Please select your home edition
Edition
T Clewring One Design

Honouring the ANZACS - Reflections from the past

by Andrew Short on 3 May 2013
Fighter Pilot to Sailor Ian Kirkwood
Some of you will remember my dad, or at least his boat names. Being a WW11 fighter pilot his first one was called Kittyhawk after the type of airplane he flew and being a squadron leader his second one was named after his call sign, Red One (even though it was a blue boat). His father was an ANZAC wounded at Gallipoli and on his repatriation to Australia set up a vineyard near the shores of Lake Bonney.

Hence dad learnt to sail on the lake, and when I was a young boy and we were living in Adelaide, he introduced me to the fun of sailing at B&SYC. With ANZAC day having just passed I got to thinking about some of the things he taught me and did for me.

One of the most important ones was this: Back in 1967 my dad bought me a book called 'Paul Elvstrom explains the Yacht Racing Rules'.

The important messages in this book weren’t just about the rules, but contained in Elvstrom’s prologue titled 'The Spirit of Racing'. I herewith provide the chapter verbatim in full:

'The racing rules must be observed but you must also be reasonable about this. When starting in a race with a large number of boats they will often be so close together that small touchings will occur between booms or sails – and other such errors can occur – and there is no need to worry the jury or race committee with such small matters. But if people break the rules on purpose then you must put in a protest.

It is very difficult to make rules to enable starting to be really good and therefore we must try to help each other to make the start as fair as possible; but in open waters the rules must be observed meticulously. In any case, in my opinion, there is really no need to protest except over a gross breach of rules or if a dinghy has deliberately broken a rule.

During a race a boat on starboard tack is passed by another on port tack whilst going to windward, if the starboard tack boat is not actually affected by this boat then there is no need for there to be a protest. If there is some doubt whether the port tack boat can cross, he can shout to him ‘Pass ahead, if you like’, for if he does this, he will interfere less than if he had tacked under your lee bow. If a dinghy touches a mark and it is his own fault, then he must retire immediately (Note: Not the case under the current RRS). It is not necessary to go so close to a mark that there is a danger of fouling it. During racing we should always act with good sportsmanship.

'Why Do We Race?' - A race is, and always must be, only a game. Hard competition only gives more excitement to the game, and it is really exciting to find out who can win.

It is quite a problem that some people are able to spend a great deal of time and money on tuning their boats and making them go fast, whereas other people are unable to do this. But remember that man cannot get the speed only because of time and money. He must also be clever in order to get the best out of his new gear. Very many skippers have the best possible new boats and sails and yet do not know how to make them go fast.

If a yachtsman cannot afford to spend the same amount of time and money as his competitors it is not a reason for spoiling this man’s pleasure in racing, but it does of course give him a reason why he may be slower.

We all ought to be friends and glad we are sailing together in the same class. A helmsman in the Finn Class ought to be extremely glad to hear of any newcomer coming into the class – he will thus have one more friend to race with. (Elvstrom refers to the Finn Class as he won it at the Olympics in 1952, 1956 and 1960).

Before the Olympic Games there is usually a long series of trial races in each of the participating countries, and jealously and feeling between the competitors can be very fierce – so fierce in fact that favourites hardly speak to each other, sometimes.

Therefore, it seems we ought to be pleased to have other competitors to race with, but the opposite is sometime the case. It is quite normal to talk to yourself about beating the other competitors, but you must do this in a sporting manner.
I am sure it is more important to compete and enjoy yourself than to win.

After a race you cannot tell by looking at some people’s faces whether they have won or lost because the sailing alone gives them so much pleasure that their position does not matter to them greatly.

With other people you do not need to ask if they won or lost. You can see it in their faces straight away. To them I would like to give some advice. It is difficult to change your nature but you can help yourself by remembering that it is a greater satisfaction to give rather than receive, and here you have the chance to give the best form of compliment to the winner by your smile and also by your words ‘well done’.

Remember that if you show it in your face that you do not like it when certain of your competitors win they will have the same feelings for you when you win, and that spoils the racing for both of you.

When you feel that none of your competitors are afraid to lose to you, then you also will not mind losing to them. When your competitors are happy to see you win, you are naturally happy when their turn comes to win. This is an unwritten law common to all sports.

