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Coincidences around “87”

(brief real life account, in five chapters)

Chapter 1

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).

Chapter 2

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.

Chapter 3

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.

Chapter 4

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?”

Chapter 5

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!

Ovidiu Adam
FD USA 8

My FD saved my life

This is a true story of a friend who was on his way to a regatta in Austria.   He was driving along on the Autobahn in his compact commuter and a trailer with his FD.  As he was cruising along in the middle lane, suddenly his car stopped; it happened so quickly that he didn’t have time to maneuver his vehicle to the emergency lane.  The next car behind him could not stop in time and crashed into the FD.  Here is the outcome:

You could say my friend’s FD sacrificed her life to save the life of her skipper…

It appears there was some kind of defect in the car’s transmission.  The insurance will replace the broken FD with a good FD of similar age. My friend, who is turning 80 this year, is determined to continue sailing FD.

That’s determination!

Scientific explanation of the accident

You need to know that my friend Heinz is an engineer. He provided the following scientific facts of this accident:

“When my car stopped in the second lane of the Autobahn, the next driver behind me was able to evade, but the one behind him had too little reaction and hit the FD on my trailer.

It is true that the rear of the FD has absorbed a lot of mechanical energy in the form of deformation and breakage. But on the other hand, as the trailer’s drawbar buckled and jumped out of the ball head, the trailer moved relative to the car and penetrated dangerously into the trunk, so that the remaining part of the kinetic energy was converted into deformation.

Assuming an inelastic collision with 50% energy loss of the kinetic energy, the car/boat combination would have been pushed forwards with half the collision speed if the mass was the same as the colliding vehicle. Assuming a typical driving speed of 100 km/h, the FD would have moved forward at 33 km/h. You can see from the photos of the police report that my car and trailer has covered a distance of at least 15m after the impact.”

Two lanes of the Autobahn were blocked for two hours. Heinz received a satisfactory settlement from the insurance company and he is going to get a newer FD so he can race again next season. Oh, did I mention, Heinz turned 80 this year?

Flying Dutchman Bulletin 170

FD_170_2019

Flying Dutchman Bulletin Number 170 is now available on the international website. An archive of Flying Dutchman Bulletins is available here: FD Bulletin.  An archive of Flying Dutchman Trapeze Newsletters is available here: FD Trapeze.  Our archives are slightly incomplete.   If you have old Bulletins or Trapezes that would complete our archives, please contact: Webmaster.