buzzing today with reaction to the ruling of the BCIMGLC focusing on the usual rules minutiae such as "what is the definition of a cover?" and "just because the rules say you may store stuff under a cover does that mean you can't store stuff inside a cover?" Great stuff.

But the amusing thing for me is that this discussion is proceeding in a forum thread that Greg (the inventor) started which is titled Bottleport reviewed by Tillerman. So all the rules freaks and sea lawyers are clicking over here to see who the hell this Tillerman dude is and whether he has any views on such vital topics as "what is the meaning of bag?"

3. North Sails Victory List
From today's Scuttlebutt...
As a small token of appreciation to our clients, North Sails is offering a FREE NORTH RACER HAT to those who finished in the top three in ANY regatta in North America during 2008! Simply find your name on our online Victory List (please send us your name if we missed you) and register for your free North Sails Racer Hat! One hat per customer, please. Offer available in North America only and expires April 1, 2009. If you don't currently race with North sails, check out this list & you might change your mind...!
Hmmm. I went to check out the list at http://na.northsails.com/NewsEvents/VictoryList2008/tabid/8871/Default.aspx.

Whaaat? As far as I can see there's not a single Laser regatta on the list, and even more amazingly they haven't even included my stunning victory in the Lake Whippersnapper First Annual Sunfish/Laser Regatta. How dare they? Don't they know who I am?

This is particularly ironic as every Laser sailor in North America is essentially forced to use sails from North in official regattas (unless you want to import an even more expensive but identical sail made by Hyde.) And they don't even include Laser regattas on their frigging list.

Well we can soon fix that. There's a form on the North website to add yourself to the victory list. Looks like you can add yourself to the list if you came first, second or third in any regatta in North America last year. So if you qualify I suggest you add yourself to the list too, even if it's only for the world-famous speed run from slip J106 to the breakwater.

51 comments:

Scuttleblog said...

The North Sails hat offer is for North Sails customers. Laser sailors will have to buy or beg of their cap.

Tillerman said...

Surely North American Laser sailors are North Sails customers, albeit indirectly via LaserPerformance and their dealers.

EVK4 said...

If somebody protests over the bottleport you are in the wrong game. Unless you strategically place bottleports all over the boat and move your 20 oz bottle of evian as movable ballast then this ruling is very lame.

On another note, I made provisions to keep that speed record run of J106 to the breakwater in a world famous ocean racer's greedy little hands.

Tillerman said...

We're talking class rules for the strictest of strictest one design boats on the planet here Edward. Laser rules freaks love to argue this stuff. In the past we have had questions about such issues as whether you can put a piece of duct tape over your autobailer spindle to prevent you from kicking it shut, and whether you can run your centerboard shockcord around your bow to keep it from getting in the way of other bits. Both of these momentous matters eventually caused changes to the rules that had to be voted on by the members and ratified by everyone from the United Nations to the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

This one has all the potential to be one of those vigorous acrimonious debates that resolves nothing and is indeed about very little. One dude on the forum has already compared the class chief measurer to Darth Vader, and the district measurer for New South Wales has introduced an analogy about how you would feel if your local council installed manhole covers in your road that were shaped like Bottleports.

Andrew said...

I'd have a good look at the closing date of the offer before getting too wound up about your hats, Laser sailors. Hats off to you on the Bottleport issue though.

Carol Anne said...

Let's see ... I can get a free hat if I finished at least third in ANY regatta last year? Well, that covers about half of the RGSC and NMSC regattas.

Oh, wait, that only counts if I was using North sails? OK, cut about half of those finishes out.

Oh, wait, those had to be sails that I bought new, directly from North? Oops. I had been somewhat proud that most of my sails had been used, but only extremely lightly, by some of the biggest names in sailing. Oh, well.

Fred said...

