FIRST PDS RACER REGATTA
Neat Concept Hits the Water
by Doug Day
Reuters – February 28,
2002 - Houston, TX
The inaugural race of the new PDS Racer one-design class is
in the history books. Every boat available attended this highly
contested meet and the competition was fierce. The crowds gathered
to view the boats and discuss the finer points of racing. After
a grueling series of back and forth lead changes, one boat finally
took the prize. And best of all – no one sank.
Local sailing experts inspecting the vessel
Well, not really, but it was a great time and
a neat concept to for anyone who wants to quickly build a boat
and sail with others. The boats are based on a Bolger Brick
style hull with slightly less rocker. We wanted a boat that
would be easy to build and roomy enough for taking a couple
of passengers when not racing. The hull is the only thing that
is set in stone – anything else goes. This will hopefully
keep it fairly even with the rigs and seamanship being the deciding
factor in any race. For more information on the class, go to
We had three boats show up to Lake Woodlands here
in Houston. It is a small lake and typically quite empty. Today,
however, that was not the case. We had scheduled our first race
the same time as a rowing meet. There was some debate with the
local team’s officials over whose boat would damage the
others worst, but we were gracious and moved our course.
I think we can take them
Some people just have no sense of humor. We moved
to a small finger of the lake that was being unused and set
up the racecourse there.
The race consisted of three boats – “The
Ugly Duckling” built by Ken Abrahams, “Bucket Ears”
built by David “Shorty” Routh, and my boat, “DUB”.
All through the building process, I thought, “this has
got to be the ugliest thing that has ever hit the water”,
hence, DUB – Doug’s Ugly Boat. But after all was
said and done, it came out quite presentable. It’s amazing
what a couple of coats of paint will do. The boats also showcased
the different styles that could be used.
Ken’s boat was built using tack and tape
methods and Luan – no chines - and was really light. His
boat has a centered dagger board and mounted a stock Sunfish
sail. He really flew over the course.
Ken Abraham's boat - Can’t
see them, but I’m sure there are mechanical duck
feet under there!
|Shorty used titebond glue
and lightweight chines and carried a stock 59 sf Bolger
sail. His leeboard is mounted low in an exterior slot. He
modified the rig by changing the sprit to a boom –
no bad tack.
||My boat was built in a mixture of Bolger/Payson
Brick style with external chines and taped seams and my
own special brand cut and curse construction. I also don’t
have any other sails to use so I made a 4-sided spritsail
out of polytarp. As an afterthought - more like “I
have tarp left over” - I added a 15 sf jib. My leeboard
is a kick up model based on Jim Michalak’s design.
Worked great when I got blown into shallow water along the
“But Honey, I needed those bed sheets
for a good cause….”
The course was laid out about a quarter of a mile
long and with two buoys. It was agreed that we would make two
laps so that we could get back to the dock in time to do some
serious socializing and eating.
As time to start neared I took all of my hard
won knowledge of racing and sat poised near the starting mark.
When the horn sounded I was first across the line! Sounds good
but what actually happened was that my jib got hung on one of
my sprits and I was stalled out around the mark tying to fix
it. It cleared just as the horn went off and a big gust of wind
kicked me over the line.
Why won’t this work?
And we’re off
Ken regularly races with the Lake Charles Yacht
Club and took an early lead in the race. He zipped past Shorty
and I and all I saw was spray.
“Shane! Come back Shane!”
Shorty quickly passed me by and made a race out
of it for Ken. I found out an interesting thing about lake winds
– 6 story buildings create HUGE areas of dead and swirling
wind. Note Ken staying well away (above).
I had a lot of problems with my sail rig but
considering I was still bolting on parts the morning of the
race, I was proud to have placed a respectable third. Most of
all, we all had a great time. Everyone came away with things
to change and that is the beauty of the PDS Racer. Shorty decided
that his leeboard mount needed to be changed as it caused his
boat to flex. Ken mentioned that he thought he might have a
bit too much sail and is looking to modify that. I have a lot
of bugs to work out with my rig but the hull was fine. All of
these fixes can be made and tested before our next race on March
27 at Lake Conroe. Watch out guys, you’re in my sights.
For more information, visit: