Commodore’s Story #2
By Al Woolnough
I would encourage any of our younger sailors who are interested in racing, to travel to other venues to race, particularly in one design classes where the boats are all similar and a lot can be learned from the experts. I did so in the Olympic Class Soling. I couldn’t afford to travel with my own boat so I raced with someone who could. The following two short stories were not experienced firsthand but were related to fellow racers by those who were fortunate enough to travel the world with Canada’s national team.
In the 80’s the Olympic organizers decided that rather than having hearings, regarding on the water protests, after the day’s racing was done, they would have qualified judges in chase boats on the water, who could rule on infractions during the races. As this was a new concept, they decided to have a practice race for the benefit of both the competitors and the judges. A dinghy class was selected and the race began in a brisk wind.
Approaching the gybe mark the Dutch boat was ahead but when they gybed at the mark they capsized. The skipper stayed with the boat and drifted down wind. The crew, who was not a strong swimmer clung to the large inflatable (Rothman’s – remember those) race mark. The French arrived a few seconds later and executed a perfect gybe. As they rounded the mark the French crew remarked as he looked down at the Dutchman clinging to the mark “Mon Dieu- they have judges everywhere”.
At a World Championship Soling Regatta, hosted by Norway, the Canadian crew were enjoying a beer with crew from several other Countries after the days racing. Some of the other sailors kept referring to one of the groups as C.P. Harry. After the skipper in question left, the Canadians asked who it was, that they kept referring to as C.P. Harry. “Oh, him they explained, that is Crown Prince Harrold, King of Norway”. Turns out the King was quite an accomplished Soling sailor and was representing the host County.