money wins!

John Drake

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Portmeirion
FTFY. Original yacht racing crews were mainly paid.I have a memoir from a family friend about a trans-Atlantic race she went on where the crew went on strike right before the start over not enough bonus cash if they won. Sandbagger* crews were doing it for money and were famously susceptible to being bribed (aka sandbagging). Big money was bet on the outcome of those races. America's Cup entries were powered by paid-for Swedish Steam.

The Corinthian movement was all about getting the paid riff-raff off the boat to be replaced by Muffy and Biff's friends from the club. Maybe not as good, but the right sort of people wink-wink ;)

We then moved on to 1970s era crew that was not paid to race per se, but paid a lot to clean the boat or sell them sails they didn't need or other such bullshit. This was pretty much restricted to the upper end of the fleet.

Eventually it got too hard to prove who was being paid to be a winch polisher for real and who was being paid to sail and we went to the system we have now.

* Sandbagger = 19th century version of an Aussie skiff

Back to the pro am equation. Paid racers are a relatively new old thing in the history of the sport. I suspect that the history of 'yacht' racing is replete with crews made up of a solid foundation of sailors who spent way too much time on the water and those owners who could afford to keep their crew spending way to much time on the water...its just that they weren't called pros.
The reason that this all came about the way it did was pretty simple and didn't really have todo with getting rid of professionals in favor of corinthians. It is all about fiberglass. Back when yachts like Nina, BigTi and Escapade ruled the waves, they were maintained by a professional crew. They had to be. There was no way an owner could keep up with keeping them in top shape. So these crews, Nina had around 4-5 paid crew while Escapade had 3-4 staff, would also sail the boats along with the owners and their friends. In the case of Nina, which Grandad sailed on, had 8 Corinthian crew and 4 professionals for most races. Now the family biz being printing, Grandad used to write about each major race and at the end of the season he would publish, usually hardbound, books of the past season. He would get photos that were taken by newspapers reporting on the races and some crew shots and make a real nice book for the skipper and his crew mates. I know some of you will chuckle at that but back post WWII it was a big deal to have a small camera onboard. At the same time you got your results from The New York Times (heck that was still going on come the 70's). The professional crew members are always listed separately. Generally there would be a skipper, steward, and a couple of deck hands. All of the afterguard listed were amateurs. The owner listed as Master, and his pals filling the roles of watch captains, navigators and helmsmen.Anyhow, the point is that while there were pros sailing, the reasons were not to have a professional crew to hunt pickle dishes. It was a function of keeping the race boats of the day ship shape and thus able to compete. They were indeed still sailed by amateur crews for the most parts.

Of course the fiberglass revolution killed all that and these old timer crews were put out to pasture.

 
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Nina.

Visited Nantucket during the 70's. Don't remember her racing Opera House Cup but I expect she was in the first few. (Escapade won 2 of the first 8.) Nina was a sleek son of a bitch among the bumpy IOR hulls of the time. Didn't know a lot about racing back then but knew she was the last schooner to win Bermuda.

Walking through Stamford YC is like walking through a Nina museum (now unfortunately a memorial).

Fair winds and following seas to a great boat and her crew.

RIP.

 
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moody frog

Super Anarchist
4,303
119
Brittany
Nina.

Visited Nantucket during the 70's. Don't remember her racing Opera House Cup but I expect she was in the first few. (Escapade won 2 of the first 8.) Nina was a sleek son of a bitch among the bumpy IOR hulls of the time. Didn't know a lot about racing back then but knew she was the last schooner to win Bermuda.

Walking through Stamford YC is like walking through a Nina museum (now unfortunately a memorial).

Fair winds and following seas to a great boat and her crew.

RIP.
Fortunately (at least that what I think) :

Sam Davies ' parents (yes that Sam Davies) have had a replica launched in Lunenburg '(Nova Scotia) in 2004.

They live aboard "Niñita" and extensively sail Biscay and the Briitish Channel - mostly two handed !

ninita.jpg

ninita 2.jpg

 

dacapo

Super Anarchist
13,845
1,684
NY
Just a guess, but I'll bet Kilroy didn't return Scot's phone call. Or he didn't wave back to Scot. Typical pattern. Anyone who doesn't love Scot gets thrashed. This is more about Scot than anything else.
you're just the messenger.......... ;)

 

John Drake

Banned
12,078
0
Portmeirion
Nina.

Visited Nantucket during the 70's. Don't remember her racing Opera House Cup but I expect she was in the first few. (Escapade won 2 of the first 8.) Nina was a sleek son of a bitch among the bumpy IOR hulls of the time. Didn't know a lot about racing back then but knew she was the last schooner to win Bermuda.

Walking through Stamford YC is like walking through a Nina museum (now unfortunately a memorial).

Fair winds and following seas to a great boat and her crew.

RIP.
Fortunately (at least that what I think) :

Sam Davies ' parents (yes that Sam Davies) have had a replica launched in Lunenburg '(Nova Scotia) in 2004.

