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Experiencing the Joy of Sailing…and Giving!

NovDec2018_cover_for_download_box.jpgHmmmm…so much to talk about. Let’s begin with the issue you’re holding in your hands. It is the last WindCheck of 2018. It’s also the shortest in terms of pages. But it might be the best one of my tenure. We tackled a number of large projects for this “two-month” issue and I am extremely proud of the WindCheck team on how they came out.

First up, we put a ribbon on the “Optimist vs What” conversation as promised after my Publisher’s Log in September. This conversation certainly is not going to end here, but we gathered and synthesized a lot of perspectives to share. I think the biggest takeaway is for people to really focus on what the goals are for introducing young people to our sport and how we’re going to measure success. There are a few “pro” Opti submissions in the Letters section this month (juxtaposing the less enthusiastic ones from October) and we gathered still more input for the article on page 34. We thank Bob Whittredge from the Junior Sailing Association of Long Island Sound (JSA), who supported our research and forwarded a “mission statement” crafted at the JSA Annual Meeting on October 24. We were in production by then so could not run the whole thing so here’s an edited (for length) portion:  

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Letters: More Opti-cogitation

Editor’s note: We’re still getting lots of feedback on the Publisher’s Log in our September issue, “Resume Hand Wringing!” in which Ben Cesare opined, “I think we need a better tool [than the Optimist] for the job [of teaching kids to sail].”

Optimist  junior sailing participationAcross two junior sailors I never had issue with the [Optimist]. I honestly think it’s a great class, but again, I’m a focus group of one. At a beginner’s level, say a 9-year-old, you can simplify the boat and get a real cheap one they can hack around on and learn. Then they can take over the tweaking when they get a bit older – 12 or 13, but I don’t recall it ever being frustrating. What is great about the Opti is its rudder and ease of sailing. Big rudder = quick responsiveness.

Who said Optis are just for racing?  ©nnyliving.com
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Keeping Kids in Sailing

It’s not necessarily the boat…or is it?

By Ben Cesare

Junior Sailing Boat In our September issue, my Publisher’s Log made a case against the Optimist as a training boat. In October, we published some letters that agreed with the premise. Since then, we have gathered several points of view...frankly it’s been exhausting as the topic generates a huge number of stories and opinions. Following is an effort to synthesize and provide a prescription. Luckily for me, I have a dog in this hunt. But then again, ultimately, we all do.

The 9-foot O’Pen BIC delivers mini-skiff performance in a durable thermoformed polyethylene package, and young sailors love the “Un-Regatta” event format.   © Aine McLean Fretwell
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On Watch - Bill Simon

Bill Simon.jpgAs the Race Program Director at Oakcliff Sailing in Oyster Bay, New York, Bill Simon has an essential role in the non-profit organization’s mission of putting American sailors atop podiums around the world and building American leaders through sailing.

© Francis George/oakcliffsailing.org

“I grew up in Port Washington and learned to sail from my father and friends,” says Bill, who lives in Port Washington near the house he grew up in. “We sailed off a local beach from when I was 7. My first boat was a Jigger, a 13-foot, round-bottom dinghy designed by Ralph Heinzerling, a local racing legend. For many years we rowed it out to our moored keelboat to race, and it remained in the family until my wife and I sold it last year in preparation for moving to Annapolis. I raced with my dad, Daniel, for about 40 years. Initially we had a Lightning, then an Ensign, and we moved to the Sonar Class. I learned to have fun while racing from Dad.

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Click here to download WindCheck's November/December 2018 issue. (File is 5MB)

 

WindCheck October 2018

Click here to download WindCheck's October 2018 issue. (File is 5MB)

 

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Up to Speed & Smarts: Basic Principles for Rounding Marks

By David Dellenbaugh

Rounding MarksIf you want your mark roundings to be quick and safe, there are certain strategies that work almost every time. For example, you should round each mark close enough that you could reach out and touch it. You should locate the next mark visually before you round this one. And you should definitely develop a strategic plan for the next leg before you round any mark.

