16 March 2016

Bloopers are back!

From Scuttlebutt USA (15 March 2016 edition):

The 2016 edition of the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) rating system has been released, with a change that has now made bloopers legal for boats built during the era of bloopers. This was a concern about ORR for many older boats, and ORR has found a way to properly rate them and have thus made them legal.
Italian yacht Vanina leads the charge of blooper-wielding yachts during the 1979 Admiral's Cup
ORR – 2015 Edition
4.01 Bloopers.
Bloopers are prohibited. When a spinnaker is set, no jib shall be tacked in such a way as to cause or permit the luff or forward edge of that sail to lie outside of the spinnaker or spinnaker sheet and, when a spinnaker is set, no sail shall be sheeted to the main boom except the spinnaker itself.

Bloopers tended to keep the bowman busy!

ORR – 2016 Edition
4.01 Bloopers.
The intent of this section is to allow bloopers on boat’s where they were once popular and in the way they were flown. If bloopers generate a pronounced speed benefit, that benefit will be properly assessed and rated in future versions of ORR. All of the following shall apply to boats rating with bloopers:

a) Bloopers are only permitted on boats with an age or series date earlier than Jan 1, 1985.
b) Bloopers are only allowed on boats rated with a spinnaker pole, and not with a bowsprit.
c) Bloopers must measure in as a headsail, since two spinnakers cannot be flown at the same time other than when changing. The LP of the blooper shall not exceed 150% of rated J. The half width must be no greater than 50% of the foot. The luff of the blooper shall not exceed the luff of the largest headsail for which the boat is rated. The tack pennant for a blooper shall not exceed 2.5 feet and must be tacked aft of the forward end of J.
d) The blooper shall be counted as headsail for purposes of the limit on number of headsails carried while racing.


All we need now are some old sailmakers that still know how to make bloopers. For more information on the 2016 ORR… click here.

Bloopers fly during the 1983 Australian Admiral's Cup trials
Bloopers came onto the scene during the 1971 Southern Cross Cup series, when New Zealand's Wai Aniwa hoisted a light air no.1 genoa outside the spinnaker (here). The resulting protest was dismissed, and overnight the blooper became an indispensable part of the IOR racing wardrobe before falling out of favour in the early to mid-1980s.
They may have been detested by some sailors, but they made for some great photographs!
Bravura during the 1984 SORC (photo Larry Moran)

Lady Be (sailing for NZ) leads Scarlett O'Hara (US) during the 1983 Admiral's Cup, by which time the use of bloopers was starting to wane (photo NZ Yachting/Alan Sefton)


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