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Re: "end to my days as an ILCA-NA member"


In a recent post in the "Laser Class & Politics" board, I noted in passing:
"...A more or less permanent end to my days as an ILCA-NA member is approaching fast. But that's another long story...."

Some concerned friends inquired about the details. In order to prevent wild speculations, let me just note that my planned departure from ILCA-NA is purely due to personal reasons.

I fell in love! At age 51! And she is not even a Laser sailor!

I've been visiting this part of the world quite often over the past few years, and I got hooked. Both by her and by Istanbul! We will live in Istanbul, at least for the foreseeable future.

My ILCA-NA 2004 membership fees are paid up, and I will probably not renew in 2005. I will be racing as a member of ILCA-TURKEY with the letters "TUR" on my sails from now on. None of this will have any impact on the "drLaser" web site.

One reason why this private information is publicly posted here is because I wanted to also share with you some details of Laser sailing in Turkey.

There is no "Laser Class Association" to speak of in Turkey. As in many developing countries, there is a (government funded) "Sailing Federation" that financially supports all the sailing clubs, plus one "ILCA Contact." Maybe I can establish a Laser Class Association here.

Almost all the Lasers are club-owned and made available to amateur sporting members of these clubs. Club membership is free for sailors. A club buys two Lasers from the Federation for the price of one! Even fittings are available at almost half price.

As in all countries, there are rich clubs and poor clubs. One club is like any "Hyatt Hotel", with its marble floors, high-tech conference centers, physical fitness centers, huge storage and maintenance facilities, several coaches, umpteen support boats, etc. Another one right next to it can have much more limited funds, older hulls, older spars and sails, etc. I've seen the bottom end in the US, too, but I have never seen such "opulence" in any sailing club in the USA or in Europe.

Over the past two months, I have been studying these clubs to determine which one I should join, which one I could contribute most to. There are four major sailing clubs and probably a total of eighty Lasers within a mile of my home. I decided to join the "Istanbul Sailing Club", a club established in 1957 and home base of international level Laser competitors like Ali Kemal Tufekci and Kemal Muslubas. I will join the club as their Laser Fleet Captain.

While more than 50 percent of the ILCA-NA membership is composed of Masters and older sailors in North America, here, no one over 25 seems to sail Lasers! It's mostly an economics-based decision. Family life and work does not leave sufficient play time for grown-ups here to seriosly practice Lasering, and the clubs prefer having their Lasers more fully utilized by youngsters.

Another interesting difference (compared to North America) is that there are only few Standard Rig sailors. Turks usually have smaller frames, and the Radial seems to be where they feel more comfortable. In a typical inter-club race in Istanbul, you can find 60+ Radials versus only 5 or so Standards on the starting line.

Kids start with the Optimist, graduate to the 4.7 and then to the Radial. For the grown-ups (the old geezers), there is the "Pirat" and the "Dragon". For serious double-handed racing, the standard is the 470. ("Europe" and "Finn" classes exist, but are not large.)

It looks like I may need to swich down to the Radial, myself. In fact, on my way over here, I bought a new (North) Radial sail in anticipation... Winds are huge here (especially the "Lodosi", as the Greek would call it), and waves get quite large, too. It's nothing like Northeastern US.

In any case, give me a few months to get oriented, and after that, if you ever drop by in Istanbul, let me know. Probably I can arrange for a few hours out on a Laser for you (even if your name is "Tom" and you just don't like me ;).

The climate in Istanbul is similar to that in North Carolina, and they say the sea is "getting cleaner and cleaner every day"!

Two years ago, when I first visited some of these local clubs, they ("Galatasaray Sailing Club" and "Fenerbahce Sailing Club", for the soccer fans among you) were kind enough to immediately provide "drLaser" with a Laser I could use any time I wanted. On my first outing on a steaming hot summer day, I went out in light winds. I ran out of the water in my water bottle, and to cool down, I started dipping my hat into the sea and putting it back onto my head. When I came back ashore and took off my hat, all the kids were laughing! The bald spot at the top of my head was all covered with tiny red pimples!

Today, I do the same thing and nothing happens. I claim that it's my immune system responding to the new environment. They claim that it's the recent massive investments into improving the water quality of Istanbul. Apparently, even lobsters and shrimp and dolphins are coming back, after a twenty year absence from these waters.

Istanbul is one of the most beautiful cities in the World. Definitely rivals Cape Town (South Africa). I can't think of anything that compares to it in North Amarica. Visually, and only visually, maybe SF or Vancouver can come close with their rolling hills, little islands and waterways. It's a totally metropolitan life juxtaposing the ultra modern architecture and filthy rich lifestyles right next to the old and historic quarters occupied by $25/day laborers. The workforce of this huge city with a population of close to 15 million now travels from Asian to European coasts (or vice versa) of the city every day, commuting using two slender suspension bridges over the "Bosphorous Straight".

No subway system yet, and the railways and the commuter ferries are underutilized.

There used to be much industrial activity along both the Bosphorous and the "Golden Horn", a small inlet dividing the European side of the city to its "Old City" and "New City" sections. These establishments are now all closed and the water pollution they were creating has now stopped.

I hope so. I don't want pimples on my bald spot.