Round every mark close enough to touch it, like MudRatz 420 sailors Zach Champney (helm) and Peter Cronin, pictured at the Buzzards Bay Regatta. It’s amazing how wide many boats go around marks. In most cases, they lose double the amount of distance they leave between them and the mark. They sail a certain distance past the mark and then they have to sail that far again just to get back to the mark. To minimize distance sailed, it’s important to round close to every mark. Of course, there are a few times when it’s OK to be farther from the mark – like at a windward mark in breeze when you need enough space to ease your main, or at a leeward mark when you are trying to do an ‘end-run’ around a pack of boats. But a good rule of thumb is that you should round each mark close enough that you can reach over and touch it. To get into this position you may have to slow down so you are right behind the boat ahead, but this ensures that you will sail the shortest course, and it gives you more tactical options and clearer air after the mark.  © J. Cronin - OutrageousPhotography.net

 

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What’s New at Noroton Yacht Club?

By Jim Frayer

Noroton Yacht ClubWell…probably the most recognizable change in its ninety years. Founded in 1928, Noroton Yacht Club in Darien, CT is considered one of the premier yacht clubs on Long Island Sound and has a rich sailing tradition. The original clubhouse, first opened in 1929, was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy and was demolished in 2016. This paved the way for the club’s symbolic rebirth with a spectacular new clubhouse, designed by Burgin Lambert Architects in Newport, RI.

Designed by Burgin Lambert Architects, Noroton Yacht Club’s new clubhouse is among the nicest on Long Island Sound.   Photo courtesy of Rick Bannerot © 2018

If NYC members are walking a little taller and with a bit of swagger, it might have to do with the club’s new look! A feeling of rejuvenation pervades among the members.  Prior to its demolition, the old clubhouse was a dark, gothic style building reminiscent of the “Manor on the Moor” with an interior not conducive to collegial gatherings.

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A Foray in “Slimology”

Hull biofouling: a boater’s dreaded bane that requires periodic elbow grease

By Lucie Maranda, PhD, Associate Marine Research Scientist, Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island

Hull BiofoulingThese outdrives were probably not delivering optimum performance! © harsonic.com

Especially in marine water, the unwanted accumulation of microorganisms, algae and animals on wetted surfaces can be costly if not attended to regularly. For recreational or commercial boaters, the danger of transferring non-native species is added to the increase in fuel consumption and maintenance cost. The navies of the world are not immune to this plague either. One study roughly calculated the cost of coating, cleaning and fouling on the United States Navy’s destroyers (class DDG-51) to reach $1 billion over 15 years! Whether one considers boat hulls, sensors, aquaculture facilities, pipes, offshore platforms, pilings – any unprotected solid surface will develop some form of marine growth when immersed in seawater.

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Celestial Navigation 101: Sailors Always Knew…

By Vincent Pica, ommodore, First District, Southern Region (D1SR), United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Going back centuries, journals of seafarers are peppered with language indicating that they knew the Earth was round.  “In the offing” meant, and means today, the waters you can see from where you are to the horizon.  “Ahoy, captain, vessel off the starboard bow! Hull down, sir,” might yell the lookout from the crow’s nest aloft. This meant that all he could see from his vantage point were the sails – the ship’s hull was still below the horizon. So, “round has been around” (pun intended) for thousands of years. How many thousands? About 22 centuries before the epic confrontation between Galileo and the medieval Church, Phoenician sailors circumnavigated Africa, sailing down the east coast and back up the western shores, through the “Pillars of Hercules” at Gibraltar and back to Egypt, to report to the Pharaoh that, indeed, the world must be round.  

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Sailing with Grandchildren on the Bras d’Or Lakes

By Wilson Fitt

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Olivia at the helm

Many years ago, when our three children were small, we spent an idyllic week on Cape Breton’s Bras d’Or Lakes on our Herreshoff 28 ketch, putting the bow up on the shore at Marble Mountain and pitching the tent on the beach. The kids swam, learned to row the dinghy, and messed around in boats to their hearts’ content.

They say you can’t go back, but this summer we did just that, this time with two of our grandchildren — Olivia, aged 10, and her first cousin Parker, aged 12 — aboard our 38-foot traditional cutter Christina Grant. It was one of the best weeks we have had in years, sailing, swimming, fishing, rowing and still messing about in boats.

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Spitfire Wins Sonar NAs

Sonar North American's SpitfireThirty-seven boats contested the 2018 Jaguar Range Rover Sonar North American Championship, which was hosted by Noroton Yacht Club in Darien, CT September 13 - 16. Four races were sailed on Friday, but racing was cancelled Saturday and Sunday due to lack of wind.

