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Bytes For Youth?? Again?? Real?


Super Opinionated and Always Correct
We printed this article in a Laser sailor a few years ago and it seems it is time to remind people aboput the boat that is just the right size for juniors versus radials and 4.7 rigs.

Save Our Youth Sailors
Here at the Laser class office we are concerned about our youth sailors. Their highly impressionable young minds are like blank slates waiting for our chalk marks. We must be positive in our influence. We must consider our mission. In the interest of those youth, we offer the following case histories. The names have been changed to protect the guilty.
Little Johnny and Little Bobby had parents who wanted to expose their kids to sailing. Little Johnny's parents bought a boat that looked a lot like a Laser and was "just his size." Little Bobby's parents bought a Radial. Little Johnny got to sail in a couple regattas where other kids had "just the right size" boats, but mostly the fleets were not very big and when his parents took him around North America he found many places with no fleet at all.

Little Bobby found Radials everywhere. He not only had the opportunity to sail with other kids but he found out that he could sometimes race with grandfathers and great grandmothers who had migrated back to Radials as they became to fragile to sail Lasers. These old sailors taught Bobby lots of great stuff about tactics, weather conditions, boat handling, and some of the old geezers actually turned out to be pretty cool. Bobby discovered that sailing was something he could do until he was at least 80 years old and after that...who knows?
During the winter when Johnny and Bobby turned 14 they each grew about six inches in height and put on about 50 pounds. They outgrew all their clothes and when summer arrived, they discovered that they had also outgrown their sailboats. One of the old men who Bobby had befriended while sailing his Radial had a spare Laser rig and a pretty good sail and made a deal with Bobby. If Bobby would mow the lawn once a week at the old fellow's summer cottage, Bobby could keep the Laser rig and the geezer would throw in a new sail for CORK. Bobby kept the lawn mowed all summer, learned about responsibility and had a great time at CORK sailing with his new Laser sail.
Meanwhile Johnny discovered that he needed to buy an entire new boat to replace his "just the right size" kiddie toy. He didn't know anybody who wanted to buy his old boat and to make matters worse, all the friends he had made while sailing his "just the right size" boat had also outgrown their boats. Johnny's parents were broke from buying all those new clothes, and they were putting what spare money they did have into Johnny's college fund. The now "a little too big for the boat" kids started losing races to younger smaller kids. They found this intolerable and became frustrated with the entire sport of sailing. Their self-esteem was ruined and they started hanging out in pool halls, alleys and abandoned buildings. Johnny was eventually caught in that grotesque chain of events that was later shown all over the world as “Cops: The Movie.” Johnny's parents spent the college fund and also ended up selling the house, the farm, their cars and worst of all their Jean Belliveau, Maurice Richard, and Wayne Gretsky rookie cards.

In the following years while Johnny was making license plates and serving as a special friend for his fellow inmates, Bobby was nearing graduation at Esteemed University and doing an internship in the office of another sailor who owned a Fortune 100 company. When Bobby was nominated as a Rhodes scholar, the company bought a house near the English school and supplied the sailing team with a new fleet of Lasers every year.

Johnny escaped from prison and headed to Texas where he was caught stealing beer during a Laser regatta, given the death penalty and refused clemency by the Bush Twins who were then serving as the Attorney General and Governor of Texas. Bobby made it back to North America just in time to fly to Texas with Johnny’s mother (Johnny’s father had committed suicide after Johnny’s fourth drug conviction) to witness Johnny’s execution. The execution was unique in Texas history as there were no protestors surrounding the gates and was performed by the winning contestant from Regis Philbin’s TV game show titled “Who Wants to Kill Off Johnny on Air.”

The implications of this little case history are serious. Is every owner of “just the right size" boat destined to a life of crime and eventual damnation? Is the ownership of a Radial the only chance at a decent life for the typical youth sailor in today's world? These are tough questions. The decision is yours. The kids are yours. The responsibility is yours. Please make the right choice for your kids. If you have extra time and compassion, please help other parents avoid the pitfalls of products that look like the real thing but just are not quite as good.