Saturday, September 20, 2008

History of Sailboat Race Start Procedures

In the beginning, flags were flown and a cannon was fired by upper-class chaps in blazers and white flannels, and thus The Race was started, and several hours later The Queen asked which yacht was second and was told, "Ah, Your Majesty, there is no second."

And Yacht Racing was without form, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the spirit of Harold Vanderbilt moved upon the waters.

And Vanderbilt said let there be Rules and there were Rules.

And there were flags and shotguns and ten minute start sequences and more upper-class chaps in blazers and white flannels and thus the races were started; and Vanderbilt saw that it was good.

And MIT said let the Naval Architecture Department bring forth the Tech Dinghy, and the Naval Architecture Department brought forth the Tech Dinghy, and the Tech Dinghy brought forth college sailing, and college sailing brought forth, in the fullness of time, female college sailors in tight spandex and neoprene outfits, and the male college sailors saw that it was good.

And The Race Officer said let there be horns and audible signals and three minute dinghy starts, and let dinghy starts bring forth the moving boats to the start line, and thus the races were started. And The Race Officer saw that it was good.

And the teenage boy said unto the fleet at Goose Poop Beach Sailing Club, "I will start the races for you if you pay me thirty pieces of silver for the summer." And The Fleet Captain said, "It's a deal." And thus the races were started with three minute dinghy starts by the teenage boy on the beach. And The Fleet Captain saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the first week of the sailing season.

And the teenage girl in a bikini on the beach at GPBSC said unto the teenage boy, "Like we may like eat of the fruits of the garden like." And the teenage boy saw that the teenage girl was pleasant to the eyes and he forgot to make the two minute signal. And there was a weeping and a wailing and a gnashing of teeth among the members of the fleet. Therefore The Commodore sent the boy forth from the beach, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
And the evening and the morning were the second week of the sailing season.

And the racing starts were without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and some clubs even tried to have some guy who was racing make the start signals. But that was even worse.

And Ollie Wallock said let there be an orange box and let there be horns and let there be magic electronic circuitry to make the starting sounds at precise times. And Ollie brought forth the Ollie Wallock Race Start Machine; and it was so.

And everyone heard that the Ollie trumpets were louder than canister-type horns and did issue an elegant sound; and everyone saw that the Ollie was environmentally responsible; and that the Ollie cost nothing to operate; and that the Ollie was more reliable than a stopwatch; and that the Ollie reduced personnel needs, especially for teenage boy race officers whose attentions were easily distracted by teenage girls. And The Racers saw that The Ollie Box was very good.

And Market Forces saw that The Ollie Box was very good and caused it to be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the Sunfish, and over the Lasers, and over every sailboat that raceth upon the face of the ocean.

And imitators did make automatic starting systems in Ollie's image but there is only one Ollie and its name is Ollie.

And Tillerman did see that The Ollie Box was very very good and he did award The Ollie Box first place in the first global competition for Best Sailing Innovation Ever.

And Tillerman saw every thing that had been entered for the first global competition for Best Sailing Innovation Ever, the mast and the triangular sail, Gore-Tex and Marine-Tex, reservoirs, the bowline and the figure 8 knot, the planing hull, Snap-Its and spinach, winches and wenches, even the Internet... and, behold, he still thought The Ollie Box was the Best Ever.

And the evening and the morning of the group writing project for Best Sailing Innovation Ever
were the thirteenth day.


Anonymous said...

You are a total nutter. This is hilarious.

And lo he did lower the P flag
And throughout he fleet there was a lour cheer
Yay, we shalt tack and hold starboard

or something like that. I have never been that good at starts.

A welcome relief from the last week.

Anonymous said...

Huh! We never heard of this Ollie race starting box of tricks up in the northern state. Does it help kill a moose? I think not!

And this Tillerman - can he see Russia from his house? Didn't think so!

I'm sticking with guns, mums, bombs, knives and our flag thank you very much!

Tillerman said...

No governor. I can't see Russia from my house. Russia is not in Rhode Island. But I can say, "Где находится Ванная?"

Fred said...

Great, Good choice.
Have you been at a model boat regatta? Here in Germany they are using the Olli Box which has a built in talk box (counting the minutes and the last 30 to 10sec. and than the seconds!) because the sailors with their remote controls cannot watch the clock at the same time as sticking their antenna into their competitors noses.

Anonymous said...

Ollie spricht Sie Deutsch?

Fred said...

Ja, Ollie spricht perfekt Deutsch:
... first comes Musik(!) than: 3 Minuten, noch 2 Minuten, noch 1 Minute, 30 Sekunden, 20 Sekunden, 10 Sekunden, neun, acht, sieben... Start!

PS: Do no forget: Laser Stadtmeisterschaft nächsten Sonntag hier in Schleswig. Wir organisieren ein Boot für Dich!

PeconicPuffin said...

A horn is #1? A battery-powered horn?

I would take one of them knots, or even beer-fried spinach, before a horn.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Entschuldigen Sie bitte, Fred, but wouldn't that be " neun, acht, sieben...Fahrt ! "

I wonder what kind of horn sounds for that.

Unknown said...

Good stuff.

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