From left to right are Greg Stevens, Libby Alexander, Karl Ziegler, Bruce Kirby (designer of the Sonar), Peter Galloway (with hat, from whom the trophy is named), Bill Crane, and Noroton YC Commodore Tom Ross. Photo courtesy of Rick Bannerot © 2018
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New York Yacht Club American Magic and Oakcliff Sailing present Aerospace Technology & America’s Cup Sailing

American MagicOur friends at New York Yacht Club American Magic and Oakcliff Sailing are co-hosting a special presentation, “Aerospace Technology & America’s Cup Sailing,” at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, NY on Thursday, November 1, 2018.

NYYC American Magic, the U.S Challenger for the 36th America’s Cup, is combining leading marine technologies with cutting-edge aerospace engineering to gain an edge over their international competitors in the regatta in Auckland, New Zealand in March, 2021. Attendees will learn about NYYC American Magic’s mission to bring the Cup back to America, and how modern aircraft and racing sailboats are increasingly related.

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U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Alert on LED Lights

US Coast Guard LED lightsThe U.S. Coast Guard recently issued a Marine Safety Alert indicating that LED (light emitting diode) lights may be causing poor VHF radio and Automatic Identification System (AIS) reception. The alert, issued for informational purposes, outlines reports received from mariners concerning radio frequency interference caused by LED lamps that “were found to create potential safety hazards.” 

LED lights, popular with recreational boaters for their low battery draw, cooler operation and sturdy construction, may be causing poor VHF and AIS reception. © BoatUS.com

In some cases, the Coast Guard says, the interference may cause problems if mariners need to call for help. The interference can affect VHF voice communications as well as Digital Selective Calling (DSC) messages, and it may also affect AIS because they also use VHF radio. In particular, masthead LED navigation lights on sailboats may cause problems due to their close proximity to antennas. The Coast Guard advises boaters to test for the presence of LED interference by using the following procedures:

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Elco Launches New Electric Outboards

Elco new electric outboardIn celebration of their 125th anniversary, Elco Motor Yachts, headquartered in Athens, NY, is expanding their electric outboard motor range. The new models – the EP5, EP30 and EP50 – join the current EP9.9, EP14 and EP20 models to double the company’s range of electric outboard motor offerings.

“These outboards represent the next stage in Elco’s electric outboard development,” said Elco’s National Sales Director, Dean Heinemann. “With the trends we’re seeing in the industry, both in terms of more boaters going electric and more builders shifting toward outboard propulsion, our expanded outboard line will provide electric outboard options to more boaters and boat builders.”

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Peter Glass Joins US Sailing

Peter GlassUS Sailing has added a new member to its leadership team with the hiring of sports marketing and branding professional Peter Glass. As Chief Marketing Officer, the Chappaqua, NY native will lead US Sailing’s Marketing and Communications Department.

“There is really nothing I can think of that is more rewarding than working with an energized and passionate cross-section of sailors from around the country that ranges from recreational and community sailing to the elite level athletes representing the U.S. on the Olympic stage,” said Glass. “Our team has a driven and focused approach to further engage the sailing community and bring the excitement taking place on the water to new sailors and fans. I am grateful for the opportunity and I’m looking forward to working closely with the sailing community.”

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Susan Maffei Plowden Receives RIMTA Anchor Award

Susan Maffei PlowdenSusan Maffei Plowden of Jamestown, RI was presented with the 2018 Anchor Award at the Rhode Island Marine Trade Association’s Industry Partnership Breakfast. The event was sponsored by Gowrie Group and held during the Newport International Boat Show last month. 

© Billy Black

Maffei Plowden was recognized for her role as Newport Stopover Director for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, an event that drew over 100,000 people to Newport and its surrounding waters and generated global media attention and economic impact for Rhode Island. Sail Newport Executive Director Brad Read, who has worked closely with Maffei Plowden on the two VOR Newport stopovers to date, made the award presentation. He joked that when Sail Newport agreed to host the first visit of the Volvo Ocean Race to Newport in 2015, “We didn’t know what we didn't know.” 

