Beginning of the blooper in 1963

Published on January 9th, 2023

Yacht designer and past Seahorse magazine editor Julian Everitt reflects on a clever chapter for the sport.

American yacht designer and yacht builder extraordinaire Charlie Morgan has been credited with ‘inventing’ the blooper back in the summer of 1963 on board his design Sabre, but Chris Bouzaid popularized the idea as a mainstream development under IOR on his 1970 Dick Carter designed One Tonner Wai Aniwa.

The extra unrated sail area would have been particularly beneficial on this era of ‘Jumbo’ One Tonners which were a little short of sail area for their giant hulls.

Many, many people, over the years have criticized the blooper, or big boy, and it is often used today by pundits who like to ridicule the IOR era. Only those of us who used bloopers, in anger, can appreciate their effectiveness which was helped immeasurably by the fact that they were ‘free’ in rating terms.

So even if they only worked ten percent of the time, they were still producing unrated speed. What’s not to like? Handling them was sometimes a bit of an issue – gybing in a big breeze required some coordination, but at least crews had plenty to do, unlike gybing an asymmetric these days.

Oh and another thing today’s sailors won’t appreciate about the blooper is that if you had the nerve and the trimming skill it could allow you to sail deeper in marginal conditions.

This picture below shows the idea of a ‘free’ (in sail area terms) drifter being set outside the spinnaker leading sail maker Bouzaid to conclude that a purpose built blooper could really add unrated performance. He and his crew went on to win the One Ton Cup with Wai Aniwa.

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