(brief real life account, in five chapters)
By the end of the last century, I was happily sailing the Flying Dutchman on the Black Sea with a good friend of mine, Razvan Muresan. The above picture is the best the technology of the day could capture in Eastern Europe. While the picture is not bad, we did enjoy more spectacular sailing moments left unrecorded, unfortunately.
In ’87 we won the Nationals for the first time. My friend gifted me a personalized picture from the awards ceremony, which reads in his own hand writing: “The Republican Yachting Championship. FD class – 1st place: Ovidiu Adam and Razvan Muresan. September the 10th 1987 Constanta” (As a side note, the city of Constanta has also hosted the FD Worlds in 2010).
10 years later, I have moved to the United States, bought a computer, and opened an email account. I reconnected with my friend via email, and we resumed our lifelong friendship. In the 2000s he sent me a message, like (paraphrasing): “Hi Ovidiu – long time no see. Since your departure a great thing was invented, it is called the Internet, and it is loaded with cool pics. Check out the attached one, randomly picked, to remind you of how we used to sail together on the Black Sea.” At the time none of us noticed the coincidence between the sail number, and the year of our success. My friend was unfortunately lost to cancer in 2013, and I never had the chance to expand the topic with him.
In 2020 my brother Razvan (same first name as my friend), found a boat for sale and we decided to buy it.
Well… you guessed it. It was indeed the USA 87, whose picture I had received 15 years earlier. (In full disclosure, the picture shows the previous boat Jim Algert has sailed, and not the actual hull we have bought). In the process, we had the privilege of meeting the seller, Jim Algert, great sailor on the West coast.
We have learned that Jim has had some great sailing adventures both in San Francisco Bay, the Berkeley Circle, and Brazil. He fondly remembers sailing under the Golden Gate at night with his crew standing on the foredeck as the boat planed. While in Brazil, a tank on his Plastrend filled with water. They were very slow on one tack, but on the tack that counted, they sped by everyone while planning. They would sail up to the boat house in Brazil where someone would greet them and take the boat inside with the sails up. Jim likes to sail with a very little rudder. As he reminds everyone, you should be able to sail the FD with no rudder on the boat.
Buying the boat was more than a simple transaction: it was also about sharing memories, adventures, remembering old friends, and making new ones.
After buying the boat, I called my friend’s wife (Hey Gabi, if you read this, it was nice talking to you last year!) to share with her the whole story, and point out the clairvoyance her husband had. She knew about our reconnect on the Internet and the emails exchanged, but she no longer remembered the attachments to those emails. There seems to be enough coincidence here to surprise anyone, so I went into details, and explained again. She was getting it little by little and in the end she asked the $1M question: “Yes, but how did Razvan know 15 years ahead of time, what boat will you be buying?”
Since Jim Algert chose to retain the USA 87 number, you will now see my brother and I sailing the #8 instead (, as depicted by “The Three Amigos” post, for example). Long live USA 8!
FD USA 8