50/50 Round the Island Race

 

Randy Smyth

Here comes Randy Smyth, first to finish the 50/50 Round the Island Race Sunday, September 17th, on his custom-built Scissor boat which he is steering with his toes. Due to the preceding hurricane disasters, we did not have as large a turnout of Corsairs as last year, but the two Corsair F-31's that participated skippered by Brian Golumbeck and Mike Patterson respectively had fun. 

A little background on this race.

It starts at the Fort Walton Yacht Club in Fort Walton Beach, heads across Choctawhatchee Bay towards Destin, out the Destin Pass (official name is East Pass), heads west in the Gulf of Mexico about 45 miles to Pensacola Pass, past Fort Pickens, and then heads east back to the Fort Walton Yacht Club via the Intracoastal Waterway aka Santa Rosa Sound.

It's called 50/50 Round the Island because since 2016 we have split it 50:50 into two days, with an overnight campout and party at Fort Pickens, whereas traditionally we have done the full 100 miles it non stop. Which was fine fir the fastest boats which could finish as early as 3.30 pm, but the slowest boats would often be left drifting in light wind all night and finish late morning the next day. Declining attendance promoted the revised format.

This race has been around for a long time. It was a very popular race for beach cats, then opened to all multihulls. The first time Don Wigston participated was in about 1995 on an F-27. There were over 100 beach cats racing, plus about 9 or 10 trimarans--Corsairs and other F-boats.

Watch for the 2018 schedule!

Randy Smyth

Randy Smyth, the head coach of Windcraft Trimaran Sailing Clinics, has been inducted into the Sailing Hall of Fame and we congratulate Randy for all his sailing accomplishments. 

Class of 2017: Randy Smyth

The U.S. National Sailing Hall of Fame selected eight people in 2017 to join the 57 previously-recognized individuals who have been enshrined since the first class in 2011.

Among this group to be officially inducted on September 24 is two-time Tornado Olympic Silver Medalist Randy Smyth (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.), whose expertise as a catamaran sailor led to, among other things, work on major motion pictures. This tribute is provided by 2011 inductee Gary Jobson:

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Published on September 18th, 2017 - Scuttlebutt Sailing News

How many Americans can say they have been on a winning America’s Cup crew and have won an Olympic medal in sailing? Randy Smyth is a member of that elite club (for the record there are nine).

Soon after Dennis Conner on Stars & Stripes defeated the Australians to take the America’s Cup to his home, San Diego Yacht Club in 1987, he received an unexpected challenge from New Zealand’s Cup challenge in 1988. Conner defended the Cup with a catamaran and got a huge assist from his wing trimmer, catamaran ace and Olympic silver medalist Randy Smyth. And, for good measure, Smyth won a second silver in 1992 in Barcelona.

His multihull prowess started at a young age. Along with his 9-year-old brother, David, Randy won his first catamaran race at the age of 11. The brothers raced an Aqua Cat 25 miles from Long Beach, California out to Catalina Island. Like most Southern Californian sailors, young Randy had a singlehanded Sabot, but the Aqua Cat was faster, and he says, “I could take friends along.”

Later in 1968 he crewed for Rick Taylor in Germany in the first Tornado World Championship. In 1981 and again in 1982, Smyth and his crew Jay Glaser won back to back Worlds.

Smyth’s list of achievements includes both inshore racing and long-distance contests. In the 1980s a grueling 1000-mile multihull race was sailed between Daytona Beach, Florida and Virginia Beach, Virginia. Smyth won the contest in a record 75 hours. No one ever sailed the course faster. His resume includes 55 national, continental and world championship victories in a variety of multihulls. Today he is a highly regarded coach and advisor.

Randy Smyth has also had fun with the media. He consulted on two Hollywood films and sailed different catamarans for Kevin Costner in Waterworld, and Pierce Brosnan in The Thomas Crown Affair. In 2010 he commentated on the America’s Cup for ESPN, and in 2016 covered the Rio Olympic Games for NBC.

As an aside, the other eight Americans with both Olympic medals and America’s Cup victories on the resume include George O’Day, Eric Ridder, Dennis Conner, Conn Findlay, John Marshall, Carl Buchan, Buddy Melges, and John Kostecki.

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