Reading Herb Mccormick’s comments on “Knapp’s Time” (Off Watch, May 2018) brought back memories of racing with my father on his knarr Cutty Sark. Dad was one of the finest light-air sailors on Lake Pontchartrain and won the fleet trophy two years racing in the eight-boat fleet. He completely rebuilt his first knarr and won six out of seven races. The joke at the Southern Yacht Club bar was that it was the boat, not the skipper. So he sold the boat, bought another knarr, rebuilt it and won seven out of seven races the second year. To me as a 10-year-old son, it was hard to believe what he went through to change the conversation at the bar after the race.
Dad worked us hard on Cutty Sark. I rarely got sunburned racing, because I spent most of my time down below bailing. The knarr was a very fast boat, similar to a dragon, but they leaked like the levees in New Orleans. Dad often said that anyone could sail in heavy air; the top sailors were the ones who could sail in light air. The only time we got a break was when there was absolutely no wind. You knew when it was break time because Dad would light up a cigarette. As long as the smoke rose straight up, you were free to do as you chose, but as soon as it flickered in any direction, you had work to do, because there was wind on the race course.