They live aboard "Niñita" and extensively sail Biscay and the Briitish Channel - mostly two handed !
Such a lovely boat she was. I had the great pleasure to sail on her (Nina)well after DeCoursey's death. She was sitting in a marina I worked at and the owner invite me for a sail. I asked him if I could bring my Dad and explained that he had crewed on her as a young man along with his dad (my Grandad). We were treated like royalty. My dad was pretty choked up thinking about the times he had sailed on her with his father, who passed about 15 years prior.Have some great photos of her and her crew. Also have some great pics of Escapade. Grandad sailed on her as well as he was a notable navigator of that era.

 

Monkey

Super Anarchist
11,079
2,712
Earlier someone mentioned "ball sports" and there really is no comparison. The typical NFL or NBA player does not seem to come from the upper classes and I suspect many of them would be nowhere near having any money absent athletic ability. A poor but very good baseball, basketball, soccer, football, or hockey player has a very good chance of making it to a pro team if their ability is there.

Sailing seems like car racing, motorcycle racing, airplane racing, and equestrian sports. Native athletic skill is not an instant win, there is a lot of time and equipment involved to even find out how good you can be. The barriers of time and money between you and the top of the game are quite high. Sailing is kind of unique in that you can be a passenger more or less and still "win". AFAIK there are no car or aircraft racing classes where you can ride along, although the owners still "win" like the owner of a racing horse wins.
Thank you kent_island! Exactly the the point I was trying to make when somebody asked, "show me a sport that does not take money to win."
Last I checked NASCAR team owners don't get to ride around the track on race day yet they are right there in the winners circle.

Perhaps that is why racing sailboats attracts a lot of rich owners. Cost of entry is high for anything over 20' so you have that but it's also a sport that the "rich guy" MFO actually gets to go along for the ride. And the bigger the boat the easier it is to "hide" the MFO. I think that is why there is so much push back on having pros on board with just the one armature owner or a few friends as well. There is a lot of, "hey I could have done what that kid did if I just had a bank roll like Daddy does." And for a lot of racers on this board they are probably right. Again I don't have a problem with it, guy can spend his money as he likes, and if you don't like it find another class to race in. I'll admit it racing against pros paid to sail on boats has little appeal to me. So although I could afford a Melges 20 or J/70 I have little desire to buy one as I just don't have the time and frankly the desire to spend that much time with just that one boat to be any better than middle of the fleet.

And one more thought from my overly long post yet again. Perhaps this is why the "general public" sees sailboat racing as a sport for the rich only? Not realizing that you can pickup a used Laser (pick the dinghy class you like) and race club/regional regattas for less than it takes to play golf. Perhaps???
Just to be annoying, your comment about NASCAR team owners not getting to ride around the track isn't exactly correct. Just off the top of my head, Tony Stewart and Micheal Waltrip race for the team they own. There's plenty more examples, but I don't pay that much attention.
 

douglas

Super Anarchist
4,936
1
vancouver bc
Earlier someone mentioned "ball sports" and there really is no comparison. The typical NFL or NBA player does not seem to come from the upper classes and I suspect many of them would be nowhere near having any money absent athletic ability. A poor but very good baseball, basketball, soccer, football, or hockey player has a very good chance of making it to a pro team if their ability is there.

Sailing seems like car racing, motorcycle racing, airplane racing, and equestrian sports. Native athletic skill is not an instant win, there is a lot of time and equipment involved to even find out how good you can be. The barriers of time and money between you and the top of the game are quite high. Sailing is kind of unique in that you can be a passenger more or less and still "win". AFAIK there are no car or aircraft racing classes where you can ride along, although the owners still "win" like the owner of a racing horse wins.
Thank you kent_island! Exactly the the point I was trying to make when somebody asked, "show me a sport that does not take money to win."
Last I checked NASCAR team owners don't get to ride around the track on race day yet they are right there in the winners circle.

Perhaps that is why racing sailboats attracts a lot of rich owners. Cost of entry is high for anything over 20' so you have that but it's also a sport that the "rich guy" MFO actually gets to go along for the ride. And the bigger the boat the easier it is to "hide" the MFO. I think that is why there is so much push back on having pros on board with just the one armature owner or a few friends as well. There is a lot of, "hey I could have done what that kid did if I just had a bank roll like Daddy does." And for a lot of racers on this board they are probably right. Again I don't have a problem with it, guy can spend his money as he likes, and if you don't like it find another class to race in. I'll admit it racing against pros paid to sail on boats has little appeal to me. So although I could afford a Melges 20 or J/70 I have little desire to buy one as I just don't have the time and frankly the desire to spend that much time with just that one boat to be any better than middle of the fleet.

And one more thought from my overly long post yet again. Perhaps this is why the "general public" sees sailboat racing as a sport for the rich only? Not realizing that you can pickup a used Laser (pick the dinghy class you like) and race club/regional regattas for less than it takes to play golf. Perhaps???
Just to be annoying, your comment about NASCAR team owners not getting to ride around the track isn't exactly correct. Just off the top of my head, Tony Stewart and Micheal Waltrip race for the team they own. There's plenty more examples, but I don't pay that much attention.
a lot of team owners are former drivers too. richard childress gave up his seat for dale earnhardt.