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Sailing into Oblivion

The Solo Non-stop Circumnavigation of the Mighty Sparrow

By Jerome Rand

Sailing into OblivionI had thought for years about what sailing in the Southern Ocean would really be like.  Reading about the “Great Singlehanders” that sailed there, south of the Capes and around Antarctica. These were the first seeds planted in my head while I crewed on boats crossing the North and South Atlantic on delivery trips during my mid-20s.  The more I read, the more the thought of my own trip kept coming back to me.

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Super-Charged Overcoming adversity in the Vineyard Race

By Alexa Shea & Elizabeth van der Voort, Young American Sailing Academy

Editor’s note: Many sailors would consider the failure of a boat’s electrical system during an overnight race sufficient cause for throwing in the towel and setting a course for the nearest tavern. For the eight teenage sailors aboard the J/105 Young American in this year’s running of Stamford Yacht Club’s Vineyard Race, quitting was never an option.

Young American Sailing AcademyWhile racing on a thirty-five foot boat with enough provisioning and water, one wouldn’t expect much to go wrong in one night going to Buzzards Tower and back. But if one suddenly had no navigational lights or data on the depth, wind direction, wind speed, boat speed, bearing and more, one would probably retire.

The crew of Young American overcame electrical issues to finish fourth in their 10-boat class in the Vineyard Race.  Photo courtesy of Rick Bannerot © 2018

However, that’s not what happened in our Vineyard Race. When we lost all of our power on Young American, everyone sprung to action to try and help. Because our engine sucks in air on starboard, we just assumed that we had to flood the engine. But before that happened, our coach Joe Cooper gave us spare navigation lights that he brought just in case. After flooding the engine and trying to start it in order to charge our batteries, we decided to give it a break and try again when the boat was upright.

Luckily, we had two charged phones with two different navigational apps that we used, but two phones on 20 percent wouldn’t last two days so we had to make sure we barely used them. Also, we had two compasses built into the boat and we shined a flashlight on them. After 50 hours of racing, we were near Stratford Point when the wind died and we were discussing dropping out. That idea came to an end real fast when we all realized we had come this far with no electronics and we could go another five hours because we deserved to finish.

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Donald Tofias Acquires Sparkman & Stephens

Donald TofiasSparkman & Stephens has announced that Donald Tofias, of Newport, RI, has purchased the iconic yacht design and brokerage firm. Tofias will assume the role of President of the firm, having purchased 100% of the assets. Tofias is a lifelong sailor and founder of the W-Class Yacht Company. His first boat was an Alcort Sailfish, purchased when he was 12 years old. Over the past 30 years, Tofias has owned and campaigned a Waldo Howland and Ray Hunt, Jr. Concordia yawl, a W. Starling Burgess cutter, and for the past 20 years, W-Class Racing Yachts, including the W.76 sloops, designed by Joel White, which will now be marketed by Sparkman & Stephens.

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The JYRALIS Reunion: You Can Go Home Again

JYRALIS ReunionOver 120 former members of the Junior Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound gathered on Saturday, September 8, 2018 under the Pandemonium at Larchmont Yacht Club, scene of many great dances during their junior sailing days.

 Reg Pierce, Jeff Neuberth and Paige Neubereth (Indian Harbor).   © Bill Sandberg

The day began, naturally, with racing in Ideal 18s provided by LYC. Each team had a special connection – lifelong sailing pals Rich duMoulin and Elliot Oldak (both Knickerbocker YC); Instructor Bill Sandberg (American) and pupil Lili Jenkins (Noroton); the husband and wife team of Joan & Butch Hitchcock (American) and the brother/sister team of Monica Stautner Nichols and John Stautner (Indian Harbor). The Race Committee consisted of Jol Everett (American), Bizzy Monte-Sano (Larchmont), Ellen Isbrandtsen (Indian Harbor) and Nick Langone (Larchmont).

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Record Run The Vineyard Race Aboard Argo

By Chad Corning

ArgoWhere the 2017 edition of Stamford Yacht Club’s Vineyard Race featured dream conditions with a fresh northerly prevailing for most of the race, 2018 was much harder work with a brisk easterly featuring for the trip out to the tower. After taking their medicine, the fleet was largely disappointed as the easterly faded away to nothing making this year’s 84th running a long and testing contest.

