Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Six degrees of sailing

I was at a meeting this afternoon, and after we had finished the discussion about business plans, NDAs, and other MBA worthy topics, I finally got round to asking this business development manager the key question - "so what was the World Laser Masters like?"

It is, as many have said before, a very small world. In the world of showbiz there is a game that everyone who is anyone is no more than six steps away from Kevin Bacon. However even he is not the most connected point, which is currently Dennis Hopper.

And so with sailing there is no doubt a 6 degrees game you could play with everyone from Russell Coutts to Ben Ainslie, or indeed sailing bloggers.

So who would be Kevin Bacon and who Dennis Hopper? Would (say - and feel to disagree) O Docker be Bacon and Tillerman be Hopper?

But then who would be Bonnie, Adam, Greg and Chris, Pat and Carol Anne and all the others? And OMG who would I be?

And, in case you were wondering, this particular Bus Dev Manager sailed in Australia in 2008 and Nova Scotia this year, is currently preparing for Hayling Island, and, yes, he did remember someone called Tillerman.

It is a small world indeed.


Tillerman said...

Great subject. I've often thought about this myself. I suspect it is fairly easy to connect everyone in the sailing world...

Almost every sailing club has someone who travels to major regattas. At those regattas he or she will eventually run in to the national/world champions in that class. In addition, anyone really into the sport eventually goes to a lecture or a clinic run by one of the big names like a Gary Jobson or a Dave Perry.

The Perrys, Jobsons and champions are the Kevin Bacons of our world. I wouldn't be at all surprised if everyone in sailing is connected by no more than 3 or 4 degrees of separation.

So JP, I wonder who our mystery "one degree" connection is? Please email me at and put me out of my misery.

Carol Anne said...

Well, I'm one degree away from Dennis Connor, as shown in this photo, in which Zorro has the lead over him.

Zorro also picks up used sails both from Dennis (my best mainsail originally came from him) and from Vince Brun.

I also know someone else (not Zorro) who fouled Ken Read at the start of a race in a port/starboard situation.

Carol Anne said...

Come to think of it ... the boat that's in the lead in that photo is the same boat that's trailing mine in the photo that shows up next to my comments in Blogger. So I beat the boat that beat DC. Hah!

JP said...

See your inbox, Tillerman, for solution to this sailing mystery

Carol Anne: that is one cool photo!

Alas no such photo for me to post (yet)

Carol Anne said...

Then there was the dialogue in the San Diego Yacht Club that night, as reported by Zorro, and corroborated by other RGSC members who were there:

Zorro: "Hey, Dennis, you ever seen an Etchells this old before?"
DC: "Uh, yeah."
Zorro: "From the REAR?"

JP said...

LOL - that is priceless!

How did he respond?

Pat said...

I guess the used sails add all sorts of connections.

Besides our connections though "Zorro", one of our other area sailors who occasionally sails with us competes in some of the national and international J/80 regattas, so that probably adds more connections.

And up in Colorado we raced against a guy who, in other classes, had won some national titles, so yet more, and I've run races for guys who have won national titles in their classes.

JP said...

You're right in that there are a number of possible links to count as a connection.

For an offshore yacht sailor it would make sense to say "have sailed on the same boat as" as the connection, but guess for a Laser that would be slightly limiting and "have raced against" would be better.

tillerman said...

Does "won the same trophy" count as a connection?

I once raced in a Laser Masters regatta against Gary Jobson who won the America's Cup in 1977 as tactician for Ted Turner. So that puts me two degrees of separation (Gary and the Cup) away from William K. Vanderbilt, J. Pierpoint Morgan, Harold S. Vanderbilt, Dennis Conner, Alan Bond and Russell Coutts, to mention only a few. (Actually I'm only one degree away from Russell as I've met his brother.)

Oh, and I suppose I'm only one or two degrees from Jane Fonda too. Woo hoo.

Small world indeed.

JP said...

That's a pretty good connection to the American Cup greats.

Certainly it should be ok to claim "beating XYZ in a race" as a valid connection - as in Carol Anne and Pat's photos.

Tillerman said...

In the case of Gary Jobson, I don't think I can claim "beating him in race", but I can claim "accidentally tacked on his air and received a dirty look from". Does that count?

JP said...

Sorry, no.

On the plus side Gary Jobson can claim he has a connection to you, which is better than nothing!

Pat said...

Other possible oddball connections:
trading e-mails with Bill Gladstone (North U),
Carol Anne lending her cell phone to "Zorro" so he could talk to Vinny in San Diego,
getting a tour from some of the support staff at an AC compound.

Carol Anne said...

Actually, I talked to Vinny (Brun) myself, come to think of it. Zorro had called Vinny using my phone after the mast broke but ended up getting his voice mail. When Vinny called back, I was the one who answered the phone -- it was my phone, after all.

JP said...