written (this time) by Paul Kamen, Fleet Measurer
Yes, there will be a 1991 season! Most of you are
probably aware that we no longer qualify as a one-
design class in the ODCA division of YRA.  Last season,
despite eight boats entered, we failed to field five
boats on the line for more than half of the scheduled
races.  Under YRA by-laws we could have opted for
another year under "provisional" status, but this
seemed to be inconsistent with the direction the class
is going.  So as a one-design, we're out of YRA.
This doesn't mean we're not still a class, though. What
we're planning is a non-YRA season, consisting of one
event a month from May through September.  We'll still
have some tight one-design racing, a class champ, and a
page in the PICYA yearbook. The lighter schedule should
be much more in keeping with a lighter level of
commitment to racing in our fleet. The kinds of events
will also be more in keeping with the race formats that
we think are more fun. More on this later.
One of the more positive developments in the last year
is the concentration of Merit 25's in the Berkeley
Marina.  Chesapeake, Rajin' Cajun, and Twilight Zone
have been among the most active racers over the last
few years. Add two new Berkeley boats, Steve Wright's
Fudge Factor (ex Equity) and Patrick Twohy's Paddy
Murphy (name unchanged). (Steve and Patrick had both
been crewing for me on Twilight Zone. People will do
almost anything to avoid crewing for me for another
season.) Garret Smith's Dos Equis, another Berkeley
boat, is an occasional racer, and Postmark is a
frequent daysailer that we think we can talk into
racing once in a while.  This makes seven active boats
in the Berkeley Marina.
New class rules: Once again I've overhauled the class
rules, making them better organized and more in line
with what the racers seem to want to do with their
boats.  The major substantive change is battens: no
restrictions at all on number or length of battens in
all sails except the spinnaker. Long battens have
proved to be so valuable for keeping old mainsails
competitive through a much longer racing life, we think
the same benefits will apply to jibs. Battens are also
easy to retrofit, so you don't need new sails to take
advantage of longer battens. I've even experimented
with battens in an old dacron 150, with excellent
results. This sail now has one full batten near the
head, and one partial batten a few feet above the
spreaders. The effect was to flatten out the badly
hooked leach and move the draft back to the front of
the sail where it belongs, making an old "garbage bag"
a competitive sail again, at least for Friday nights
and winter racing. New class rules also allow a more
generous mid-girth, and for the first time specify a
maximum quarter-girth for the mainsail. This will allow
your sailmaker to take advantage of the longer battens
when designing the main. (Note that since both
Chesapeake and Twilight Zone have relatively new
mainsails built to the old girth limit, it seemed like
a good time to make a speed-enhancing change. Newer
sails will have a slight edge. But we're not afraid!)
The new rules are, of course, provisional until we can
have a meeting and actually vote them in. They were,
however, developed in close consultation with most of
the active racers in Berkeley, and I don't expect any
significant changes.
Here's my proposal for the 1991 season:
     MAY 4&5: Vallejo Race.
     This is traditionally one of the most looked-
     forward-to events of the year. Certainly the best
     party. Individual entries cost $50, or enter YRA
     HDA for the season.
     JUNE 22: Berkeley Long Course.
     This is actually an ODCA event, but it's run by
     BYC and because of all the Merit 25 owners active
     in this club we can reasonably expect to be given
     a start and finish if we ask for it. Start is on
     the Olympic Circle, probably goes to Harding or
     Yellow Bluff and back.
     JULY 20: Silver Eagle.
     This is the 75 mile bay race that starts on the
     Cityfront, goes almost to the San Mateo bridge,
     then to the Carquinez bridge, then back to the
     city. A real marathon, but I like it, and last
     year I noticed a couple of the Merits from the
     Estuary out there. There are other events we could
     choose instead for our July race (Singlehanded
     Sailing Society South Bay Fun Race, Encinal Yacht
     Club "Gracie and George" mixed doublehanded, or
     St. Francis IMS Invitational, if they let us in.
     We need feedback on the preferred choice here.
     AUGUST 3: Second Season Opener.
     This was a big success last year, and may
     eventually rival Vallejo in the party department.
     Start near Treasure Island, round the buoy off Pt.
     Bonita, finish in front of Encinal Yacht Club.
     It's the best windward-leeward course on the bay.
     Like Vallejo, it's a YRA event with $50 individual
     entry fee if you're not in already entered in HDA.
     SEPTEMBER 21: Berkeley One-design.
     Another ODCA race run by BYC, onto which we could
     piggy-back. Conventional Berkeley courses.
And that's the season. Five events, six races (Vallejo
is two) and one throw-out for scoring. This schedule
obviously reflects my own preference for long point-to-
point courses rather than round-the-buoys courses. I
think this preference is shared by most of our fleet,
but if it's not, make your feelings known.
Because we're a small fleet, it's important to keep the
number of events in our schedule very low so we get the
maximum participation on each date. One event a month
seems about right to avoid mid-season burn-out and keep
the number of boats on the starting line high enough
for some good racing at all levels.
Meeting! We need to have a meeting for fairly obvious
reasons: finalize the schedule, the class rules,
collect class association dues (remember dues?) and
possibly even elect new officers (wishful thinking).
Let's say Friday March 22 at BYC, upstairs committee
room. Call me at (415) 540-7968 if you can't make it.
Meanwhile, if you are going to enter YRA, I suggest
entering under HDA for $130. The entry form is included
with this mailing. True, this is $30 more than if you
enter Vallejo and Second Season Opener separately, but
it also signs you up for the entire YRA handicap season
(13 races total) and keeps you on the YRA mailing list.
A PHRF application is also included, with the "hard"
items already filled in for a stock Merit 25. This
isn't strictly necessary for the one-design series, but
since we'll be racing in a handicap class for at least
three of the events, we might as well be scored by YRA
on PHRF corrected times also. (But note that class
rules will still apply for our fleet.)
Other upcoming events of interest:
     March 16-17: Angel Island raft-up. I'll be there
     late after the last race in EYC Midwinters.
     March 23-24: Wheeler Regatta at BYC. Call Bobbi
     Tosse at (415) 939-9885 for an entry form.
     April 12: Friday Night Races and post-race
     barbecues begin at BYC. Every Friday through
     September. Even if you can't get out of work in
     time to race, come over and watch the finish,
     spend money at the bar, and have a burger.
Check the updated fleet roster carefully, and send in
any corrections you might like to make. Note that there
are boats for sale, and also note that a few boats
seemed to have disappeared from the list. If you know
the whereabouts of any Merit 25 that's not on the
roster, help us track down the owner so we can get them
on the mailing list.