Last update: May 17, 2012

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The State of Dirtboating in the US
and Beyond
(A must read says the NY Times)

From your president, Dennis US-8

To all fellow dirt boaters, land sailors and new comers alike.

       I have just returned from the 11th World Championships in Rada Tilly, Argentina, 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 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.


Dinnis in south america

4. 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 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,

Dennis US-8

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