Nothing against Mommyboats in Opti regattas as long as they are there for a purpose. Safety of the kids. But there are people who get upset about NOT getting a quick tow back into the harbour who think that the Star class has done wrong with their vote against the Trainer or Mommyboats. Have to say, I am not a member of that class organization but know a few influential people. Those people could well have a huge rib with trainer and support crew out on the course, all on their own expenses but they are not doing so. They are upset with the big numbers of RIB´s hurling around fro and to the marinas, through other course areas, putting a layer of bad smell and ugly wakes on the water where (we) sailors with some social intelligence want to be seen environmental friendly. Green sport so to speak. My experience is only from Kiel or Medemblik or Lake Garda and I have seen the RIB´s growing in numbers like there is no tomorrow. We also had bans for parents or coaches changing green to red sweater during start sequences. Hats off for the Star class and their slogan which brought the rule change: "We want to be the first clean class". We can only hope that other classes will follow and that coaching takes place ashore and outside these big regatta events. One or two boats do no harm but the 300 - 400 RIBs (and growing) which are coming to Kieler Woche every year are a big problem which needs to be solved.

Tillerman said...

Good point Andrew. Hmmmm. April 1. So you think the whole "hats off to our clients" thing is just a huge April Fools joke by North Sails?

Carol Anne... I don't seen anywhere where it says you have to buy your sail directly from North to be on the victory list. I can't buy Laser sails directly from North. I buy them from a dealer who buys them from the Laser manufacturer who buys them from North. I still think that makes me a client of North. It's just that I have to pay a price that includes the profit for three vendors in the supply chain.

Fred - good point about the green argument against Mommy Boats. I had been focusing on the unfairness and nuisance angles but in my next rant I will stir the environmental pot too.

Just an update on the Bottleport debate. The sea lawyers on the forum are now arguing about the definition of "hull" and how you would feel if your local council filled in your swimming pool. Don't you just love it?

O Docker said...

I was trying to learn a little more about the whole Laser gestalt a while back and started poking around on the class association site.

The racing rules by themselves are apparently not enough structure for these dudes. They've also written up formal guidelines for how to conduct a proper regatta, right down to what to serve for breakfast. This is a 27-page document, most of which I found completely baffling, so I just skimmed down until I found something I recognized - food.

For some reason, they feel it's necessary to formally define the word 'fruit' (Section 2.5, subparagraph 1). Just like the Reagan White House had to clarify 'vegetable' for us. Before this landmark definition was drawn, there must have been all kinds of quibbling in the Laser ranks over this often puzzling word.

It must have something to do with which way the wind is blowing. I guess they don't want to confuse windward bananas with leeward bananas.

I don't know if strawberries are legal - those are not mentioned, but I'm pretty sure they're fruit, too, just not yet in the Laser world. There's a definite conflict that will need to be resolved in the next edition.

tillerman said...

Are Uncrustables in the Regatta Guidelines?

Greg and Kris said...

Leeward bananas.

That's why I hang out with you guys.

tillerman said...

Leeward bananas are very tasty with windward leeward sausages.

O Docker said...

Fruit is defined as "apples, bananas, etc." There's a gaping loophole with that 'etc.' which could, conceivably include Uncrustables.

I don't want to even think about how the protest room session might go on that one.

tillerman said...

How can you waste time on such trivia as the meaning of "etc." when the burning issue of whether I am entitled to a North Sails Hat is still unresolved?

O Docker said...

I think you may be disappointed with that hat.

If you check out the North site, they make that hat in 86 different colors, some of which are pretty awful. They're probably trying to unload some of the slow sellers. You could be knocking yourself out for some puce or fuschia hat.

In any case, it won't have nearly the panache of a Mt. Gay hat.

tillerman said...

I love puce and fuschia hats. I take pride in being the sailor in any race with the most unsailorly colored hat.

Carol Anne said...

T-man, since you bought the sails new, even if they did go through middlemen (middlepersons?), you should probably qualify for the hat.

