Forums Latest Members

Omega Stories: Why Most Sailing & Regatta Watches Are Pointless

  1. dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Nov 29, 2022

    Posts
    27,756
    Likes
    33,521
    [​IMG]

    Everyone loves tool watches, especially men that sit behind a desk. They give the opportunity to express ourselves on our wrist and show some personality while wearing a suit. Yet some tool watches are more theatre than practicality, with Regatta watches among the worst offenders.

    I never got to sail at the professional level, although it was something I very much dreamed of doing as a young man. I watched 18-foot skiffs, America's cup, The Ocean Race, the Sydney to Hobart, but my passion was team racing which was very popular among high school age students. [..]

    Visit Why Most Sailing & Regatta Watches Are Pointless to read the full article.
     
  2. RevZMan123 Nov 29, 2022

    Posts
    1,938
    Likes
    3,994
    Cool article and I learned some as usual. I don't want to buy anything thankfully. However it looks like there was an autocorrect faux pax and "polarized" got changed to "polaroid" in at least 2 places I noticed.
     
  3. High Hope Nov 29, 2022

    Posts
    572
    Likes
    2,116
    As a former sailor and total beginner “racer” I’ll add to the discussion. I enjoy high quality chronographs and have worn one since my dad gifted me a chronograph on my 16th birthday (and that was 45 years ago, +/- ;)) The cheapie plastic digitalis aren’t for me and I’ve never considered one. The mechanical yachting timers can be beautiful watches, just with another complication, which is very appealing. That they generally are colorful is an added bonus, as I want the watch to be attractive and indicative of its intended purpose.

    I’ve got an Autavia Jochen Rindt on right now. It looks purposeful, like an F1 car is purposeful. Will I ever be timing myself at a Grand Prix? No. We all know the story of the Speedmaster Moon. History is a large part of the watches appeal, and I enjoy the connection. Will I walk on the moon? No, but that doesn’t diminish my enjoyment of owning a “Moon Watch.”

    ETA: I guess I’m not alone: https://omegaforums.net/threads/speedmaster….153046/
     
    Edited Nov 29, 2022
    SmithSJ and MRC like this.
  4. 140dave Nov 29, 2022

    Posts
    1,721
    Likes
    8,722
    Good article!
    I do a bit of racing, mostly beer-can regatta style but also some of out local Class races (Moore 24 & Express 27).
    I never wear a watch, I am a smashy smashy sailor .... I slide and crash my way across decks, under sails and break stuff often. I want to wear a watch but we use a digital kitchen timer that beeps on the minute during a 5min countdown.

    ....But I may have to try a Citizen....
    14958710-B2DC-43B4-91FB-5AB3803D07F9.jpeg
     
  5. dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Nov 29, 2022

    Posts
    27,756
    Likes
    33,521
    This type of thing I’ve seen before on an Etchells class which is close to an Express 27, sort of strapped to the mast up front. It works pretty well on keelboats where you have at least one crew sort of in the boat at all times able to press the button if needed. Small dinghies you’re often hiking out with your arse well over the side unless it’s really calm though so a watch is a bit easier than reaching for a fixed clock in the boat.

    The Citizens are definitely good, it’s weird that Casio never really got the G-Shock line to work for these purposes well and Seiko was just never really a player.
     
  6. dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Nov 29, 2022

    Posts
    27,756
    Likes
    33,521
    One of the stories from the water I’ll mention:

    In my first year at that school program I was crewing for seniors, and one of our seniors was very talented, he would go on to run a business coaching wealthy old blokes in New England how to sail their boats and competing in big races.

    In this one race I was crewing in another boat coming 4th, boats 3-6 were all upwind and very behind scrapping away at eachother while this bloke “John”, and another boat are fighting for first heading downwind to the bottom mark. The umpires are focused on us and largely ignoring boats 1 & 2 and they’re hurling abuse at eachother while about 2 feet apart heading downwind, lots of middle fingers and language happening.

