Thursday, March 15, 2012


Whenever I see red and yellow stripes, it takes me back to 1996, to the Twenty Sixth Sunfish World Championships at Boca Chica in the Dominican Republic. The Serious Sunfish Sailors these days always race with serious boring white racing sails... except at the World Championships when they sail with colored sails made especially for that event.

1996 was my first World Championship and set me off on a path of traveling to Sunfish Worlds and Laser Masters Worlds all over the world during the next 15 years. I still remember how excited I was to receive the letter from the Sunfish Class inviting me to be part of the US team. It seemed a big deal at the time, although in those days it wasn't anything as hard as it is now to qualify for the Worlds.

Here's the full photo of the start from which the first picture was clipped.

Who is that guy taking huge advantage of the midline sag? Not me! Although I'm in that mix somewhere.

I don't remember much about the racing but I do remember that the sailors from Bermuda served us Dark 'N Stormies after racing some days. Mmmmm.

There was a young Dominican sailor called Raul Aguayo racing in that Sunfish Worlds. He must have been about 15 at the time. He went on to become the first Dominican sailor to sail in the Olympic Games when he raced in the Laser class at the 2008 Olympics.

I, on the other hand, went on to write a sailing blog which comes up pretty high if you do a Google search for "best sailing blog on the planet." Take that Rick Santorum.


George A said...

Jeff Linton, the current hot helm in Classic Moths, was ranked (I think) 3rd in the world in 'fish back in his early stages. He went on to win the Lightning Class Worlds, get selected as a Rolex Yachtman of the year, among other things, and is still one hell of a racer.

I was never fond of the Sunfish (easy boat to sail, difficult boat to sail well)but the mighty 'fish fleet is an obvious good breeding ground for greatness. Oh, and I do love those striped sails. They put me in the mood for St. Anywhere, any time!

Tillerman said...

Yes, Jeff was a real power in the Sunfish class back in the day. He won the NAs several times and was 3rd at the 1996 Worlds.

Totally agree with what you say about the Sunfish. Easy to sail. Hard to sail well. Not as much fun as the Laser IMHO. I sailed the Sunfish when we lived in North Jersey because everybody else did there. It was a choice between sailing regattas with 30-40 Sunfish sailors or racing around in a Laser on my own!

Baydog said...

It comes up twice? Or were you just pretty high?

Tillerman said...

Half the time I don't know what the hell the Baydog is talking about. You can quote me on that. You can quote me on that.

Anonymous said...

Wonder whether Raul will make it to this year's Olympics. Not sure whether he wants to, although I believe he sailed in the Laser Worlds in Perth.


Tillerman said...

As of 6 Feb 2012, according to this site, the Dominican Republic was not yet qualified for the 2012 Olympics in any of the sailing events.

Tillerman said...

But there will be some more places allocated based on performance at the 2012 Laser Worlds in Germany in May.

bonnie said...

Can I quote you on that?

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