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Please meet, Mr. Tacking

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 21 Jul 2019 15:00 PDT
Mr Tacking as he takes on his little bridge. His angles across this, down the corridor and along the road are just brilliant. What a sailor! © John Curnow

This amazing little fellow is an absolute trooper. He's also completely inspirational. I am minding him at present, and he is totally blind due to his diseased eyes being removed a while back. I have taken to calling him Mr Tacking, as he is a natural sailor, with the best angles used for crossing his bridge in the backyard, negotiating the corridor inside the house, or even making his way down the street on a lead.

The nose goes down, the ears go forward like antennae, and he just gets on with the job. Yet it is the precise nature, and almost mirror perfect opposing angles he sails, as he crosses through the breeze, that remains utterly spellbinding. I made this observation to another sailor, and he enquired, 'Is it tacking or gybing?' Well that's true, but I suppose I chose tacking for I certainly did not want to think about the wind coming from behind him. Despite his size, he can pack a decent wallop when he so desires. Whooooo. I tell you....

Now the whole thing got me to thinking about a great boat I used to sail on, mostly three up. Just like Mr Tacking, she was diminutive, 29-feet small actually, but it and the other crew on board displayed the same 'can do' and 'get on with it' attitude as our little canine featured here. She was supremely well maintained, and for her age, very light too. A foam core saw to that. We also had the wardrobe of all wardrobes for her that included about eight headsails, three mains, two running kites, and two Aces.

That all made selecting what would come out on the water with us for racing was nearly as much fun as getting around the track itself. We would often take huge amounts out of far larger craft in all manner of weather, and it was always on for young and old with our nearest competitor, who was just on two whole feet longer.

Reflecting on it all now, and in light of my observations of Mr Tacking, I can say that the Skipper's choice to leave the totally fried wind gear well alone for several years as a gift to the next owner, was a complete masterstroke. Live by the sword, and die by the sword, but it forced you to consider things deeply, back yourself, and it was also amazing just how many times we were right over wrong.

Seat of your pants, eyes out of the boat yachting at its best, and I adored it all. Tell tales, the hawk, and a bearing was as deep as the analysis got. So we learned a lot about the art of sailing. So thanks to Andy, Kat, Mark, Tim, a guy called Black Sambucca Mullet, and his long-suffering wife Rhona for the years of fun, laughs, challenges, beers, and memories.

Tacking myself now.

So yes, I am a proud Australian, and therefore, to see Will Cooley and Rebecca Hancock get the Gold in the Nacra 15 at the Youth Worlds in Poland is pretty awesome. Yet I cannot help also note just how important all of the sailors present, whether they medalled or not, are to our sport as it moves forward into the new world. Well done to you all, and thanks for your efforts to date. May each and every one of you find the inspiration to keep going!

During the week we also published a piece on the Etchells after the World Championship in Corpus Christi. If you are part of the fleet, or thinking about joining the fray, then please have a look at our words on how to make your Etchells even quicker, which you can find right here.. Thank you also to all the sailors who endured many a phone call and email in its production. The Royal Brighton Yacht Club is hosting the 2020 Australian Championship in January, and then at the other end of next year, the Swan River Fleet hosts the 2020 World Championship. Time to get your plan, boat, gear and crew all sorted...

One and in to the finish.

Now if you're going to Hamilton Island Race Week, then you may get on the podium, but one sure way to ensure you score a prize is to see Whitsunday Holidays if you are still looking for onshore accommodation. One of the deluxe properties even has 'Rate negotiable!' next to it, so it seems 'no genuine offer refused' might be the go. Check it out for yourself here.

Right oh - here today there are some gems for you to review like the Transpac 50, the 52 Super Series from Portugal, the Laser Radial Worlds are on and Mara Stransky has been climbing the board to sit in 27th as I write, Zoe Thomson, Casey Imeneo, Annie Eastgate, and Elyse Ainsworth are all further back in the 111 boat fleet, but we wish each and everyone of them all the best. We also have Finns, intel from North Sails, IMOCAs and the Jacques Vabre, Race for Water and plastics in the seas, boats at Marine Auctions, AC36 (of course), the incredible SYRA18 two-handed foiler, the Clipper, The Ocean Race, innovation continues with Nanni and Diesels in small production boats including retracting prop shafts, and certainly there is much, much more.

Remember, if your class or association is generating material, make sure we help you spread your word, and you can do that by emailing us. Should you have been forwarded this email by a friend, and want to get your very own copy in your inbox moving forward, then simply follow the instructions on our newsletter page, where you can also register for different editions.

Finally, keep a weather eye on Sail-World. We are here to bring you the whole story from all over the world...

John Curnow
Editor, Sail-World AUS

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