A “One-in’A’Million Chance”
Races are pretty sweet. Races between boats, even sweeter. Just read this short nautical narrative and tell us it doesn’t make your teeth tingle with excitement.
from Shavings volume 3 number 1, which hit the top-decks in 1981.
From San Diego, member Al Hislop sent us a hilarious account of a race between “Dingus” and “Freedom,” one a 12-footer, the other a 12-meter.
As we rounded the mark and popped the chute, we could see that the larger boats did have a clear advantage in speed. . . . We decided to use a tactic which has worked well in the past–“If you are leading the race, stay between your opponent and the finish line; you are bound to finish first.”
“Freedom,” the closest of the larger 12s was using a different tactic on us–“Cover your opponent; steal his wind.” As they came up fast behind us it appeared that they would be successful. Then, as their giant spinnaker went over our mast. . .an amazing thing happened.
The rush of air escaping under the large spinnaker caught “Dingus'” sails and shoved the little boat ahead of the big one. Each time the big boat approached, “Dingus” leaped ahead. The devilish smiles on the faces of the crew of the big 12 turned to looks of chagrin as they realized that “Dingus” was going to win. It is a well known fact that wind velocity increases near the edges of a blocking sail, but this is the first documented case in which this effect was used to win a race.
It has been claimed that our win was a “one-in’a’million chance,” but we have been offered a consider-able sum of money to keep “Dingus” away from the East Coast this Summer.
If Al hadn’t included a photo showing “Dingus” ahead of “freedom,” some of us might have suspected him of smoking his halyard instead of cleating it.
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