Something soulful about fast old boats

Published on March 29th, 2021

With 6300+ boats made since 1958, Lido 14s are found across the US but their hub is the west coast where they’ve been the platform for countless battles. Designed by Barney Lehman and W.D. Schock, the one design class helped launch David Ullman’s sailmaking business and provided a measure for generations to test their skill.

The class has been checking in with past and present Lido sailors to learn about their affection for the boat, and they caught up with Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck about his memories. Maybe an idea for other one design classes? Here you go

Craig is a five time Lido 14 Class Champion (1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1995), all in hull #2665, the Lido that has won the most Class Championships. Fun fact, Craig won each of his Class Championships with a different crew, too. We asked Craig, why Lidos? This was his response.

What got you into Lidos?
My parents raced Lido in the 1960s, and I recall photos of them competing inside Marina del Rey before a lot of the docks were installed. Plus many of my friends grew up sailing Lidos, along with several icons of the sport, so when I got the chance to join the Class while working for Sobstad Sails, I jumped at it.

What’s your favorite place to race Lidos?
There’s no better place to sail most dinghies than Huntington Lake. It’s a big course, the scenery and fresh air are unmatched, and the camping brings together the community. But it’s quite a drive, so Mission Bay in San Diego is my local option. Plenty of room for racing and Mission Bay Yacht Club is a great host.

Why sail Lidos?
I loved how the focus was on pure tactical racing rather than tuning and equipment. Pop the cover off, toss up the mast, and go. Simple fun, easy enough to find crew, and generally a short sail from launch to course. That can also mean a shoreside lunch break, gathering around a table for burgers and conversation. Don’t underestimate the value of socializing. And while Lidos certainly are no speedster, that also means shorts and a t-shirt is generally all you need. That doesn’t suck!

What’s your go fast Lido tip?
Before I got into Lidos, I watched an event and saw how well the boats carried their speed through the tack. For a port tacker upwind, rather than duck the starboard boat and lose distance, there was an advantage to a leebow tack. When the starboard boat tacked off, then you could too if you wanted to go right. I would tease how the fastest point of sail for a Lido is tacking, and it might be. And while it’s not a go fast tip, a guaranteed go slow tip is to leave the stainless mast pin in the aluminum mast base, as you’ll regret it when the metals eventually seize. I did!

How many different Lido’s have you own?
I had just one, #2665. She was unloved when I bought her, and one of my initial upgrades was replacing its ancient jib cleats with some Harkens. However, in my first regatta I learned that the Harkens re-cleat pretty good too, which happened on a tack that led to a very quick capsize. So I undid that upgrade and focused on a fair hull and fast blades, and while she never was considered a looker, she had wheels, and there is something soulful about fast old boats.

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