    Just as they’re getting close to the mark, John had reached his limit with the other skipper, turns into him to get closer then gybes on top of him, cracking him in the back of the head with the boom of his boat as it reaches full speed. The other skipper got knocked out cold, his boat starts spinning his crew wasn’t able to save it and they capsized. We got the win as a result of that, not the most honest race win, not the least honest either.

    The kid that got knocked was fine after the support boat fished him out, nothing happened to John, the other guy should have known better moving that close. That was a really good example of why you wear your PFD at all times on the water though, doesn’t matter how well you can swim if you’re asleep.
     
  7. lindo Nov 29, 2022

    Posts
    781
    Likes
    3,603
    Thanks for a great read, Ash. Not being a sailor, learning about what is required of a genuine tool watch for racing was fascinating.
     
    dsio likes this.
  8. 140dave Nov 29, 2022

    Posts
    1,721
    Likes
    8,722
    Ours is on a clip so accessible single handed also. Though far from ideal its just sort of tradition at this point, no AC points a stake, just YC bragging rights lol

    I did the TransPac race one year with my father in law (different boat) but those stories stay on the boat. I can say we had a tight weight/storage limit for food and beverage and while we did run out of food with a day to go we did have enough beer to get us to port. I found out all about Liquid Bread in the literal sense that trip.

    And yes, safety gear is a must racing or not. S*** happens and more often than not it will save your life. I am here in cold water territory so even more important. Doesnt matter how good of a swimmer you are if you are asleep like Ash says, or if your muscles just wont do what you want them to because you're so cold so quick and weighted down with clothes. A quality PFD and a life-sling on the boat will save the day most times.

    Okay, bringing it back to watches... If I am just up front shifting weight on a friendly sail I will occasionally wear my battle scarred 2254 (but will look at a citizen I can bash about)
    4A0A4821-61DE-44DF-A5E6-AC6CD1A8A6CF.jpeg
     
    Edited Nov 29, 2022
    Yellowjacket, hen and dsio like this.
  9. High Hope Nov 29, 2022

    Posts
    572
    Likes
    2,116
    @dsio,

    We were tin can racing, one class (wood) in protected Mt. Hope Bay, RI. Wednesday nights. For fun (I’d never single handed) my friend Joe and I would sail whenever we spotted one or the other out sailing evenings, Sat Sun etc. We were learning. We’d approach each other nose to nose, and chuck beers over to one another. It seems that I had the six pack, most of the time (?).

    One day we were side by side, Joe gets closer and closer, until our toe rails are touching. Joe said, let’s switch boats underway, which we successfully did, then continued “racing”. What fun! The best memories were sailing aboard my boat, High Hope.
     
    Edited Nov 29, 2022
    Yellowjacket, dsio and Aroxx like this.
  10. Aroxx Sets his watch Nov 29, 2022

    Posts
    2,714
    Likes
    11,732
    My cousin Joe from Barrington was a sailor and raced. As was just about everyone from that side of my family. I lived in Bristol for 4 years while attending RWU. Had a friend on the sailing team and they were (obviously) always out on the bay. I never did get into sailing. Had some bad experiences when I was young with crazy sailing uncles and put me off sailboats forever. I prefer being on solid ground. :D
     
    dsio and High Hope like this.
  11. MRC Nov 29, 2022

    Posts
    3,324
    Likes
    8,345
    I have raced at anchor.

    Off the east coast of England where the water shallows around the sand banks the tidal currents get up to quite a few knots and when the wind is light you can't make any headway. So the race anchors and waits. And waits. Well there are are a few beer cans thrown over the side to test the current although on our boat we had a firm rule: no drinking until we are securely tied up and all done for the day. Now, which boat is going to be first to try to make some progress?
     
    High Hope likes this.
  12. Larry S Color Commentator for the Hyperbole. Nov 30, 2022

    Posts
    12,731
    Likes
    50,291
    Good points in this article but we know that no one in their right mind wears an 18K watch in this kind of sailing. These days I decline to participate in club races because I don’t want to lose weeks of our precious summer repairing a damaged hull.
     
