Friday, September 22, 2006

Patience and a Bittersweet Race

It's been a while since I posted. There is some news that I hope to let you follow in, but more on that later.

Last weekend, September 16 and 17 was like an August weekend, sunny, hot, and nearly breeze-less. Still, because of my new sails, I could noodle along at three or four knots in eight knots or so of breeze. And so, on my way to where else, Oyster Bay to meet Jack, I got to sail for six hours. Slowly - Oyster Bay is really only about three hours away!

So, patience was the day's keyword. But it was so lovely, how could one complain?

As I passed Greenwich, CT, I noticed several very pretty boats in something of a race. As I drew closer I recognized them - a fleet of 12 Meters. Before the bastardization of the America's Cup with catamarans and other stupid stuff, 12 Meter yachts were the fleet. They were built to follow the rule that a competitor must be able to sail to the course from their home.

The new IACC (Internation America's Cup Class) yacht is a pure racing machine - a class boat engineered specifically for the race. You can check out for more information on them. And in some cases, perhaps not engineered well enough (see New Zealand's boat failures).

But the 12 Meter was/is a boat completely capable of crossing an ocean. They typically didn't, but they were capable of it. True, they had reached the end of their design cycle, but that's what match racing is about. The rule allowed differing dimensions. To compare, 420s aren't changing, and neither are Stars, Lasers, Sonars, or any other number of class racers.

That said, I'm sure we're not going back to the 12 Meter rule. But they were the graceful ladies of the America's Cup. Stately, sure footed, strong, and mostly swift. They were the three-leg masters, that is beat, reach, and run. The new IACC yachts are windward/leeward racers. I say, "Feh!". Talk about boring. Up, down, up, down, up down. Whatever.

Ok, so maybe there are others who feel the IACC boats are beautiful, but to me, they're big racing dinghys. Totally useless for anything else.

But the 12 Meters. They are the Marilyn Monroe of racing boats, curvy, sweet, and beautiful. They take your (well, my ) breath away.

Ok, well, enough of that, since I could go on. So the sweet part of seeing the race (remember the race?) was all those lovely ladies sailing stately around the marks. The bitter part was seeing how low they had fallen. Crappy sails shown, conservative sailing. No longer the belle of the ball, sort of floating amusement parks.

Oh, sure, I know it takes money to keep them up, and one way is to rent them out, like the J-Boats. Still, to have fallen from the pinnacle to this. It would almost be better to have converted them to cruising yachts. Ah, well.

Ok, now the news! I have decided to find a new boat and move aboard. This is a whole new project, and one I look forward to with great glee. Also, I hope to change career. So if you've gotten tired of hearing about projects on Inertia, then be prepared for totally new projects on whatever the new vessel's name will be (probably 'Inertia' as well as I'll make that a condition of selling the boat).

So, all the trials and tribulations of finding and buying the new vessel, the projects and everything else. It'll be fun for me. Maybe you'll all get something out of it, too.

'Til then, I'll see you on the water!

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