You want me to do what with which rope? The blue one? Wrap it around what? What do you mean halyard? Halyard yourself! This is most people’s first experience of sailing. However, like with everything else, it takes just a few times to get the gist of the activity. In no time you will be able to tell sheets from halyard. Here are some more facts about sailing you didn’t know.
1. Halyard. This is a rope that is used to raise a sail, yard or a flag. It is derived from the phrase to “haul yards”, halyards are made of raw fiber such as hemp.
2. The first Australian sailing medal won at the Olympics was in 1956 in Melbourne. This was done by Rolly Tasker and he dominated ocean racing in WA with 5 yachts all named Siska from 1969 to 1985. In 1986 he was officially put into the WA Hall of Champions and in 1996 he took his place in the Sport Australian Hall of Fame. He operates a sail making company based in Thailand, named Rolly Tasker Sails.
3. Malcolm Page an Australian sailor whom won 5 world titles in the 470 class. A 470 class is a 2 sailor dinghy event that is open to both men and women. The name of the class is the length of the boat that is 4.70meters and is a modern fiberglass dinghy. The 470 international classes have 2 events in the Olympics, men’s two person and the women’s two person dinghy.
4. Sharpie 12 Square Meter is the dinghy that took Australian Rolly Tasker to the first Aussie sailing medal in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. This is a vintage dinghy whose name was taken from the boats original sail area.
5. Don Cohan is the oldest person to win a bronze medal in the 1972 Munich Olympics. He also won a U.S.A sailing championship at a ripe age of 72.
6. Youngest to sail solo and unassisted around the world is Australian 16 year old Jessica Watson. She spent 7 months alone crossing the world nonstop. It was a 23 nautical mile travel that took 210 days of water travel.
7. The Maltese Falcon with a length of 88.00m is the biggest sailing yacht in the world. With specifications such as a two 1,800 horsepower Deutz engines running at 1,800 rpm that can go as fast as 20kn, it is deemed to be the most expensive sailboat in the world. Why wouldn’t it be? It has its own gym, an atrium, a VIP cabin, 4 guest suites that have king or queen beds and plasma screens. It was sold in 2009 for a whopping price of £60 million.
8. Alessandro Di Benedetto. They call him that “Crazy Italian Guy” who managed to solo circumnavigate the world on the world’s smallest boat that measures 21ft. What makes this feat more amazing is the fact that he was dismasted even before passing Cape Horn.
9. Hydroptère a sailing hydrofoil designed by Frenchman Alain Thébault, set a world speed record on September 4, 2009 reaching a speed of 97.90km/h for 500m in 30 knots of wind.
10. Fastest circumnavigating solo. Francis Joyon (France) currently holds the fastest single-handed circumnavigation sailing. The remarkable record breaking sailing feat was in February of 2004 when he circumnavigated in 72 days 22 hrs 52 mins and 22 seconds, sailing 28,000 nautical miles with an average speed of 15.5 kts. His vessel was a Trimaran IDEC measuring 90 ft and was not designed for single-handed sailing; it was over 10 years old with no weather router.
A common denominator for all these famous people, boats and equipment, characterizes sailing. The element of breaking boundaries for a personal goal that was seemingly unattainable. Success is easy in sailing, may you be an old or new to the sport, all you need is a lot of determination and of course some good sailing lessons.
Author: Steven Washington