Recently I had a letter submitted to Scuttlebutt Europe (see below) with regards to the debate about canting Keel Boats to take part in the Cowes Week regatta. I got a bit of feed back to this and one particular guy asked me if I had a clue about what I had written in my statement. It could have been that this was a "quick diagonal reader" who did not got the message from my limited English or it could have been a "canter". One of these guys who are laughing at you, when you are wobbling in their wake.
OK, I have not sailed against a canter yet, though I wish I would be able to see one live and maybe these guys are not laughing at the ones, leaving behind in their wke... We do not have any of these boats in my home waters around Kiel or Flensburg or in Denmark. Not yet. My doubts about the compatibility on the starting line between canters and non-canters are based on my experience in the Sportsboat class as well as in IMS sailing. In the beginning of the Sportsboat movement around 1998 we were looking for participants to get the numbers up. To bring some value to the club, hosting our annual regatta in Travemünde. Therefore the German ISRA (Association) also invited the Asso99, a 6 person keelboat, 3 of them are on the wire. Sportsboats do not have trapezes. They are the likes of the Hunter707, Beneteau25, Bull7000, Melges24, U20, Humphreys22. A righting moment of 3 persons on the wire makes for better pointing and speed on the start line. It did not match and everyone tried to work out how to avoid the Asso. There had also been two 11m OD´s which due to their waterline length and high stability caused headache for the sailors on the light displacement Sportsboats. The silverware had gone to those "non-Sportsboats" and as they were not coming back to race due to a stricter rule, the silver also disappeared. None of them gave the challenge trophies back. The pic shows us fighting upwind with the low displacement Bull 7000.
* From Manfred Schreiber: Reading with interest the debate. Why do they exchange rough letters and arguments and do not put on the table the most interfering thing which happens to non-canters when starting together with canters. A much bigger problem other than when starting with 35 footers against 39 footers within a certain IMS rating band. You really do not want to have a canter on your leeward side. It brings you to a halt and steals from you the minutes and seconds which you need to score well. Same of course with a windward canter which leaves you in the wake of his dirty air. Other boats start rolling you. A good finish is already out of sight 5 minutes after the start.
Do not put these very different machines into the same starting sequence. The Cowes Week organisers are doing the right thing. The fun is only for the crews sitting low on their canters and leaving their "competitors" in their wake. Not good sportsmanship I would say.