Tuesday, October 13, 2015

11 Reasons to Buy the Melges 14

Anyone on the market for a new design 13-14ft hiking, planing, single-hander this year had at least three choices: the RS Aero, the Devoti D-Zero and the Melges 14.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I chose to go the RA Aero route. I placed a deposit on an RS Aero as soon as the order book was opened for North America in March 2014. I was later informed that I had the distinction of placing the first order for an RS Aero in North America. I had an opportunity to try out the RS Aero at Minorca Sailing in September of 2014 and, thanks to Scott Hardy of the Boat Locker, two friends and I were able to borrow a demo RS Aero in March this year so they could try it too. All three of us committed to the RS Aero and took delivery of our boats in May. After a summer of sailing the boat in pursuit races and fleet races, two regattas in Massachusetts, and at the 21 boat North Americans in the Columbia River Gorge, we have no regrets. The RS Aero has totally lived up to and even exceeded our expectations.

2015 RS Aero North Americans

Apparently RS Sailing have sold over 750 RS Aeros worldwide with about 100 delivered in North America. The main concentration of RS Aeros on this continent is in the Pacific North West, but they can also be found in the north-east, Florida, Texas and the Gulf Coast, California, Canada and various inland locations.

But what about those other two new-single-handers?

 Devoti D-Zero seems to have done well in the UK. From what I gather some clubs in the UK chose to build D-Zero fleets and others went for the RS Aero. Makes sense. There were 24 D-Zeros at their Inland Championship at Yorkshire Dales SC last weekend. I have not heard of any major marketing activity for the D-Zero in the US but I think a few have been imported by individuals.

2015 Devoti D-Zero UK Inland Championship

And the Melges 14? I hadn't heard much about Melges 14 activity this year until seeing the video below produced by Scuttlebutt at the Annapolis Boat Show.

So why would American sailors want to buy the Melges 14 rather than the Aero or D-Zero? Maybe the video has some answers?

1. It's made in America.  Americans are very patriotic people and many sailors would rather support a boat made in the good old USA than one of those foreign countries.

2. It's made by Melges a very well-respected boat building brand, if not known all that well in the dinghy market yet.

3. It's a Sailing World 2016 Boat of the Year Nominee. I have no idea what that really means but it sounds good.

4. Can be sailed by one or two people.

5. Two different sized rigs so "kids or gals" can race the boat.

6. Mylar sail.

7. Carbon rig.

8. Melges' goal is to create a one design racing circuit so people can race Melges 14s around the country.

9. Over 40 boats sold so far.

10. Melges hope to have their first Melges 14 regatta this winter down in Florida.

11. Melges rocks!

Melges rocks...
Posted by Scuttlebutt Sailing News on Friday, October 9, 2015

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Are Yacht Clubs Offensive?

Are yacht clubs offensive?

According to Pitzer College in Claremont, California, the answer is yes.

Last week, the student Senate at Pitzer voted to deny instating a yacht club at the school "as the majority of Senators found the name 'yacht club' to have a particularly offensive association with yacht clubs and a recreation known for being exclusive," according to Taylor Novick-Finder, a Pitzer College Senator.

Watch the video.

What do you think?

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Sailing in Newport

The weather is starting to feel a lot cooler.

We have had strong winds all week.

Summer has gone.

I wonder when we will see the first snow?

It's time to start looking forward to sailing Lasers in Newport in the winter.

Only 4 more weeks until the start of the season.

Can't wait!

I Love Winter

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Barcelona - Crash and Burn!

NACRA 17s European Championship in Barcelona.

Strong winds.

Lots of capsizes.

Broken gear.

Did she say "logs" on the race course?

Looks like a lot of fun.

Maybe I need a NACRA 17?

Or perhaps there's an RS Aero regatta in Barcelona soon?

Update Oct 1: Day 3 - no racing due to high wind and waves.
                     Day 4 - no racing due to no wind at all.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Baydog's Next Boat

Hey Baydog, check this out.

