Skipper Jim Matthew is nice enough on land. He smiles, issues pleasantries with an English accent and talks about racing. On the water his whimsical Kirby 25 appears with big red lips on a white spinnaker. But don't be fooled. The name of the boat is Poch Ma Hon, Gaelic for "kiss my ass." And the sight of this boat frays the nerves of other Kirby sailors from the Barrie Yacht Club in Barrie, Ontario.
As we look forward to the 2012 Olympics in London, two classes will be front and center: the Laser for Men and the Laser Radial for women. The Laser Radial might be, for some, a non-event, but for those who started to learn the sport for fun (and for racing), the Laser Radial was a monumental leap in design, taking a great concept and making it better. The "Laser" was brilliant at the time and still is today. Low cost, strict one design specifications, performance, both easy to rig and sail were all great features built around a two-section mast that slipped together for sailing but came apart easily for trailering or car topping.
When George Hinterhoeller designed the Shark in 1959, he was looking for a boat that would "go like hell when the wind blew". Growing up in Austria's Salzkammergut region, Hinterhoeller was used to light displacement fin-keelers: fast, responsive and exciting. The few sailboats he found on Lake Ontario when he emigrated to Canada in 1952 had heavy displacement hulls. They were ponderous and had a bad habit of hobby-horsing in the rough Lake Ontario chop. This young builder/designer was also bored by their performance. Announcing that he could build a boat that would sail circles around the rest, he retired to the shed behind his Niagara-on-the-Lake home and built Teeter Totter, a hard-chined 22-foot sloop made of plywood...
Quebec's Tanzer Industries Ltd. launched the first Johann Tanzer-designed Tanzer 22 in 1970. The launch was well-timed, for the ensuing decade brought unprecedented growth to the sport of sailing. This small sailboat surfed into the leaders of the fleet of vessels in this size range which builders turned out in great numbers to satisfy the demand for introductory ballasted boats. Most of the 2,270 units built were constructed in Dorion, Que. The boat was also produced in Edenton., N.C., (270 units) and in Arlington, Wa. (167 units). Offered in fin keel and keel centreboard configurations, only about 200 centreboards were built as they were not competitive in racing fleets. In 1985 Tanzer gave the Tanzer 22 a "facelift"...