Cheers to all,


"Cheat the nursing home; die on your Laser!" (NA)


New Member
grass is always greener..... don't worry they will figure you out soon enough and ship you and mail order bride back to uncle sam."Maybe I can establish a Laser Class Association here." can someone say EGO TRIP? what could you call it hmm? the league of anti NA laser association or the merry bunch of shevy followers? enough of the digs, happy camping :D
Hola from South Texas Shevy,
\ Congradulations on finding the woman of your dreams... They are rare! I wish you the best of luck and look forward to hearing your opinions on Laser Sailing.
\ I'm new to the class and still learing, so I'm not to vocal yet... Nor am I very fast... Heck someone's got to keep the back of the pack honest...
\Good luck and happy Lasering in Turkey,


> can someone say EGO TRIP?

What I meant to say was just that since the Turkish Sailing Federation financially supports all the sailing clubs and individually all the sailors, the Federation (and hence the Turkish Government) also feels that they should have full control of who will represent Laser sailors at all possible levels. In the meantime, the Laserites have no real voice. The impact of this is felt in both how the monies are allocated within the clubs, between clubs and between classes, all the way down to who will go the Worlds or the Olympics or to Hyeres, etc.

I don't know about you, but I think that in principle, more civil involvement, more participation at grassroots level is not something bad.

UK has its Class Association. So does FRANCE, where our friend "Peanuts McMuffin" (who is cowardly enough to not sign his posts here with his real name) seems to be located. So do many other countries. Why shouldn't Turkey have its own ILCA class association beyond merely a government-appointed "ILCA-Contact"? If civil involvement can be improved by establishing an ILCA class organization here, then that would be something good for Lasering in Turkey. It would create a sense of belonging, a semblence to a "family" by fostering the three goals of ILCA, and enhance the enjoyment and development of Lasering.

No, I would not be involved or interested in any official leadership position. Nor was I when I was in the US. Nor will I be if I move to France, for that matter.



PS. Thanks, Michael of South Texas.


New Member

I wish you all the best, and keep the passion in your life and in you sailing!!!...

François Sylvestre


Staff member
Good Luck to you SHEVY! I hope I don't have to wait until I am 51 to fall in love....haha

Keep in touch.


Thanks, guys!

But rest assured that nothing will change. On January 1, 2005, I will just officially be an ILCA-TUR member rather than an ILCA-NA member, since the ILCA Constitution dictates that a member "ipso facto belongs to the District in which he normally sails, even though such place may not be his permanent residence". That's all.

I will still mingle in NA affairs and in World Council affairs; I will still post to this Forum and the List; I will still edit the "drLaser" web site to offer whatever I can to racers and cruisers alike; I will still sponsor as much as I can local class associatations; I will still coach and introduce newbies to this wonderful one-design class; I will still establish new Laser fleets and organize regattas... It's just a location difference, and that's nothing much in today's global village.

Who knows, two years from now, I may be an Association France Laser member, along with Jean-Luc Michon!


Cheat the nursing home; die on your Laser! (NOA)

PS. Brad: I didn't wait until I am 51 to fall in love! But at 51, I fell in love with the girl I took to the prom 33 years earlier! Imagine that!


New Member
"who is cowardly enough to not sign his posts here with his real name" just don't want to be associated with this site


I owe you much thanks for your help Shevy! Im glad your happy and that your no longer getting pimples on your bold spot! To Constantinople!

PS. Brad: I didn't wait until I am 51 to fall in love! But at 51, I fell in love with the girl I took to the prom 33 years earlier! Imagine that!
That is absolutely insane! Makes me start to question my life. Weird. Makes me feel old!


Dear Carlos ;)

I like your gif showing two guys toasting their beers. Believe it or not, the state-manufactured beer here is quite good. Better than the private brands (Efes Pilsen & Tuborg) that ship Europe-wide... (I had seen the Pilsen in Philadelphia and NYC, too.)

But we prefer "Raki" here. It tastes like the Greek "Ouzo" or the French "Pernod" or the Lebanese "Arak". Just a lot smoother than all of the above. It's clear, but turns opaque white when you add water... 90 proof. Strong stuff. But great with dinner. Never have it on an empty stomach.

Anyway, if I can help with anything else, I'll do my best, Carlos. I spent a good part of today doing the soap test on one of the '95 hulls at the club in "Constantinople" to help the Laser coach there. It was supposed to be leaking a lot. It turned out to be the inspection port, plus one of the traveler bridges. Probably that inspection port was not re-siliconed for at least several years... Now, I need to figure out where I can get some West System epoxy in Turkey so that I can continue using materials I am used to for Laser repairs...


PS. Thanks, Brad, for ensuring "Peanuts McMuffin" did not steal my (only) identity.


My inspection port started leaking too. Not cool.

State-manufactured beer? Even Canada doesn't have that!! How does that work? Is the state quite involved in your every day lives through other types of buisness aswell?

I'm sure one day there will be something else you can help me with! You gonna be at CORK this summer?


Congratualtions on your move. I have never met you in person only through drLaser and this forum and hereby THANK YOU for all that you have contributed and hopefully will continue to contribute to making this "solo" sport not feel so lonesome (especially for those of us who manage to work our way to the back of the fleet ending up watcing a horizon filled with transoms). :(

I am sure that you will see the incredible mosaics in the baths and throughout Istanbul. It is reputed to be a most incredible city - the crossroad of the East and the West. It is on my long long list of places to visit in the world and nearing the dignified age of 55, I had better get moving.

SO I will take you up on your open invitation - maybe you can give us advice on lodging tips and find out more about the Seychelles since you'll be nearly 2/3 of the way there from Cape Neddick Maine.

And just think folks ! He hasn't even begun to tell us about the FOOD! :) :)