    Edited Nov 30, 2022
    High Hope likes this.
  13. dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Nov 30, 2022

    Posts
    27,756
    Likes
    33,521
    Yea I would be very hesitant to race a boat I owned at all, every boat I’ve ever sailed or crashed has been someone else’s and every professional I’ve known doesn’t own their own boat for that reason.

    We were really lucky as the school had a patron of the sailing program who owned a shipyard and had purchased molds for the boats we raced. All of the other schools had 7-13 boats and had to rotate crews on alternating training weekends but thanks to him we had about 40 so all of our sailors could train every weekend. When we damaged a hull, the old man would have it repaired and sell it off to another school then pop us a new hill to replace it since they were never quite the same afterwards. We really were super lucky to have him and his wife supporting the team for all of those years, sadly they both passed away recently.
     
  14. Mpnunes Jan 7, 2023

    Posts
    1,161
    Likes
    15,596
    Great article and agree with most of it …except to say that I still use my mechanical watch (my trusty Seiko diver) to time the minute between the warning gun and the start of the sequence. It’s not precise but it helps me estimate when I need to be ready to hit the digital countdown timer. Back when my Dad was racing Flying Dutchman’s in the 60s and 70s, mechanical was all he had. He used his Omega Cosmic to time the start of each race. As a kid growing up sailing in the 80s I used to admire his watch but never understood the use as a sailing timer..my $50 G shock just seemed so much more practical. Anyway, fast forward 30 years and i recently refurbished my Dads Omega after he gifted it to me. Including some before and after pics of the watch below, and also a great shot of my Dad on his FD (probably 1970 or so)
     
    F87D315B-667F-4F94-93F6-B23DA3D8A01B.jpeg 48CC5BC2-6440-4419-8D9F-364A36D11C2D.jpeg 77C1AF38-82D7-4620-B4F8-306E1EC69AAD.jpeg
    Yellowjacket, ken_hodson and peatnick like this.
  15. tikkathree Apr 16, 2023

    Posts
    1,345
    Likes
    6,040
    I agree with the others^^ your assessment is 100% sound.
    My yotting days are part of my happy past even though now I can indulge myself with watches which is how I come to be here.

    Back in the day, solo racing a catamaran with main, job and trapeze the only time ever I needed a watch was in the pre-start and countdown.

    Mostly where clubs had different starts for different classes of boat, they operated a 3-minute start cycle rather than the five minute cycle which is designed into many "regatta watches". The environment was wet - wetsuit wet but with surprisingly little smacking the watch into parts of the boat.

    So there'd maybe be a class flag hoisted on the committee boat with some kind of hooter which gave you the start of a three minute countdown during which you'd be positioning your boat back from the start line having decided whereabouts on the line you wanted to be, Your aim was then be hitting the start line at full speed three minutes later. Your head was not in the boat, your eyes were not straining to check the position of the hands of a spray soaked watch: your eyes were dealing with spatial and positional awareness - distance to the line, boats around you trying to push you down the line, push you up or push you over. An auduble alarm at say 2 minutes, then 2 minutes 30 secs and an audible countdown of the last maybe 15 seconds was what you needed.

    Did I have anything analogue or digital back then which would give me a tone? Nope, I don't think that I ever did. I do now though.
     
  16. redzer007 Apr 16, 2023

    Posts
    626
    Likes
    2,374
    I go with a Suunto Yachtsman. Its not small, but makes it legible at a glance. One of my first obessions with watch collecting was the various citizen stars&stipes navisails and sailhawks. Still have a bunch of them sitting around. If i had my time again id rather have spent the money on speedies in 90s than a collection of middle of the road quartz yacht timers. Did buy an SMP around the same time, and still wear that frequently.
     
  17. Viso Aug 12, 2023

    Posts
    3
    Likes
    15
    Screenshot_20230813-000329_Gallery.jpg Omega did make a very very short run of a regatta timer back in the day (around 20 - 50 pieces total). They're not the most practical tool watch but they're definitely the best looking
     
    Difeer, SmithSJ and tikkathree like this.
  18. dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Aug 12, 2023

    Posts
    27,756
    Likes
    33,521
    These ones will be written about eventually it’s just a complicated topic as there’s some conflicting info