Harken Derm

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Published on August 27th, 2018

Oakcliff Sailing (Oyster Bay, NY) is a hotbed for match race training and regattas, utilizing their twelve Match 40s nearly every weekend throughout the season. And despite the expert instructors and regatta staff, there still are occasions that amaze even the most seasoned sailors. This story comes from The Dial Up – Issue #23:


At a recent match racing event at Oakcliff Sailing in the Match 40’s, before the start a leeward boat luffed a windward boat. Just before contact, the leeward boat bore away sharply and the bowperson began falling overboard, but instead of landing in the water she landed in the scoop transom of the windward boat!

The boats quickly separated and then started with the windward boat carrying a penalty and their opponent’s bowperson.

After some radio chatter among the umpires, it was decided that the umpire boat should pick the sailor up and return to the starting line area where the “transfer” had occurred, and wait for the bowperson’s boat to return to that area to retrieve their missing crew, which they did.

By the time the transfer was made, the leading boat was about halfway to the windward mark. But wait – there’s more…

After having some issues setting her spinnaker, the leading boat decided to do their penalty while trying to sort out the spinnaker issues. The penalty turn and delayed spinnaker set allowed the trailing boat to close the distance, and eventually pass the leading boat and win the race!

You can’t make this stuff up!

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