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Unforgettable moments in sailing

Published on August 1st, 2022

Elite sailors consistently have an elephant’s memory, which allows them to recognize situations earlier and react sooner than their competitors. This also helps them tell great stories afterward, and Moose McClintock is definitely someone worth listening to when he gets started. Prompted by a recent tale he shared with Scuttlebutt, Bob Morton recalled a ‘Moose-ism’ that is worth remembering:

We were sailing a One Ton Series out of the Ida Lewis Yacht Club (Newport, RI) aboard Perry Harris’ new boat Special Edition. On one of the long-distance races, we were sailing downwind past Castle Hill toward the finish off Fort Adams. We were in a moderate southerly breeze, fighting against a strong ebb current, and everyone who has been in that situation knows you need to get right along the shore to get out of the current.

The rocks along Castle Hill there are nearly vertical, so you can get in really close. We were probably only ten feet off the rocks, but there was a boat coming up on our stern and her spinnaker was about to blanket ours. All of a sudden, Moose says “Let’s pretend that we ran aground. I’ll count to three and everyone make a huge noise and fall forward.”

Well, just as the trailing boat was about to blanket us, Moose did his countdown. At three, the whole crew fell forward, banged the deck and made as much noise as we could. The boat behind immediately swung out into the current and practically stopped! We just kept sailing and gained about four boat lengths on her and that was enough to hold her off as we sailed the last mile into the finish at Fort Adams.

How Moose ever came up with that idea, we’ll never know, but that move is legendary in the annals of Newport sailing.

Editor’s note: Do you have an unforgettable moment in sailing? Send it to

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