Also don’t forget to show your enjoyment during the race. For example, you only need to make just the smallest friendly gesture when you pass one of your competitors such as when crossing on port or starboard whether you pass ahead or astern. If you do not show you are enjoying the competition you can spoil the pleasure for your competitors.'

The Racing Rules of Sailing have not changed a lot since 1967, and people’s attitudes probably haven’t either.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this and can reflect on what is important.

Good Sailing,

Post Script: Dad died a few days after my 22nd birthday, both my WW1 veteran grandfathers died before I was born. I never knew them.

Lest we forget.
T Clewring J-classSchaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82Barz Optics - Floaters

Related Articles

Chile’s Clemente Seguel wins Youth North American Championship
Chile's Clemente Seguel on top with four bullets in four races. The wind didn't come in on Tuesday, leaving the results as they were after Monday: Chile's Clemente Seguel on top with four bullets in four races.
Posted today at 4:58 am
Kinetic V wins 2016 Vic-Maui Yacht Race
Kinetic V Wins Vic-Maui 2016, Valkyrie wins Line Honours and second overall, Longboard takes third overall. 2016 Vic-Maui Yacht Race - Kinetic V Wins Vic-Maui 2016, Valkyrie wins Line Honours and second overall, Longboard takes third overall.
Posted today at 4:08 am
TowBoatUS Bay St. Louis now offers 24/7 on-water assistance to boaters
Capt. Conrad Morris, knows what it is like to get stuck on a sandbar in Mississippi Sound. Capt. Conrad Morris, the new owner of TowBoatUS Bay St. Louis, a 24-hour on-water towing and assistance service for recreational boaters, knows what it is like to get stuck on a sandbar in Mississippi Sound. “It happened to me countless times when I was a kid,” he said. “Sometimes we had to spend the night waiting for the tide to come in – there weren’t any towing services around back then.”
Posted today at 3:23 am
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Sailing Week – Azzurra strikes back
Azzurra delivered their best day of the season so far on the Bay of Palma waters where they won the World Champion title The team of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda scored two second places from the pair of windward-leeward races which were sailed in relatively steady sea breeze conditions. Super sharp starting was the launch pad for race victories today. Prime position on the pin mark of the start line at the gun was key to the wins of Bronenosec and Provezza.
Posted on 26 Jul
Registration open for Rally to the Cup 2017
It will provide dock space at the St. Georges Sports and Dinghy Club for the first 20 to 25 boats to sign up. It will provide dock space at the St. Georges Sports and Dinghy Club for the first 20 to 25 boats to sign up and a designated anchorage area (with launch service) or a berth along the wall in St. Georges for all others.
Posted on 26 Jul
New French leader on Day 3 of Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup
Breakfast time today saw some furious adding up to resolve the winning team in the high scoring offshore race Initially France Blue, overall leaders after day one, looked strong with their two big boats, Eric de Turkheim's A13, Teasing Machine, and the Prietz family's JND 39, GOA, in front. As boats started finishing the Flanders North Sea team edged ahead.
Posted on 26 Jul
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Sailing Week – Races 3 and 4 images
Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from races three and four Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from races three and four
Posted on 26 Jul
Gstaad Yacht Club's Racing Team trio for Rio 2016
Pre-Olympic Brunch at the GYC clubhouse – members, guests and friends gave a Brazilian farewell to the GYC Racing Team. The Gstaad Yacht Clubs sport members are: the Nacra 17 team with Matías Bühler and Nathalie Brugger who qualified for Switzerland, the 470 sailor Will Ryan, who starts with his helmsman Matthew Belcher for Australia and Billy Besson, who starts in the Nacra 17 class too, together with his crew Marie Riou for France.
Posted on 26 Jul
Countdown to the Rio Olympics—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond
Editorial Editorial
Posted on 26 Jul
J/111 Garmin World Championship less than a week away
Championship is less than a week away, fourteen teams from seven different countries will be taking part. Forming a truly international fleet, the teams come from Australia, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States of America. Racing on tight Solent courses the fleet will enjoy a five day racing programme and a lively social schedule, organised at the Island Sailing Club in the heart of Cowes.
Posted on 26 Jul