FAQs on Ratty

Tartan Ten Ratty

Montrose Harbor

Chicago, Illinois

1.Where did you get the name Ratty?

"Ratty" is named after the character in the book Wind in the Willows, who said "Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,' he went on dreamily: `messing--about--in--boats; messing----' " The book was published in 1908.

2.What's your plan for racing?

Our first phase is racing in Wednesday night races, probably Jib and Main, and after the crew is used to the boat, using the spinnaker.

We sail out of CCYC's Montrose Harbor (4400 North) getting together hopefully about 17:30 and leaving about 18:00 or so.

3. What kind of boat is Ratty?

RATTY is a Tartan 10. Basically, the Tartan 10 was the first big "one design" boat, ignoring rating and handicap rules, and intending to compete with similar boats. While there are other boats meeting this description, the Tartan 10 was the first, yet today can also be an economical and easy to handle boat.

4. How are sailboat races run?

For short races, boats race 'around the bouys', typically once or twice. Scoring, though, depends on the group you're sailing with. Typically these are either "rating" or "handicapped" fleets, where times are corrected, depending on how fast a well sailed boat of that type should be, or "one design" fleets, where all the boats are the same type.

In Chicago there is a large one design fleet for Tartan 10s, so the possibility for very competitive racing also exists.

In her first race, Ratty took a first place.

5. What's it like to crew on Ratty?

You have the ability. We've had everyone from experienced sailors, who race their own boats, to one person who had never been on a boat before. On my previous boat, I had to explain that with 1600 lbs of lead under the boat, she might tip, but she wouldn't turn over. Experienced sailors will understand this was a 50% ballast to displacement ratio, which puts the design in the company of some very excellent boats. Ratty is a bit more modern than the other boat, but still boasts a near-50% ratio.

6. What should I wear?

For clothing, dress like you would for an outdoor sports activity, depending on weather. Shorts and a polo or rugby shirt, non-skid shoes are usually good choices in July. Boat shoes or shoes for court sports would probably be better than running shoes or basketball shoes. Sailing or climbing gloves can be nice to have, but are not necessary. I've cut the fingertips off work gloves (you can untie knots) for years. Bicycling gloves give you false sense of security as rope runs through the hands in a different place than the padding. A windbreaker or rain gear can be nice to have. A small kit bag can keep your stuff together down below in the boat. Most of the time will be on deck or in the cockpit. No blazers.

7. Where is your Tartan docked at (where do you sail from)?

Ratty is a Tartan 10 moored at Montrose. She's in the first slip in the harbor. (I don't count the cans and star docks as slips) The dock is lettered "O". There's a lock on the gate, contact me for the combination.

8. What is the parking like at that location?

Parking shouldn't be a problem. There's a large lot east of the hill. If you park on the street and you're there after 11:00 the cops like to ticket, but mosly people are cleared out by then and I don't think they ticket in the lot.

9. How often do you need crew?

We raced and won double handed in our first race, but it could be a chore doing it double handed if there were a good breeze. There's a lot of room on a T-10. Come out whenever you can. If I had regular crew -- say 6 -- I'd like to step up the competition and compete with the other T-10s flying the spinnaker. For July, though, we'll do jib and main in a section where the boats are scored based on ratings.

10. Do you provide any food or drinks or do we bring our own? (I learned early on in my sailing career that these are essential for a happy and successful crew)

I bring beverages on Wednesday nights. The race is only 2 hours long. There's a buffet at the club after. If we went on a distance race, the T-10 is rather spartan, so there wouldn't be gourmet meals, but it hasn't come up yet.

11. What time do you start?

Arrive at the harbor about 5:30. Leave the harbor about 6:00. If I know people are coming, I can wait a bit longer. Start is at 7:00 for jib and main, and I think 7:10 for T-10 one designs. But if we get regular crew and race one design, being there at the last minute isn't a formula for success. We may still have fun, and that's fine, but we won't be at the front of the fleet.

12. What bar do you meet at afterwards?

There's a full bar at the Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club. It's run by club volunteers, so it's modestly priced.

13. What can I do to crew on a competitive boat?

The most valuable thing a crewmember can do is to show up regularly.


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Contents Copr 2005 David C Brezina