AN EPIDEMIC OF BOAT POX In the ‘70s
and ‘80s, boat owners discover that the
material they once believed impervious is
under siege by “osmosis,” which begins
when water filters through the gelcoat to
imperfections in the laminate. One theory?
Blisters were due to cheaper resins produced after the 1973 oil crisis. By 1978,
fiberglass boatbuilders begin using
vinylester resins to mitigate the problem.
THAT SINKING FEELING?
After his boat sank during a
solo transatlantic voyage in
1981, Steve Callahan spends
more than two months trying to survive in a life raft.
He later wrote the bestseller
Adrift: 76 Days Lost At Sea. Surprisingly,
he still enjoys solo sailing.
NEW SYSTEM SAVES LIVES The
COSPAS-SARSAT search-and-rescue satellite system, jointly sponsored by the U.S.,
Russia, Canada, and France, comes online
in 1982. This leads to Emergency Position
Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) and
Personal Locator Beacons (PLB), which now
greatly increase the chance of finding people
and vessels in distress. This will be one of the
great success stories of recent times, saving
the lives of 20,000 people and counting.
THIS WILL GET YOUR MOTOR RUNNING
Faced with more stringent emission controls, Yamaha introduces a range of small
four-stroke outboards in 1984. Honda
follows in 1985 with a pair of new four-strokes. This leads the way to ever-larger
four-stroke engines and today’s large-displacement models.
BYE, BYE, MISS AMERICAN PIE
Despite American objections over the
Aussie boat’s controversial wing keel, in
1983 America loses the America’s Cup to
Australia, ending an unbroken 132-year
winning streak, the longest in any sport.
A CLASSIC IS RETIRED The Atomic 4
gasoline engine, produced since 1947,
ceases production in 1984.
DUDE, GET READY FOR A WATERSPORTS
REVOLUTION The Skurfer, forerunner
of the wakeboard, is introduced to wide
acclaim in 1985 by Tony Finn and John
Hamilton. page 68
FASTNET FURY On August 11, the 1979 Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Fastnet Race
sets sail from Cowes, England, the same day a large depression forms over the
Atlantic. By Day 3, it intensifies drastically, its center directly over the 605-mile
course. Of the 303 vessels racing, five are sunk, 100 knocked down, 75 capsized, and
15 sailors lose their lives. Following the race, new standards for vessel safety and
stability are developed that fundamentally change future sailboat design.
In 1980, Suzuki
two-stroke outboards on three
models from 85- to
Sailing a 470
Cathy Foster, first
skipper, wins a
bronze medal at
the 1984 Olympics held in Long
Beach, CA — the
first female to do
so in the modern
Congress to squash a
proposal to save fuel
by banning weekend
>>1980 After two
years of groundwork
by BoatU.S., the
Safety and Facilities
Improvement Act is
signed into law, authorizing $60 million in
boating fuel taxes to
be spent on boating
safety and facilities
over three years.
works to retain the
deduction on boat
loans considered second homes; this effort
starts the non-
profit Foundation For
Boating Safety in an
era of increased boat-
slams into Texas
near Galveston as a
Category 3 hurricane.
Insurance deploys its
Team” to the Houston
Yacht Club to untangle twisted piles of
dozens of boats.
works to pass the
Fund that pays for
fish-stocking programs, ramps, and
state boating safety
SEE pg. 64
>>1986 COST OF
LIVING A 13-foot
Boston Whaler now
costs $4,160 ($8,791
in 2016 dollars); a
gallon of gasoline, 93¢
($2.01); a VHF, $600