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A long time ago the young sailors of our club, while still learning the ropes in Optimists, got fed up with the “advice” they got from their parents ashore. To get back at them a regatta was held where the parents had to race in their children’s Optimists while the children were encouraged to shout “good advice” to their parents. The race was baptised “the old sacks” race. This best translates in to “Old fart”race. Today the “Old Sack” regatta still exists under the same name and the prizes are small sand filled sacks on a pedestal. The gold sack being the most desirable trophy to win in our club. (Makes you wander what a gold fart would look like…)

The regatta is still managed by the young (under 30) members and to participate you have to be over 30. The regatta consist of a few unusual races, let me give you some examples.

    The Old farts do not get any information up front and are placed behind the main entrance gate and given an ice cream. Then they are told that there is a “le Mans” start when the gates open AND when the ice cream is finished. As soon as the committee was done explaining, the gate opened and anyone with an unfinished ice cream was ordered to finish it first. Obviously the boats were moored at the pontoon with the sails down.

    There is always a race where we have to sail at least one leg backwards and finish with the rudder first.

    A boards up and/or a Genoa only race.

    A row or paddle leg.

    Once we had to sail an Olympic course that was laid between two of the harbour’s jetties. The longest leg was 50 yards or there about. You can only imagine the starboard/port and luff lee issues we had.

I am sure you can come up with other fun ways to ensure that a winner is determined pure luck. The “Old Fart” regatta is one of the highlights of the year and good for a lot of laughs. It brings out most of the club’s members, not in the least the cruisers. And what chance for the children to mess about with their parents! Obviously such a day isn’t complete without a BBQ or a mussels and chips meal, tons of ice cream, sweets for the children and what not.