If the rock star skippers of the Albacore fleet were uber drivers

Kevin Smith (3.5/5 stars): He arrived late for every regatta, and while his club boat was tidy and tuned, it had clearly been around the block several times. Kevin was a wind sniffer, could anticipate shifts, and did not rely on a compass. His boat handling was top notch, but he needed to work on communication skills, and if there was a vote for “the skipper most likely to stroke out during a race”, he would win with special honours. The big take away from him was time in the boat trumps everything else.

Barney Harris (2.5/5 stars): Barney’s boat was rigged to make the crew almost redundant. He has an allergy to modern technology (like tackticks) and hiking pants. Not only did he not offer a bottle of water or mints, but if you tried to bring them on board, he would threaten to throw you off the boat. In between starts, he liked to gossip about the other racers. Barney was big on looking at the big picture (clouds, flags, other boats) to formulate a strategy. Stars were deducted for his questionable political leanings, and he also farted in the boat, and not always when he was downwind of the crew.

Christine Kelly (4/5): Christine wasn’t always the most punctual, but her boat was well maintained and not overly complicated. Her boat handling was excellent, and she was always calm and collected. She also never swore and was always smiling, which made me intensely paranoid and wishing there were functional seatbelts.

Davey Harris (4.5/5): While Dave’s boat is a Bentley, I’m fairly sure he learned to drive in the wild streets of Mumbai – with a blindfold on. That said, he’s pulled off some nice mark roundings (and some horrible ones), and his roll tacks are as smooth as Childish Gambino’s dance moves. While he will provide food if requested, it’s terrible – like British cuisine level terrible (I still haven’t forgiven him for a peanut butter sandwich made with hot dog buns). Dave proved that tenacity in the face of adversity sometimes pays off, and you can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, even if those jaws belong to a great white shark with a laser beam mounted on its head.

Raines Koby (4.5/5): The classiest guy in the fleet has one of the classiest boat in the fleet – also the easiest one to spot being over the line early (when he can find it, that is). He was very attached to his compass upwind, and his signature downwind move was to always go low to take advantage of the lighter all up crew weight. He lost half a star for tacking slow, and while he has beer on board, he won’t open his own and doesn’t share.

Allan Measor (4.75/5): Allan’s boat wasn’t the prettiest, but it was the most smartly rigged (save for the vang cleat being unstrategically placed right under the skipper’s butt). Allan was very focused on boat speed and left it to the crew: to fib about where the wind was coming from, relay what the compass was saying, and to hike. A quarter star was deducted because the ride got really awkward when Allan kept calling me Richard and choking up.

One thought on “If the rock star skippers of the Albacore fleet were uber drivers”

  1. Hi all from afar,
    Glad to see the “stars” are still shining brightly. Miss sailing those fat Tunas! I have been schooled by Kevin, Dave, and Raines – and used to dream of being close enough to Barney to learn something… that, and to hear the words “at this juncture, you have no water” from the stern of a UK boat.
    I can’t believe Norm Rubin isn’t on this list – star singer, whistler, and (perhaps no longer?) crew correcter. Not sure of a rating, but he did get me up to speed as a crew my first year sailing anything bigger than a Mistral.
    Bruce Nash – never a star, but a minor gaseous planet at one point?

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