Sunday, February 8, 2015

Remember these?

Back in the 1960s you couldn't go to Wally-World and buy a  cheap Timex "Iron-Man" wrist watch with a programmable count down timer.  Not only that but in those days the start sequence wasn't the simple 3 minute whistle start or even the current five minute sequence.  Instead clubs used a sequence fifteen minutes long and broken into three 5-minute segments based on white, blue and red signal flags as indicated by the small hand of the face of watch in the  photograph above.  These watches were NOT waterproof even though they were clearly designed to be used while racing boats!  I had one and bought a rubber cover which permitted one to attach a lanyard and wear the watch around one's neck.  While this probably protected the watch from spray and was no doubt sufficient on a keel boat which had a designated time keeper, it was not optimum on a small single handed dinghy.  It wasn't long before I flipped (yes, yes, salt water--need you ask?) while attempting to consult the watch.  Of course the timer immediately ceased to function so I had no notion of the start times during the following races.  After the day's racing ended I took the watch to a local outboard motor repair shop.  The mechanic pried open the case and sprayed the works liberally with penetrating oil but to no avail.  The timer was DOA.  No doubt surviving timers fetch a goodly price in antique shops!