I probably can't make a case that I should get the hat, since I bought my sails used or got them as hand-me-downs. Never mind that Dennis and Vince probably only used the sails a couple of times before I got them; I wasn't the original purchaser.

But then, I've got a Mount Gay Rum hat, so I don't need the one from North Sails.

tillerman said...

OK. Now it's serious. I see that the North Sails "Victory List" now includes an entry for a win by Garrison Keillor sailing Prairie Home Companion in the Lake Wobegone Canoe Marathon.

And still no recognition of my crushing victory on Lake Whippersnapper using a frigging new North Sail that cost me an arm and a leg.

O Docker said...

That Garrison Keillor entry is a sham. If you look at any map of Minnesota, you'll see there's no 'e' at the end of Lake Wobegon.

Which opens the question of whether the whole winners list is a sham. If you click on 'Get Your Free Hat', they want your e-mail address.

I think there aren't any free hats at all. This is just one of those data mining scams. If you fill out that form, you're going to be getting e-mails about Viagra for the rest of your life.

tillerman said...

Of course it's an email harvesting scam. That's beside the point. I am carrying out a piece of fearless investigative journalism into the scam. The only question is whether the headline on my article will be "North Sails Perpetrates Sham Spam Scam" or "North Sails in Sham Cap Swap Spam Scam".

If Garrison Keillor can get a fuchsia cap then I want one too.

Hmmm. I just thought. Why would North Sails want to capture the emails of their existing clients? Seems more likely that this is a scheme by one of their competitors to steal North's best customers. Fear not. The ever vigilant Tillerman is already on the trail of these dastardly cunning con-artists.

Pat said...

Carol Anne --
although we did not buy new sails from North, we did buy some brand new SAIL NUMBERS from them! And, the North Sail Numbers were on your sails that were in top three results. Now, if North won't give you a hat for that, might not they at least offer you a sun visor?

PeconicPuffin said...

This stuff is tremendous! I side with those who say you can not tape your autobailer spindle in competition.

Tillerman said...

Puffin you are on the wrong side of history. The ground has shifted beneath your feet. You have forgotten what this class has already done. The question is not whether duct tape is a force for good or ill, but whether it works. We reject the false choice between duct tape and no tape. We are committed to a sailor's right to choose.

PeconicPuffin said...

LOL!

Though from what I've read here, the sailing rules seem to be all about disallowing things that work.

tillerman said...

No no no Puffin. Haven't you been following the news? There's a new sheriff in town. Laser sailors are now allowed to tape their bailer stick thingies to the cockpit floor if that's what we desire. Yes we can. Thank you Obama.

BeachComber said...

Speaking of TLF, how does one register? I can't because the registration page asks, "What kind of boat is the Laser?" There's no hint as to what answer they're looking for. I can't submit a support ticket, because it asks the same question... Catch 22. Can someone help out?

You can post any insight on my blog, which I created for this very purpose!

tillerman said...

LOL Beachcomber. You are right.

I guess someone screwed up. Try emailing the admin Bradley at bgreen@sailingforums.net.

so said...

t-man
one vote for PROPER COURSE
zero Votes for Facebook
Miss you t-man
SO

Redwing said...

Should we send a search party into the world of Facebook to retrieve the T'Master?

Call the Web Guard to send out a virtual cutter?

I know, from firsthand experience, that if he has started to play Facebook's MobWars, there is no hope for him, and we just have to let this thing run its course.

tillerman said...

MobWars? I haven't played that yet. Thanks for the tip. See you in a few months.

Greg and Kris said...

Garrison Keillor is a sailor?

O Docker said...

Greg, Mr. Tillerman may be slow to respond.

There are all sorts of theories about what's become of him, but the trouble seems to have started a few weeks ago when he discovered Facebook.

My own theory is that he found a young lady named Sonya Tillerman and has been hanging out at her, um, "wall" a lot, probably trying to convince her that they're somehow related and that he's 23.

