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Some thoughts on taking MLB's All-Star Game seriously

by David Schmidt 19 Jul 08:00 PDT July 19, 2022
Pyewacket approaches Hawaii © Sharon Green / Ultimate Sailing

As a kid, I was never fond of the thought of summer ending and school restarting. For some reason, Major League Baseball's annual All-Star Game became a sort of halfway point of my summer... as in, I could take things easy until the All-Star Game, but afterwards, I'd better make each day of junior sailing - and of being free from the clutches of real-world responsibility and school - count!

As an adult, I sadly seem to deal in entire worlds of responsibility (welcome to the club, right?), but I still take the All-Star Game seriously, not as a sporting event per se (mea culpa: I don't watch it), but as a kind of line in the summer sand: It's officially time to savor every single day of warm weather, long days, early mornings, and comfortable sailing.

For those who don't keep tabs on such things, the 2022 All Star Game is set to unfurl today (Tuesday, July 19) in Los Angeles, California, at Dodger Stadium.

The good news, of course, is that summer still has ample sand left in its hourglass... but the reality is that now is the time to get in as many sailing days as possible. After all, everyone knows what lurks over the horizon.

This is likely less of a concern for teams that completed - or who are still completing in - the biennial Pac Cup, which takes teams 2,070 nautical miles from San Francisco to Kaneohe, Hawaii.

As of this writing (Monday: meaning that there are a lot of boats still racing, so things can and will change), Roy Disney's modified Volvo Open 70 Pyewacket 70 is sitting in first place in their division and in the overall ORR standings. They are followed by Westerly, Stuart Dahgren's Santa Cruz 70 (they're sitting in second in the Alaska Airlines division and second in ORR), and Jason Andrews and Shawn Dougherty's J/125 Hamachi (they're currently first in the BMW of San Rafael division and third in ORR).

Given that this was a relatively light-air race, it's impressive that Pyewacket 70 covered these 2,070 nautical miles in just six days, 30 minutes and 59 seconds.

Switching gears from offshore sailing to inshore racing, it's also fair to say that the teams who are engaged in nautical combat at the J/24 World Championships (July 14-22), which are being hosted by the Corpus Christi Yacht Club, in Texas, are also getting their full dose of summer sailing. Stay tuned for more news from this World Championship event, as it becomes known.

Jumping to the East Coast, this past weekend marked the 13th edition of the New York Yacht Club's biennial Race Week at Newport, which (as its name implies) unfurled on the waters off of Newport, Rhode Island, from July 13-16.

While racing was close in all classes, the event doubled as the IC37 class's U.S. National Championship, which added extra gravitas.

After eleven races, Steve Liebel's IC37 New Wave sailed away from the other 23 IC37s that were competing in the event with the top prize and a new Rolex timepiece. New Wave was followed by Peter McClennen's Gamecock and Peter Wagner's Skeleton Key.

"This is a huge win, we're very, very proud of this," said Liebel in an official IC37 class communication. "I'm very happy for the team. Any national championship is a nice one to have, heck yeah."

While the next SailGP event isn't until July 30-31 (Plymouth, UK), the circuit recently made news when word broke that the Japan Sail GP Team has "indefinitely paused" their participation despite finishing the first two seasons in second place. The reasons all boil down to funding; Each SailGP team needs to be commercially viable, and with the addition of two new and self-funded teams (Canada and Switzerland) to the third season of play, the league was short a boat. So, the Canadians got the Japanese boat.

While SailGP fans were hoping that Nathan Outteridge and company would come up with the monies needed to compete, this sadly proved not to be the case. The league will now see one of its best teams stand down, and one of its best drivers sidelined (at least for now).

Meanwhile, looking bigger picture, this week also marked World Sailing's "extraordinary general meeting" on Monday, July 18. The event, which was held virtually and which was open to representatives of all member national authorities, is aimed at governance reform and possibly a change to World Sailing's constitution.

"As part of World Sailing's democratic process, it is vital that our members are encouraged to exercise their right to vote on the future of the sport," said Philip Baum, World Sailing Vice-President and Chair of the Board Governance Sub-Committee, in an official communication. "World Sailing has undergone a thorough audit of current governance practices and designed a robust structure based on the feedback of all stakeholders during a series of plenary sessions.

"This vote is extremely important for the sport. It is the next stage in adopting a structure which is fit for purpose and provides the framework for collaboration. This should enable sailing to expand, attract investment and increase participation around the world."

Finally, US Sailing released their athlete selection procedures for the Paris 2024 Olympics. While the USA first needs to qualify as a country before individual sailors can earn their berths to France, U.S.-flagged sailors now know exactly what to aim for if they wish to represent the Stars and Stripes at the next Olympiad.

"These selection procedures are the product of a lot of thoughtful work by many of America's brightest Olympic Sailing minds, who form the International Selection Committee," said Paul Cayard, Executive Director of US Olympic Sailing, in an official team release. "We thank the committee for their service and dedication to US Sailing."

So, irrespective of whether you follow baseball of not, this week's All-Star Game can perhaps serve as that bit of extra lift that's sometimes needed to help motivate a few more days of sailing this summer. And, if your sailing calendar is already jammed full, perhaps the All-Star Game - and its place in the middle of the summer - can serve as a reminder to savor what we have in abundant supply right now.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt Sail-World.com North American Editor

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