We'll recall that the advent in the early 19th century of what might be called the first purpose-built cruising boat, Cleopatra's Barge, was nurtured by the vast personal wealth of one individual, George Crowninshield. And as the 19th century progressed, yachting, not surprisingly, continued to be the domain of the wealthy. The vessels and the egos behind them only grew larger and more extravagant.
Yachting was very much about social status, and this led to the formation of exclusive clubs. The two most prominent were the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS), formed in England in 1815, and the New York Yacht Club (NYYC), founded in 1844. Neither, however, was the first of its kind in its respective continent. The Water Club, formed in Cork, Ireland, circa 1720, is believed to have been the first yacht club in Europe, while the Boston Boat Club, circa 1830, was the first in North America. The activities of these clubs centered on racing and wagering, and the racing could be quite vicious. Competitors in early RYS events, for example, would effectively wage combat against each other, wielding weapons of various sorts in efforts to cut away their opponents' rigs. Like their Dutch predecessors, RYS members also staged mock naval reviews in which large groups of yachts sailed in formation.
Boats & Gear
I was just pulling into a mooring field in Sebasco after sailing across Casco Bay from Portland, when I got a phone call from Phil "Snake Wake" Cavanaugh, who was somewhere in central Europe at the time, telling me that Oracle had just won races 17 and 18 and had forced a final race 19 to decide it all. I had been planning this last long outing of the season for weeks and wasn't about to let Cup fever thwart it, but I was willing to stay over a day in Sebasco so I could watch the last race in the bar at the little resort there.
Of course, all Phil wants to talk about (now and then) is how wrong I was in picking the Kiwis to win way back when. And that's cool. I'm very glad I was wrong, because I'm sure I won't ever see anything like this again in my lifetime.
News & Views
OH. MY. GOD. I can't believe this madness hasn't ended yet. I was certain Team New Zealand was going to win one of the races yesterday, as the Oracle crew had yet to do better than split decisions on days when two races were sailed. But now Oracle has in fact won four in a row and "only" needs four more.
This is starting to seem almost feasible. And I think Dean Barker is starting to think the same thing. He hasn't been looking too happy at press conferences lately.
Light wind yesterday... and for the first time we saw the big black cats flying gennakers, or Code Zeros, or screechers, or whatever the hell you want to call them. And Oracle had trouble with theirs... and were way way way behind... and Team New Zealand was less than a mile from the finish... when the race was called as the time limit expired. So they tried again...
We're hard on it, sports fans. The Oracle boys dropped a hard-fought race on Wednesday (two lead changes, plus a big surge on the last downwind leg) and now can't afford to drop any more. One more win and Team New Zealand will be taking our tin back to Auckland. Oracle did what they had to do yesterday to stay alive--slam-dunked the Kiwis at the start and led all the way to the finish line. Check out their speed upwind in that viddy up there. Full foiling action with top speeds over 30 knots. They just keep getting better!
I'm holding my breath: how much longer can they drag this out???
Women have long complained about how the world is dominated by men. To most men, meanwhile, it is perfectly obvious that modern civilization is little more than a plot to make women comfortable.
The truth, of course, lies somewhere in the middle. If it were true, as men aver, that it is women who rule the world, such things as pornography and the Three Stooges would probably be outlawed. On the other hand, if men really ruled the world, as women insist, society no doubt would be organized very differently. The men most likely would live in nomad biker gangs, and all the women and children would live in villages. The men would ride from village to village, impregnating women and fixing anything that was broken before moving on.
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Offshore Passage Opportunities
Attainable Adventure Cruising
Blue Planet Times
Father & Son Sailing
Cruising Sailor's BB
Good Old Boat
North American Sailor
Liz Clark and the Voyage of Swell
Onboard with Mark Corke
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