In several significant ways she bears a striking resemblance to Miss 43.

tillerman said...

LOL. There really is a Sonya Tillerman on Facebook.

sonya tillerman said...

Greg. Sadly North Sails have still not recognized on their Victory List Mr. Tillerman's stupendous win in the Lake Whippersnapper Galactic Laser Championship, but they are still listing the clearly fictitious win on Lake Wobegon by that author dude.

But the good news is that the pound has now sunk so low against the dollar that it almost makes economic sense to buy a Laser sail from Hyde in the UK. Mr. Tillerman tells me he is seriously thinking of starting a North Sails boycott by Laser sailors if they don't give them their due recognition (not to mention free hats) pretty damn soon.

PeconicPuffin said...

Um, what's going on here? What did I miss? No sailing, no blogging...what's up lord T?

tillerman said...

Words are in a parallel world on top of the world of life force. These two domains never intersect and one can not experience one through the other. There is nothing needed to know. And there is nothing to know.

O Docker said...

"...There is nothing needed to know. And there is nothing to know..."

That sounds very familiar. It's either Schopenhauer or from some Ikea assembly instructions.

EVK4 said...

Holy crap, we're being played. 38 comments! I see what's happening. Tillerman previously found the elusive formula of "inanity to comments" and is now testing the "infrequency to comments" corollary.

He is one big social experiment disguised as a blogger.

tillerman said...

"There is no such thing as a failed experiment, only experiments with unexpected outcomes."

PeconicPuffin said...

quelle merde...this is no way to discover how to sail smarter and faster!

Blog!...I say to you sir. Blog!

O Docker said...

So this is a Zen thing.

What is the sound of no Tillerman blogging?

Tillerman said...

"The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls."

Greg and Kris said...

Lord Tillerman? Tillerman is an MP?

Well, no wonder the pound is in such dire straits. One of the watchdogs has been playing around on a sailboat all day and writing recaps all night.

Back to work!

Greg and Kris said...

You quoted a Rush song. I don't too many grandpas that quote Rush songs. That's mighty impressive, or I'm getting old and Rush is sorta like Benny Goodman now.

That's gonna hurt if it's true.

Tillerman said...

Mr Andkris...

1. Your knowledge of the unwritten British constitution is sadly lacking. Lords and MPs.. not the same thing.

2. Dire Straits was one of my favorite bands.

3. Yes, bad news about the pound.

4. Rush Limbaugh writes songs when he's not wishing America to fail? I didn't know that.

Pat said...

The lack of sunlight must be really rough on higher-latitude northern hemisphere sailors. T-man should make a run to Cabarete or someplace similarly sunny. At least here in the Desert Sea we get some occasional time on the water even in January. A couple of weeks ago, we had an 80-year-old guy skippering his Laser and then crewing on a keelboat in Arizona's Birthday Regatta. But where were all the other Laserists?

Greg and Kris said...

I think I understand the British constitution just fine. I ate six platters of fish and chips while I was over there.

tillerman said...

With or without pickled onions?

BeachComber said...

Thanks for the contact at TLF, Tillerman. I think they've fixed the glitch now.

On the topic of pickled onions, in the 6 years I lived in England, I never had pickled onions with fish'n chips, and only recently, when I made pickled onions because I miss them, did I realized how well they would go with the fish fingers I was about to make. Brilliant!

Greg and Kris said...

I tried the mashed peas once.

Bleah.

Greg and Kris said...

There's also a Jacob, a John, a Carmen, a Knute, a Lizzie, and (personal fave) a Dicey Tillerman. I requested Facebook Friendship status with all of them.

Of course, I am currently friends with Mansy Man, Clover Coyner, Stef Snow-Bunny, James Bond, Heck Wherethebadkidsgo, and Clarence Zachow because I liked their names, too. (Okay, Clarence, you're a real friend, too, but it's mostly your name.)

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