Racing dinghies, and a woman

The scene: sailing the 5-0-5 racing dinghy at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco. The ‘Five-Oh,’ as it is called, designed by John Westell in 1953 but still a thrill to sail and race, is five meters and five centimeters of brutal physical test, a beast in boat’s clothing. Beautiful but deadly. The Ferrari of racing dinghies, never rivaled in half a century, sailed worldwide by the thousand, capable of 15 knots and faster ‘on the plane.’ In this demonic device, the skipper steers, controls the mainsheet and centerboard, and manages the show. He or she is in sole charge. The crew handles the jib and spinnaker, rides the trapeze and obeys orders promptly. Managing the jib and spinnaker sheets requires an athletic combination of dexterity and strength, as well as … [Read more...]