The crew of Jason Carroll’s MultiOneDesign70 Argo – Westy Barlow, Jim Condon, Chad Corning, Thierry Fouchier, Sidney Gavignet, Scott Norris, Anderson Reggio and Alister Richardson – set a new course record for the 238-nautical mile Vineyard Race with an elapsed time of 14 hours, 58 minutes and 19 seconds. That’s an average speed of 15.9 knots!  © Kevin Dailey/KevinDaileyImages.com

We had quite a few challenges on Jason Carroll’s new MOD70 trimaran Argo. First and foremost, the boat was purchased just three weeks prior to the race and was in Lorient, France. A perfect delivery window opened up and the boat had a mostly downwind run on the southern route, sailing 4,000 miles to Newport, RI in a bit over ten days. A fairly frantic maintenance period ensued, and with fitting some new sails along with some minor miracles, the boat departed Newport the day before the August 31 start.

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Uncharted Waters

Romance, Adventure, and Advocacy on the Great Lakes

Uncharterd WatersBy Mary McKSchmidt, Published by 14 Karat Books   248 pages   paperback or Kindle edition   $15

The five Great Lakes – Superior, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Erie – comprise the largest body of fresh water on Earth. They cover more than 95,000 square miles, an area bigger than the sate of Texas. Twenty-four million people in the U.S. and 9.8 million people in Canada rely on the lakes for drinking water, jobs, and a way of life, and their basin is home to over 3,500 species of plants and animals including more than 170 kinds of fish.

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Life Lessons from Sailing

By Joe Cooper

The DeLorean is in Doc’s garage again for (more) work on the flux capacitor, so we will have to do this newer movie-style. Grab a hand towel, go upstairs into the special secret room, known only to you and where you remember things, and stick yer head in the Pensive.

We are back in the middle 1950s, somewhere on Long Island Sound. We – you – are sailing with your father in an overnight race for the first time. You are young, and it is a great adventure. The boat is a lovely Sparkman & Stephens-designed (of course), Nevins-built 45-footer that is Dad’s pride and joy. You’ve sailed on her a lot, family cruises and such, but this is the first time you’ve been aboard for a race. Comes time for you to go off watch, and you reluctantly give up your spot, in the cockpit, immediately aft of your father’s steering position. This is your favourite spot because you can smell Dad, particularly his wool sweater. As you settle into the pilot berth, you take stock of the inside of the cabin.

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On Watch - Sam Crichton

Sam CrichtonAn event management consultant who lives in Newport, Rhode Island, Samantha Crichton grew up on her family’s 55,000-acre station (ranch) in the Australian Outback, a long, long way from the City by the Sea and the world of sailing.

© Meghan Sepe/meghansepe.com

“Growing up in the Outback was a bit different to a childhood in a city or suburban area,” Sam explains. “My younger sisters Luci and Vikki and I were homeschooled due to being isolated from a bus route or a ‘regular’ school. We had three teachers: a School of the Air teacher we’d speak with on a VHF radio for a half hour Monday through Friday, a teacher at home, which in our case was our mother, and a correspondence teacher in Brisbane who we sent our completed ‘correspondence papers’ to each week. We rarely met our Brisbane teacher face to face, and we’d only see our School of the Air teacher if we went to town, town being Charleville.”

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Letters: Whither the Opti?

Editor’s note: The following letters were submitted in response to the Publisher’s Log in our September issue in which Ben Cesare began a discussion on the nearly universal use of the Optimist in junior programs by stating, “I think the Optimist stinks as an early trainer.” We’ll have a full article on this topic next month.

OptimistI agree. I was greatly dismayed when my kids reached a young sailing age, and our yacht club began switching to Optimists from 7’ 11” Dyer Dhows. The Optimist was a tiny tub with no ability for multipurpose use, neither rowing nor motoring. The club expected us to shell out large dollars for this little pram which had no use other than a kiddie trainer. A boat that was supremely uncomfortable for a normal-sized adult or father and son (or daughter) to sail together, although we did when pressed, one time winning the parent/child race.

 

A New England Science & Sailing Opti Team member practices roll tacking in Stonington Harbor.   © Caroline Knowles/nessf.org
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WindCheck October 2018

Click here to download WindCheck's October 2018 issue. (File is 5MB)