 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
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Kent Island!
I think the point was you *can* be a winning NASCAR team owner and not even have a driver's license. Sure some of them are current or former drivers, but there is no system where an owner can jump in the passenger seat and be in the car during the race. Sailing is kind of unique in that way.

 
Escapade.

In my mind, the greatest of the old CCA 73 raters (yes, even more than Ti and although Passage was a 73 she is obviously in a different era) … her exploits and accomplishments are well summarized by Don McNamara in his book White Sails, Black Clouds. Big wins on both Coasts and the Great Lakes.

I got sail on her once in the late 70’s. In the mid 90’s we were docked next to her at St. Francis prior to Big Boat Series. The owner at the time had purchased her from Gil Frei. When I told him I had sailed on her and raced against her I was immediately invited on board for a tour and a rum. She looked terrific. Last I saw her she was being well cared for in Newport Beach.

 
Not true at all MK. Stop spreading misinformation.

typical. shoot the messenger. yawn.
That wasn't a message.

That was a rant
Doesn't mean he might not have been right. Winning by massively outspending the opposition? Douche move. Utterly.
But not what happened here.75% of the Melges 20 fleet are spending the same or more.
Clean.......I'm not going to fight you......but the pros on Liam's boat are not getting paid more than 75% of the pros on the other M20s. The M20 has a vibrant amateur driver/ pro crew scene. I don't want to sound like the 1/10 of 1% but if you think $3k per boat per day that Scot quoted is a big deal then you are out of touch with what many of the M20 program budgets are. It is still a fraction of a M32 program costs which is why it has become the post credit crisis circuit ....less ostentatious.

But you edited out the main point of my post. Which was that IMO, knowing some of the team members,the reason they won was great sailors clicking together with great chemistry, putting in a lot of time on the boat together, practicing their drills and stoked to be sailing with "the kid" on the helm AND that the kid was a good helm.

I don't think it matters whether you pay Steve Hunt beer money or $1000 per Diem, he is going to practice until the boat handling is perfect (ask any kid out of Pt Loma), and then he is going to put the boat in the right place on the course ( ask the hundreds of sailors who race against him every day on sailx) BUT ask Steve if a great team team can win without a great helm in the M 20 class?

So that is my contribution. Call it opinion. Call it misinformation. Call it Sailing Anarchy, but I call it how I see it.

Oh, and don't doubt for a moment my kudos to the budget programs and Corinthians in the M20 class who are out there having fun but the front cabin is expensive for everyone and it doesn't guarantee the podium.

 

Hippie

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767
0
Wayzata, MN
I think it is cool that another generation of is coming into the keelboat scene. We should see more of that. I hope to one day be able to compete with/against my own kids on the water.

The point about spending ungodly sums of money to prepare a 20 foot boat is really the only valid point I see being made. Some owners get a fair bad rap for this behavior but the Melges Classes allow this type of thing to go on. Owning 3 Melges 32's just so you can have extra sail buttons, buying 40 jibs to test out so that you can pick the 3 you wish to have measured but only after extensive recuts. These are things that not even the average rich guy can keep up with.

You have to ask yourself why. Why? What is so important about the Melges 20 or Melges 32 to warrant outspending every competitor? I personally don't get it.

 
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Hobie Dog

Super Anarchist
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Chesapeake Bay
I think it is cool that another generation of is coming into the keelboat scene. We should see more of that. I hope to one day be able to compete with/against my own kids on the water.

The point about spending ungodly sums of money to prepare a 20 foot boat is really the only valid point I see being made. Some owners get a fair bad rap for this behavior but the Melges Classes allow this type of thing to go on. Owning 3 Melges 32's just so you can have extra sail buttons, buying 40 jibs to test out so that you can pick the 3 you wish to have measured but only after extensive recuts. These are things that not even the average rich guy can keep up with.

You have to ask yourself why. Why? What is so important about the Melges 20 or Melges 32 to warrant outspending every competitor? I personally don't get it.
Why? That's an easy one to answer. Because they can. And the class rules allow it.

I was up an Audi steal-er-ship a couple of weeks ago, looking at a used car, and was in the showroom. Several cars over the 100K mark and I asked the salesman why would anybody spend that kind of money on a car? Answer: "Because they can." Point taken...

 
G

Guest

Guest
It's all about the gear, choose the level you can afford and go out and play. Sailing against pros only makes you better and its lots of fun...if you can learn. Ultimately its up to the class association to control the gear through rules.

Clearly the OP cannot afford to play in the M20 class, perhaps he could try lasers which are probably the most popular racing boat on the planet because its NOT about the gear.

Last I looked there is only one winner no matter how big the fleet is, if winning was everything then very few would continue in our sport, as far as I can tell there is a lot more to racing than a podium finish every time.

 
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