Thursday, July 14, 2005

Credit Where Credit is Due

The sailboat winch is surely something I’ve taken for granted – in my time aboard I’ve mostly been too busy winding it to reflect on its origin. But if I pause for a moment and think about it, the winch is integral to my (and I’m sure your) modern sailing experience. From big maxi drums to the smaller Barient on a daysailer…we have Derek Baylis to thank for the modern sailboat winch. Mr. Baylis, 81, died this past Monday - an article in the SF Chronicle details his life and contribution to the sport. According to the article his daughter, Elizabeth Baylis, learned of her father's death 30 minutes before she was about to board a Cal 40 sailboat for the start of the famed Transpacific yacht race from Long Beach to Honolulu.

"We all decided Derek would be outraged if she jumped ship at that point, " Mr. Baylis' stepson, Tim Salz, said of his stepfather's immutable devotion to yacht racing and its traditions. "She's gone."

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