Colie Sails, based in beautiful downtown Point Pleasant, NJ, is now advertising on their website that they have RS Aeros for sale.

That's just down the road from you.

Oh shit, now I've mentioned it on my blog, some of my other readers in NJ are probably going to be going to Colie Sails to buy RS Aeros too. Then all those sailors' friends will see how much fun they are having in their RS Aeros and before you know what's happened all the cool kids (of all ages) on Barnegat Bay will be sailing RS Aeros and there will be RS Aero regattas up and down the Jersey Shore and somewhere like Brant Beach Yacht Club will be running the RS Aero Atlantic Coasts and there will be 70 boats entered...

Move fast Baydog. You need to head down there today and buy an RS Aero before they are all sold out. Even better, give Clay Johnson a call and reserve your RS Aero right now.

Let me know when you have your RS Aero and I promise I will come to New Jersey and sail with you.

This could be you Baydog

Wait, is that a girl?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

66th Annual Massapoag Yacht Club Regatta - Day 1

The winds were light. The fleet was small. But the enthusiasm was high and the competition was intense in the RS Aero fleet at the Massapoag Yacht Club 66th Annual Regatta last weekend.

“Massapaog” is an Algonquin word meaning “large water with crazy swirling winds where I waited for you in the rain and we ate lobsters and ice cream and drank cold beer.”  Really.

Totally gratuitous photo of pretty girl waiting in the rain

As well as the 5 RS Aeros, this popular and friendly multi-class regatta also included fleets of 9 Lasers, 20 Sunfish, 13 Flying Scots and 4 Day Sailers, so it was a perfect opportunity to showcase the RS Aero to 63 sailors who had not yet realized that they really needed to buy an RS Aero.

The club had imported a crack PRO to run the races, and at the skippers’ meeting on Saturday morning, he made it clear that he welcomed input from the sailors and asked for our thoughts on everything from what minimum wind speed we would like to race in, to what courses we would prefer. We even took a vote on how many penalty turns we wanted to do if we broke one of those pesky rules. After a confusing and impassioned debate about different options for “in the zone” or “out of the zone,” and for collisions or “not collisions,” and for “it really wasn’t my fault I didn’t mean to hit you,”  the motion for “keep it simple, one turn for everything” was passed by a large majority. It was just as well that we had a lengthy and entertaining skippers’ meeting because there was no wind on the lake and it helped to pass the time.

Impassioned debate about one turn vs two turns.
Federalists were for a national bank, being nice to Brits, and two turns. 
Democratic-Republicans were for states' rights and two turns only in the zone.

An apology was relayed by the regatta chairperson from one of the top Sunfish sailors who couldn’t make the regatta because he had a “plumbing problem.” We all wished that the solution to his problem wouldn’t be too painful and that he would make a speedy recovery.

After the skippers’ meeting there was still no wind on the lake so we settled into a morning of chatting with the other sailors, catching up with old friends, and making new friends - which is of course the main reason we go to regattas on inland lakes anyway. 

After one of the most severe winters in living memory in New England it was natural that the conversation would touch on the blizzard of the century, the record snow fall, the boats crushed under the snow, how late the last bit of snow melted etc. etc. Unfortunately one of the Laser sailors came from New Hampshire. (For the geographically challenged that is north of Massachusetts and goes all the way to Canada.) So the guy from New Hampshire could trump any snow story we wimps from the deep south of Rhode Island and Massachusetts could plausibly invent. 

 Worst day of winter according to guy from Massachusetts

Average winter day according to guy from New Hampshire

Meanwhile my charming and persuasive son (who has been sailing an RS Aero for all of 3 weeks) was explaining to many of the 63 sailors unlucky enough not to own an RS Aero why they really needed to buy one right now.

Around 11am the wind on the lake picked up a little. The RC took to the water. Most of the sailors took to the water. A few of the most cynical sailors (including me) stayed on land. The wind died. All the sailors came back to shore. Cynicism ruled.

