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From Alan Sandoval on 7/4/2004:
When I was a teenager in the 60's I worked at a boat rental in Newport Beach, California. We had
O'Day Day Sailers and Rhodes 19 keel model. I was the resident sailing instructor and an avid sailor. I
simply sailed every time I had the chance. I didn't really care for the Day Sailers, I was used to keel
boats and the Day Sailer was a little tender for me, however I did like to take them out when the wind
was really raging and actually got one onto a plane once.
I loved the Rhodes, it simply felt really "solid" under me.
I was in charge of everything there, maintenance, tuning, rigging the boats in the morning, keeping
them clean, and running the rental office, which meant qualifying potential renters.
As far as qualifying potential renters, the emphasis was on getting as many boats rented as possible.
We had two standard questions, and I had final say on whether or not someone who walked up to the
window was qualified. It was kind of strange, me a teenage kid, asking obviously well-off people if they
really had basic skills in sailing. I turned away more than a few and some were none too happy with
The questions were so basic as to comical:
1. What is a jibe?
2. What do you do when the wind gusts and you are in danger of capsizing?
You wouldn't believe how many people who claimed to be "sailors" blew both of those questions. If
they couldn't answer both of them to my satisfaction they got sent to the rental place down the sidewalk.
Fast forward to my time in the Navy.
In 1970 I got posted to a land base in Danang, Vietnam. Danang is the major seaport in the northern
part of South Vietnam. There were lots of Navy personell posted there. I got assigned to a "special"
unit there, special meaning "secret."
This unit was 'special' to the point that we had privlidges other units did not. We had a private base,
private beach, and certain recreational opportunities not available to other military units. For example,
we had two skii boats and a sailboat, an old wodden Lightning. It was so decrepit I didn't even attempt
to sail it.
One day one of the officers told me to tow the Lightning back to the Army base (the Army controlled all
recreational assets 'in country.')
Not a loss for me, I didn't want to sail that boat. I dropped off the Lightning, and as I was pulling away
from the dock they told me to stop! "You have to tow the new boat back to your base."
I had NO idea what they were talking about. I'd only been told to take the Lightning back to the Army.
When I returned to the dock they hooked up a brand new, and I mean BRAND NEW Rhodes 19 to my
tow boat. The rigging was still in protective shipping plastic.
The Army had just given a brand new Rhodes 19 to an enlisted man in the US Navy. The boat I loved
the most when I was a civilian, had been placed in my hands in a war zone.
If I told you I simply docked it and never paid any attention to it I'd be lying. I rigged it, I tuned it, and I
sailed it every chance I got. I taught lots of people how to sail, and that Rhodes 19 was seen all over
Danang harbor. It was astounding to me that the military dropped a Rhodes 19 in my lap, in the middle of a war zone. I
went to war, I didn't like it, did they give me a Rhodes 19 to make up for it?
Who'll ever know, just an interesting story I guess. Alan's tour pictures: http://www.ussparkcounty.com/photogallery/Sandoval/index.html