The State of Dirtboating
in the US
(A must read says the NY Times)
From your president, Dennis
To all fellow dirt boaters, land sailors and new comers alike.
have just returned from the 11th World Championships in Rada Tilly, Argentina, http://www.argentina2008.com.ar/news.php.
I have a few observations and thoughts.
1. Dirtboating, land sailing
and sand sailing seem to be alive and well in the rest of the world. There
were 15 countries represented at the championships including newcomers Tunisia
and Chile. We had a total of 9 people from the US make the trip and there
were 7 of us racing. We all used chartered boats that were either supplied
by the organizers or friends in Europe. The largest class (48 boats) was
the new Promo 5. The Promo 5 seems to be replacing the Fisly 5 and taking
quite a few people from the Standart class. The other classes included in
the championships were, International Class 2 (18 boats), Fisly Class 3 (27
boats), Fisly Class 5 (6 boats) and Standart (18 boats). The beach was big,
flat and dry. We were able to sail in our shorts and tee shirts with no need
for an immediate shower when returning from a race. We had all kinds of wind
from nearly every direction and strength. The racing consisted of some reach
to reach speed fests as well as light air with lots of tacking and gibing.
This was some of the best sailing that I have had on a beach. On some of the
days the crowds were huge and the race committee would put a mid course marker
in to make us all come closer to the seawall. The energetic crowd would chant
and sing songs like it was some sort of soccer game. The racing was followed
up with the daily first trophies (trophy girls included) and then some sort
of entertainment. The entertainment was anything from dinner to outdoor concerts
with thousands of spectators. The US team consisted of Jim Goss, Curtis Obi,
Lester Robertson and Jack Robertson in Promo 5, Mary Robertson and Chris Becher
in Standart, My self in International Class 2, along with us was, Mary Bassano
and Sam Robertson as team photographers.
2. I would like to encourage anybody that is considering a new smaller boat
to go the way of the Promo 5. There are commercially available models (Seagull
and Air Track) or you can build your own. The rules for the class can be found
at www.fisly.org under the rules tab. Find
the I.S.A.R.R. English version and go to page 28. The rules are designed around
a boat that is relatively cheap and easy to build. This seems to be the class
of the future, it is easy to ship, there’s lot’s of them. If you
ever plan to race in an international event either here or another country
you will have your own boat and be in the largest class with the most competition.
Anybody considering a larger yacht for international and local racing should
go the way of Class 2. These boats can be raced on the beach as Class 2 and
then be converted back to effective Class 3 or 4 boats for racing back here
on the dirt. I would like to see NALSA Class 2 take on the International Class
2 rules, as conversion wouldn’t be necessary. The only real difference
in the rules being, Intl. Cl. 2 has and minimum sail area rule of 8 Sq. meters
as well as a maximum of 10 Sq. meters. I personally like the crowd in
International Class 2 and the power of a Class 2 is awesome and can be more
than exciting at times, plus you push less in lighter winds.
3. Only having 4 starts and 5 classes
of boats makes for exciting races. Instead of races with only 6 or 7 boats
you get 15 to 20 or more. I like this kind of racing, more people equals
more fun and it make the trophies more meaningful and fought for. Having
said that, we in the US are currently running 5 starts with 15 classes this
seems a little excessive. I would like to find a way to reduce the number
of classes and raise the numbers of yachts within the remaining classes and
promoting close and equal competition. Once again, if you’re
planning on building a small boat, consider a Promo 5, a large boat Class 2.
There must have been at least 80 volunteers at the championships. All
of them were very helpful and extremely happy to have us basically
take over their town. So this year at the America's Landsailing Cup, if you see
a newcomer or spectator, help them out. Kindly let them know where
the best place to park is. Direct them towards the information board
so they can read about the permit rules and to sign the tortoise sheet.
Give them some
information about the racing, so they don’t walk or sail onto
the course. This sort of attitude and large fleets with competitive
racing is what we need to boost our sport.
5. If this is going to be your first time at Ivanpah please
look on line at the BLM web site http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en.html and
read about some of the things you can do to minimize your impact on the
desert. If you plan to arrive early (before Friday) or stay late
(after Saturday) you need to get an individual permit (it’s free)
from the BLM, apply on line. If you have questions when you get to Ivanpah
there will be an information board at the entrance to the playa or you
can go to the main “Event Tent”. Another option would to
be to look for Kent Hatch, Bob Dill (past presidents) or myself. There
will be no dumpster provided for this years event (many factors in this
decision) so be prepared to PACK YOUR TRASH. Wednesday
night will be the catered dinner provided by NALSA. The America's Landsailing Cup “Daily
First” party’s are hosted by the individual clubs so you
need to organize your club and pick a day. The party doesn’t have
to be fancy or a dinner, just a little something to keep everybody occupied
when were handing out the trophies. SASSASS will once again take Tuesday
night. Registration is on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Mandatory
Skippers meetings are Sunday at 12:00 and daily at 9:00; you must attend
these meetings, we will hand out secret passwords. It would be good if
everybody in attendance would attend these meetings. The
code for the hotel room discounts at Whiskey Pete’s is STA0320.
The cut off date for the $80 America's Landsailing Cup entry fee is March 10th after
that it’s a $100.
6. Remember we are all at the desert to have a great time and compete
with our friends for a trophy, so let’s all have fun and try to
win with sportsmanship and fair sailing.
See you in the dirt,