Lunch was served.

After lunch there was still no wind.

About 2pm a few sailors launched and drifted around the lake. I decided to join them in my RS Aero, mainly because I was getting tired of being out-played at the game of “my snow was deeper than your snow” by the guy from New Hampshire. Some Sunfish sailors decided to have an informal race around some blue and yellow object on the opposite shore. 

Apparently while I was drifting around, the PRO and the sailors at the club took a vote on whether (a) to go racing anyway even though there was no wind and (b) to delay the lobster and ice cream dinner if necessary. Both motions passed because, by some quirk in the the American voting system, it was ruled that all the sailors drifting around aimlessly on the lake were actually voting in favor of both motions. Huh?

American voting system

So everyone (except for the usual cynics) launched and drifted around the lake for another hour or two in what was obviously not enough wind to go racing. I told anyone within earshot that the mere fact that I had been drifting around in 0-1 knots in my RS Aero did NOT mean that I would have voted to race in those conditions (let alone delay my dinner.)  

All the Sunfish sailors who had raced to the blue and yellow object on the far shore seemed to be staying there. Those of us still “sailing” surmised that the blue and yellow object must be a hot tub and that the Sunfish sailors were frolicking in the hot tub in the nude. How else could be the Sunfish class still be so popular?

Photo of naked Sunfish sailors frolicking in a blue and yellow hot tub
What the ...? 
Google censored it?

Then magically, it happened. Just out of nowhere, about 4 o’clock, the wind picked up to about 8-10 mph from the east and we were racing. Glory be to Gitchi Manitou! (That’s Algonquin for yee-how!)

Gitchi Manitou and some other god

The race committee signaled for a Gold Cup course (triangle-windward-leeward-downwind finish) and we were off and racing. Yee-how!

The star of Saturday’s racing in the RS Aero fleet was definitely "Bob," who won the first race and was second in the second race. (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.) 

"Bob" is the coach for the high school sailing team who train on Lake Massapaog, and he lives in a house on the lake. He has been a member of Massapoag YC since the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt (or thereabouts.) Put it all together and "Bob" knows the foibles and intricacies of the winds on this lake better than almost anyone else on the planet. Plus he is about 50lbs lighter than fat boys like me so I had definitely picked him as “most likely to succeed” in a light air regatta at MYC.  

"Bob" is 5th from the left in the back row

At the end of the day "Bob" was leading the RS Aero fleet with 3 points, closely followed by the other two members of the Boston Aero fleet, Email Dude on 4 points, and Tillerman (me) on 5 points.  At the end of the day I was just hoping I could hang on to third place.

Hanging on by my fingernails to third place

After hitting the beach we went straight to the cocktail party, where everyone told totally unbelievable stories about the day’s racing and enjoyed the delicious range of hors d’ouevres served by the club. Most of the ladies had dressed up for the evening festivities and I hardly recognized some of them with their clothes on. And then the dinner was served with lobster and ice cream and all sorts of other good eats and we all drank way too much and talked way too much and knew we would have a hangover in the morning.

Here endeth the first day. Glory be to Gitchi Manitou!  

Friday, August 21, 2015


Please welcome Moana, the next Disney princess - a Polynesian sailor and navigator.

Monday, August 17, 2015

More Moth Porn from the Gorge

No apologies...

I still haven't got over my obsession for the Columbia River Gorge that I caught three weeks ago.

And I could watch the Moths for hours. So hypnotic.


American Exceptionalism


I never knew that the rest of the world had all gone Celsius.

Thanks to Fascinating Maps @BestWorldMaps on Twitter for the map.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

International Moths at the Gorge

This weekend it is the Total Domination IPA International Moth US Nationals at the Columbia River Gorge.

How about a slalom course for the RS Aeros next year at the Gorge?

For that matter how about Total Domination IPA as a sponsor?