Posts Tagged 'history'

a side benefit of solo sailing

no one is there to hum annoying tunes.



a few samples of symmetry in some pictures from our trip to Germany and the surrounding areas (2006).

IMG0051 (85)_smallSt. Stephan’s Church (Stephanskirche), Mainz, Germany

Nikon D70, 70mm f/7.1 1/60 ISO 400


Img0052 (249)_smallChurch of Our Lady (Frauenkirche), Munich, Germany

Nikon D70, 18mm f/11 1/500 ISO 400


Img0055 (265)_smallRuins of Schloss Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany

Nikon D70, 40mm f/10 1/200 ISO 250


Img0055 (213)_smallCathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France

Nikon D70, 18mm f/9 1/60 ISO 250


my contribution to the daily post: symmetry

JFK & Jackie on a Sailfish

a cool photo of JFK and Jackie with a Sailfish sailboat.


the Sailfish was the predecessor to the Sunfish. it was the first boat created by Alex Bryan and Cortlandt Heyniger – the founders of Alcort. the Sailfish is a board boat with a lateen rig, very similar to a Sunfish – but it was made out of wood and had a flat hull that you had to sit on top of while sailing.

the real American idol

to all those who have served our country, especially those who have laid down their life to protect our freedoms – we sincerely thank you.

a bit of Sunfish history

I saw this article posted a little while back over at the Yahoo Sunfish Sailor Group, and thought I’d share it: written September 20, 1982, so less than a month shy of 28 years ago in Sports Illustrated magazine.  the article was titled: “Here She Is, The True Love Boat.”  it’s an interesting read, and neat to see how some things have changed in the last couple decades since the article was written, as well as how some things have more or less stayed the same.  here are a few of my favorite quotes from the article:

World class racers such as Dennis Conner, of America’s Cup fame, and Gary Hoyt, who developed the Freedom class and won the first Sunfish worlds in 1972, learned to sail at the slim wooden tiller of the Sunfish.

…but when FORTUNE came up with a new list, in 1977, of the 25 best-designed contemporary products, the Sunfish was right there along with the Trimline Touch-Tone telephone, the Porsche 911 S Targa and Adidas running shoes.

on the explanation for the Sunfish symbol:

I drew a circle with a nickel and added the fins and the tail and the eye. Nothing we did was ever really accomplished with too much forethought, you know.

another quote, this one from Will White (quoted in the article),  who says:

The Sunfish is pure sailing—the sail in the wind, the board in the water, and you in the hull in between—one hand on the tiller, the other on the sheet and the wind in your hair. Pure sailboat racing, too. For the racing sailor, it is the essence of yacht racing. It was the first truly one-design boat, rigidly controlled by the manufacturer, with even the sails limited to one loft and very little that could be done in the way of adding expensive go-fasts. No need for a new set of sails every year. No need to keep buying or changing expensive hardware to keep up with the latest sailing theory…

they received some very good publicity at a boat show in New York in 1948:

But they were beginning to think a little bigger and they contacted an ad man, who wangled a very small patch of space for their very small boat on the floor of New York City’s Grand Central Palace, where the 1948 New York National Boat Show was being held. Fortuitously, the Sailfish—that cute little wood chip with its perky lateen sail—wound up sitting right next to a 57-foot Wheeler yacht, the largest boat in the show. The glorious contrast between the two made the Sailfish the talk of the town.

the biggest moment, though, came when LIFE magazine published a story on the sailboats, including some great photos of them being sailed out on the water.  (here is a link to the article.)  if you haven’t joined the Yahoo Sunfish Sailor Group yet, you definitely should, and then search through the “Photo” section there – there is a scanned copy of the LIFE magazine article, in a little bit better quality than the Google Books link. the two magazine articles give a pretty good glimpse into the past, and some good information on how the Sunfish came to be.

sunfish sailing: 2025 and beyond

tillerman‘s writing topic of the month is Sailing in the Second Space Age.  my submission (and pathetic attempt at some lame humor) is as follows:

it’s the year 2025, and with the uptick in global schwarming over the last decade or so, the polar caps have melted significantly, causing the level of the oceans to dramatically rise, sadly wiping out much of the coastline cities in the world (the entire state of Rhode Island was among the first to go).

due to the large loss of land area across the globe, and corresponding increase in water surface area, piracy on the waters has increased exponentially.  as a result, maritime defense spending by the government has followed the general government trend and skyrocketed.  dinghy sailing is all but extinct along the coast of the oceans, largely due to the Defense department piracy prevention plan (PPP) outfitting sharks with some frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads…

the lack of safe dinghy sailing along the ocean coastline, combined with a gigantic increase in the price of oil, has led to a major increase in inland lakes sailing.  the popularity of Sunfish and Lasers has been a blessing for the relative ease of finding a nearby yacht club, as they are popping up everywhere, and you don’t have to go far to find a regatta to participate in every weekend throughout the spring, summer and fall.  sadly, the insane practice of frostbiting has all but been lost (global schwarming, remember?).  unfortunately, the huge uptick in interest in Sunfish and Laser sailboat’s has cleaned out all the parts suppliers… but is that really that surprising?!

the Great Lakes has become the new Cape Cod, as vacationers flock from all across the US to the largest bodies of water NOT protected by the PPP (ie, sharks with lasers).  the Great Lakes are not without their flaws, though, as the dreaded Asian carp have infested these freshwater inland lakes.  thankfully, they are not nearly as dangerous as the laser-wielding sharks, and lucky for us – the government has implemented another fantastic new program (the ACCP) for controlling the Asian carp population….

Asian Carp Control Program (ACCP)

the Sunfish sailboat, thankfully, has maintained its simplicity over the years with only the usual and random minor changes.  thankfully, the class voted against the implementation of a wing sail, as the current insanity with multiple sail options: class-legal racing sails, class-legal recreational sails, practice racing sails (not class legal), and the non-class-legal recreational sails is more than enough frustration for now… adding a wing sail was just going to put it over the top.

the Sunfish sailboat, now almost 75 years old, continues to have a strong sailing class, and the total number of Sunfish built approaches 1 million.  strangely, though, I haven’t updated to a new fancy shiny version — I’m still using my grossly overweight Sunfish from the 1960’s – she’s hanging on strong, although I’ve yet to finish a regatta on time. with now 15+ years of sailing experience, I can legitimately blame it on the boat, right?  right?  maybe it’s just my daggerboard banging into those dang Asian carp.

until my next update… help out if you can, and carpe carp.

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