Monday, April 15, 2013

Club member race report

Jeff Hughes and I were out on the S2 7.9m "Avalon". We were second in our fleet, losing out first to Airloom. Interestingly, despite their waterline we had them cornered until Wing Point or so. At that point, we simply did not have the weight or waterline to punch through the waves whenever we were on starboard tack. We saw that big boy gliding through the slop. They had their chute raised when we were still a few turns away from the rocks.

Good race though. I inadvertently invented a new method of foresail trimming in heavy winds. This technique might not be advisable in all conditions, but I'll try to explain it as best I can: In heavy breeze, trim normally, but do so with your back to the companionway. At the right moment, let a wave pitch the boat such that you lose your footing and fall backwards into the cabin. Make sure the sole is covered with sails and other soft things. As you fall in, hang on like death to the sheet. Properly turned around the winch, the trimming of the sail will slow your fall and the motion becomes something not unlike that of walking backwards over a cliff for an abseil but much faster. If you listen carefully you can hear the winch turning above your own profane screams and the shouts of the crew in the pit who saw you go down. As you fall backwards, your body will essentially work against the force of the wind in the foresail, eventually slowing you down until you land on your back, looking up the companionway at the crew still in the cockpit. If all goes well, the crew in the pit will be able to cleat the winch or perhaps bring it in another couple inches before finally inquiring if you are ok down there and requesting that you resurface with beverages of some sort.

Like I said, this is an advanced technique. I managed to master it on my first try but I would recommend practicing in controlled circumstances before attempting this in a race environment.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

WYC Wins World Championship (1959-1964 history by Ken Howe)

The racing teams of the University of Washington Yacht Club established the UW as the top sailing school in the region wining numerous regional titles and placing high in national competitions during the 1960s.  This Northwest Regional Intercollegiate trophy was presented by the Corinthian Yacht Club.  Many of the competitions were held at their Leschi site on Lake Washington. UW wins were 1949, 1951, 1953, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967, and 1969.  The University of British Columbia developed a strong program too and won all the other races except 1968 which Western Washington won.

Husky sloops struggle in light winds, July 9, 1964 UW Daily
May 15, 1964 UW Daily

Husky followed by Penguin

The membership grew steadily in the club’s second decade.  

Dues income increased from less then $2000 to almost $12000 from 1956 to 1966 according to a report submitted to the ASUW

The increased income made it possible to buy more boats to expand from the six Huskies and six Penguins. A loan of $1500 from the ASUW made it possible to buy two  more Penguins in 1960. The initiation fee charged to new members was used to pay off the loans.   Another loan of $2700 in 1961 was used to purchase even more Penguins so that the fleet doubled in size.  In 1964 the next loan of $2700 went to adding two 19 foot Lightnings.

July 14, 1960 UW Daily 

Penguins on Lake Washington, Dec. 10, 1958 UW Daily

In the January 14,1964 issue, a UW Daily reporter described sailing on the new Lightning.

The Canoe House continued to be the location of the club in the 1960s.  Boats were stored inside and winched down the ramp to the water.  Eventually more docks were built and the new boats could be moored outside. 

Races were mostly held on Portage Bay or off Leschi on Lake Washington. Instruction was done on Union Bay or Lake Washington.                      

To get students excited about sailing the club offered a free day of sailing at the beginning of each quarter.  The April 4,1964 event is described in the Daily.
March 11, 1964 UW Daily

Yacht Club Launches Drizzly Rites of Spring
Four days of brilliant spring weather last week and then the deluge.  The University Yacht Club’s Saturday Open House, held by the boatsmen to show the rest of the campus what fun sailing can be was swamped by the vagaries of Seattle’s weather.  Undaunted, hearty souls took advantage of the free rides any way.
April 7, 1964 UW Daily

Union Bay looked different in the 1960s because of the Montlake Landfill.

Webster Point on Union Bay is in the distance. 

This is a still from a film made at the University dump in 1964.

The horseshoe shape is Husky Stadium.  In 1964 when the dump closed, the land fill was not far from the KB docks.  Ralph Jackson remembered how it smelled bad in summer when sailing on Union Bay.  Norm Ahlquist said he could smell where the wind was coming from.  

In membership drives a boat was moved up to campus and the spinnaker hoisted to increase interest.

April 4, 1963 UW Daily
The UW Daily increased coverage of Yacht Club events and meetings.  The club was meeting daily at the HUB for lunch in the early 1960s.

                             The Daily reporter often tried to write a humorous headline.       
                                                      Sailing ‘Yachts of Fun’ Say UW Boating Fans
Sept. 29, 1960 UW Daily

October 9,1963 UW Daily

April 13, 1960 UW Daily

Sailing provided opportunities for newspaper photographers to hone their craft.

May 25,1960 UW Daily
 The writer then added more creativity.

Portage Bay was the site of many races the club sponsored or participated in. 

Towing them to races was a hassle.

1963 Tyee yearbook
September 29, 1960 UW Daily

Many Yacht Club members had started sailing in the UW PE class.
University of Washington Bulletin 1964-1965

The graduation requirements in the 60s included PE activities.  Sailing was taught by the department as an activity and those who enjoyed the experience joined the Yacht Club.

Ralph Jackson commented about the PE class when he described the Tech boat they sailed: A story from the old timers says that the P.E. department had a sailing program using Tech dinghies and their students were told to sit in the middle of the boat for safety.  Apparently our club members took great delight in sailing circles around them while hiked out annoying their instructors. 

Norm Ahlquist added: “The instructor was very paranoid about wind and they would be coming in while we were launching Penguins or Huskies.  

The Daily tried to report about what it was like to learn to sail in the club.

May 3, 1963 UW Daily                  Boating Fans Hoist Sails

One new sailing enthusiast, John McDonald, took out the boat for a gentle cruise on Lake Washington last week.  Shortly after embarking on the day’s journey to points unknown, the sails of his boat caught a large gust of wind and capsized, throwing him and his female companion into the muck and mire of Lake Washington.

Unfortunately, McDonald had not ventured far enough onto the lake, and when his boat capsized he was only a few yards off shore.  The mast on his boat dipped under the surface, and there it stayed imbedded in the mud and in six feet of water.
McDonald finally summoned other boating enthusiasts, and a combined effort managed to get the sail boat righted again.

Other than the one mishap, the Yacht Club has kept their activities well under control.
Oct. 11, 1961 UW Daily

The reporter for the Daily who wrote about the other sailers who capsized was a little mixed up.  It is a long trip in the rescue boat from the Canoe House to Elliot Bay.
February 20, 1963 UW Daily
The longest struggle for the club was to be funded as a minor sport.
Gary Syverson, Jeff Ingman, and Dr. Maurice Rattray preparing to compete in the Men’s North American Sailing Championships at Balboa, California, September 10-15.
August 9, 1962 UW Daily 
The California Race was not an intercollegiate regatta. The club being registered as a “yacht club” made it eligible to enter.  

Dr. Rattray was the advisor and coach for most of the 1960s.  He lobbied the administration to fund sailing competition. 

Hopes were high for the club when some regatta expenses were covered by the ASUW. Then funding was denied by the Athletic Department.
May 28,1964 UW Daily

Many people got their start in sailing at the University in the 1960s.  
Racing                                                                           Cruising
June 30, 1960 UW Daily
Lightening used for Snooz-N-Cruise, 1964 Tyee

Tom Bradner sailed a Finn in the Olympic trials.
1964 Tyee