Puddle Duck Racer Sailboat Class - Newsletter 10
February 28th is the anniversary of our first race. There were only 3 of us racing: Doug Day & his son, Ken Abrahams and me (Shorty), along with Wayne Yeargin who brought his Omega 14 sailboat to act as committee boat. The picture on the home page and on top of every page here is a lucky picture, Wayne snapped it right after Doug crossed the start line and Ken is just about to cross over. Just ahead of the luff of Ken's sail you can see a white spot, that is a chlorox bottle we were using as a buoy. We sure have come a long way since that first race, and continue to grow & expand at an explosive rate, thanks to the combined effort of all of us working to build our community. We certainly wouldn't be what we are, without the "we" part. Keep up the good work puddle duckers, and happy anniversary!!
Everglades Challenge 2012
Only a few days left and Scott will be the first to launching on the biggest challenge that duckers have talked about since our first hull floated on water. You can follow Scott during the event, see info on the Everglades Challenge 2012 page.
This month's articles have more info about his preparations, and one of them was he entered a mixed class race with his local sailing club and he was able to beat a Catalina 22 and a Catalina 25 to the finish line! The first knee-jerk assumption is that either an outboard was involved in Scott's triumph, or the puddle duck really can fly as fast as we are rumored to. :) The reality though, is that even though both of those Catalina's are exponentially faster than a duck, the most significant factor in a sailboat's ability to race is the hand that holds the tiller - and Scott is a very experienced racer, and his skill will be a significant factor helping him in the EC.
As for our regular racing, over the years I have seen many duckers focus on modifying their boats with the latest theories and put lots of effort into that area of our competition, and completely neglect the other big component which is real world practice on the race course. Just like the old kung-fu movies, the hero is the guy who blended both crane and monkey style kung-fu and used the best of both to triumph in the end. In our case, the crane style are the parts that make our boats fly like sails etc, and the monkey style is how we jump around the cockpit and yank on the tiller.
One easy way you can get experience racing is to wrangle some other local duckers out to the lake with you, and do practice racing. Simple as setting up a couple of buoys to make a short course and run some quick races. Like do a one lap race and then pull the boats together to talk about what went right and what didn't. Then run another race and see if you can do better. You could run a bunch of short practice races like that in just a couple of hours. Not only are these practice races a ton of fun, the experience you gain is a skill you keep forever.
Everglades Challenge 2012 SDDP Race
Our SDDP race starts in just a few days and runs concurrently with the Everglades Challenge. Gene Berry had to change his plans and can't head out to Florida, so instead he will be attempting to sail 300 miles in his home waters Stockton Lake !! The lake isn't that big, but what we do is sail laps back and forth to accumulate miles, so that way we can do big adventures in our home waters which might not be so big.
There are 3 different categories of competition: most nights spent aboard, most hours / days spent out on the voyage, and most miles travelled during entire time period. So even if you don't spend the night on your duck, you can still get out and sail to put some miles on the water, and everyone who participates gets on the score card and a competitive placement. So even if you only do one mile on the water, you get on the score card. So lets get out there and do some sailing!!!
Everglades Challenge SDDP Race page
2012 World Championship Info
Continuing to do the most innovative and productive promotional activity discovered yet, John Bridges was able to strike a deal with his local Home Depot and has Lavender Duck on display in the store for two weeks in a VERY prominent position to promote the "How To Build a Puddle Duck Demo" planned there for March 3rd. That will be followed by a Hatch of 6 Puddle Ducks in the Park on April 16th and another in Indiana PA which just counting the current commitment of ducks to be built, will bring their local fleets up to 40.
They are now accepting registrations to attend the 2012 World Championship race which (as class required) is free to enter for any registered class legal PDRacer hull, it's skipper and crew. They need to make plans and arrange provisions with their sponsors and sailing club host to accommodate for the duckers who attend, so if you are planning to attend please register with them.
Contact info on the World Championship Page
Adding New Option For Private Clubs and Paid Events
I started this club as a free plans, free membership, free participation and volunteer administration. For events I have organized, I twisted the arms of my friends to help me and recruited volunteers to come help, and together we made it happen. It is a very fun and rewarding operating model, and a true community effort. Over the years we have had many leaders rise to the challenge and accomplish great events.
For every great thing, there are compromises and requiring all events to be free entry has prevented some opportunities for our club by organizers who would like to host events, but need to have a reliable funding source to pay for venues, insurance and other event related expenses. In the past when inquiries have come in, I have tried my best to twist their arm to get them to host free events like we do, but it is difficult to do, and we have missed out.
I have added the option for organizers to create events that have paid entry (info). With this new option, I hope that it will open the door to provide bigger venues, attract an organized staff to administer events on a continual basis, and ultimately offer better experiences for the duckers who wish to participate.
The fee the event organizer charge for their event will also include funding that returns to the class to help sustain and promote it. To thank you directly for your financial support, that return portion of the funds will be added to your benefactor level icon and I'll send you a personal email every time you contribute.
Due to the natural laws of a free market economy, I am confident that these new events with paid entry will stay at a reasonable cost and provide an appropriate value for the duckers who participate. And if the events fail to do this, there are no protected territories, any other ducker can organize an event and provide better value.
I want to stress - I am not trying to change the nature of our club to make it a commercial enterprise, I am simply trying to open up new opportunities for duckers to take advantage of at their discretion. Specifically there are a couple of new opportunities I have talked to organizers about that may emerge soon which need this capability. And of course if you dislike this new option, you are always welcome to organize free events and enjoy our club in it's original form which has great personal satisfaction of accomplishment. Either way, we all benefit by getting more opportunities to get out there and go sailing.
In an effort to make a tool for us to use which will make measuring the hulls quicker and easier, here is the "hull measuring comb". It is a simple jig that can be made which mimics all the steps of measuring a hull with the string method. The difference being the string is replaced by a straight board, and each station mark has the edge of another board sticking down (forming the teeth of the comb) so those edges are used like measuring tapes.
The measuring comb is currently being evaluated and tested. Hopefully no problems are found and we can move on to trying it at the next championship to further evaluate if it is a viable tool.