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Rule 69?

Melges Optimist

This past Saturday, in Italy, two fleets were racing at international regattas – practice for Optimist World’s and the 2013 Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series. Two of the Melges’ vessels decided that port tacking through an optimist fleet while on their downwind leg was a good idea. So far they have been proven right with one boat winning the regatta and the other maintaining their Top 10 world ranking. You can read various statements from the boats and fleets at the Melges 32 Class Association.

Fortunately no one was hurt, but reportedly one Optimist lost a YC burgee to an errant sheet when a Melges broached, and photos show others altering course. Unfortunately, although this is a particularly egregious example, it happens on the Gulf Coast as well.

When asked about his reaction, James “Jimmy” Haupt, SYC Optimist Chair and host of international optimist events, wrote:

“I’ve had fairly accomplished sailors right here at home totally disregard an Opti race course because they wanted to simply get to the harbor/bar 2 minutes sooner. Even after being asked to “please go around the course”, they told the safety boat, no!  Whereby they sailed right through a group of kids going downwind on a W-L course.

Morons come in every stripe of life. Thankfully, they’re the clear minority. For the most part, I find racing sailors the most seaworthy of folks on the water. “

Let’s think about this the next time we are headed for the bar, and make sure to keep clear.  There are more important things than that pickle dish — even if says Audi on it.

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