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The best racing sailor ever - The poll

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: Dinghy classes
Forum Name: Dinghy development
Forum Discription: The latest moves in the dinghy market
URL: http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=9357
Printed Date: 26 Jan 21 at 3:11am
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Topic: The best racing sailor ever - The poll
Posted By: 2547
Subject: The best racing sailor ever - The poll
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 4:48pm
Go for it,.



Replies:
Posted By: rodney
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 4:50pm
Where's Jack Braidwood?

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Posted By: G.R.F.
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 4:51pm
None of them ever sailed a board, so they can't be truly 'the best' sorry not voting.

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Posted By: ham4sand
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 4:52pm
not sure it can be put in a list...

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Posted By: rodney
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 4:56pm
Originally posted by G.R.F.

None of them ever sailed a board, so they can't be truly 'the best' sorry not voting.

At least one of them has sailed a board, probably most of them Smile

Correction - 3 of them!


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Posted By: 2547
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 5:05pm
Originally posted by rodney

Originally posted by G.R.F.

None of them ever sailed a board, so they can't be truly 'the best' sorry not voting.

At least one of them has sailed a board, probably most of them Smile

Correction - 3 of them!
I expect most of them have dabbled with beach toys ...
 
Quite a few Finn boys in there Rodney ...


Posted By: gordon
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 5:20pm
When Ben Ainslie can add World Championship wins in such divers classes as the Star, 505, 5.5m, plus an Olympic 4th place in Tornado, and results over a career as long as Pol Elvstrom then he may merit the title. Elvestrom revolutionised competitive sailing, set up a world class sailmaking business and won an impressive range of titles.

Denis Connor would be my second place vote.

Tabarly was a great offshore sailor, with a penchant for running aground when anywhere near the coast. Not really a racing sailor... more a great mariner.

To qualify the minimum requirement would be world championships in dinghies (preferably both singlehanded and doublehanded) keelboats and big boats with lids.




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Gordon


Posted By: rodney
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 5:21pm
Originally posted by 2547

Originally posted by rodney

Originally posted by G.R.F.

None of them ever sailed a board, so they can't be truly 'the best' sorry not voting.

At least one of them has sailed a board, probably most of them Smile

Correction - 3 of them!
I expect most of them have dabbled with beach toys ...
 
Quite a few Finn boys in there Rodney ...

I count 3, did I miss someone?


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Posted By: Laser 173312
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 6:09pm
Coutts for me. The only Olympic and America's cup winner.


Posted By: Andymac
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 6:10pm
Originally posted by gordon

 
with a penchant for running aground when anywhere near the coast.
 
... more a great mariner.

 
Isn't that a bit of a contradiction?


Posted By: Andymac
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 6:11pm
Originally posted by Laser 173312

Coutts for me. The only Olympic and America's cup winner.
 
For now...


Posted By: Presuming Ed
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 6:17pm
No Rodney Pattinsson?


No Jochen Schümann?


Posted By: Laser 173312
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 6:24pm
Originally posted by Andymac

Originally posted by Laser 173312

Coutts for me. The only Olympic and America's cup winner.
 
For now...
 
And no one will be happier than me if Ainslie wins the America's cup.
 
I should of said that my second place would of been Peter Blake for winning the AC and the 1989 Whitbread.
 
 


Posted By: 2547
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 6:27pm
Originally posted by Presuming Ed

No Rodney Pattinsson?


No Jochen Schümann?
 
See list Wink
 
Either way seems to be a 2 horse race ...


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 6:28pm
Taberlay revolutionized ocean racing, introducing specially designed and built ultra lightweight boats for short handed sailing, and winning everything in sight for many years. However, if we are looking for an all round wizz, then his lack of dinghy sailing would put him out of contention.
The list is very "now" heavy. Anyone remember that best of British poll the BBC did, were Princess Di beat almost everyone? We really need a bit of space between achievements and words like "greatest". Ben may well gain the mantle, but it needs perspective.


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Posted By: Presuming Ed
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 6:39pm
Originally posted by 2547

Originally posted by Presuming Ed

No Rodney Pattinsson?
 
See list Wink

Doh!


Posted By: rodney
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 6:44pm
This decision is so personal so I stick with Jack Braidwood Smile

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Posted By: gordon
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 7:33pm
On Tabarly - he was great offshore, didn't like being anywhere near land. He was famous for beaching Pen Duick 2 at high water springs to scrub her and then needing a trawler to tow her off. Hit rocks everywhere.  Did help French sailin gin to it's present cul de sac. The French are best at those forms of sailing that only the French do!

As for someone who has had great results in dinghies, keelboats and big boats why is Paul Cayard not on the list?

Random thought - can one be rated best racing sailor without winning the Star Worlds?

And, let us add a little historical perspective - Virginie Hérriot (Olympic Gold 1928 (I believe she was the first female competitor in any sport and first female gold medallist), Charlie Barr (3 Americas Cup and a 100 year Atlantic record).

 I would also recommend a "highly commended" to Uffa Fox, Jeremy Pudney and many more.


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Gordon


Posted By: themeaningoflife
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 7:49pm
I personally wouldn't vote for these but some people might want to consider them?: Dee Caffari and Ellen Macarthur?

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Posted By: L192444
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 10:47pm
There are many greats; Cayard perhaps should be listed.
 
Elvstrom has a whole life of achievement 'v' a young BA ... but it's a head to head here ....
 
It is always difficult to compare stars over the ages in any sport but in the modern game Ben's record is incredible ... in an era of highly profesisonal sports with wins/loses seperated by tiny margins his track record is second to none so gets my vote ...


Posted By: gbr940
Date Posted: 17 May 12 at 10:58pm
without a doubt Coutts...his diverse wins at World Championship level across dinghy to yachts to now multihulls isn't matched by anyone else on that list

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RS100 GBR159


Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 2:51am
Dunno if it's "without a doubt" because of diversity;

Singlehanded dinghies - Coutts 1 (Youth) Worlds, 1 gold medal v Elvstrom 2 worlds, 4 gold = big win for Elvstrom

Crewed dinghies - Coutts 0 worlds, 0 gold v Elvstrom 4 worlds = no contest, Elvstrom wins. Or you could roll all the dinghies into one and it's Coutts 1 worlds, 1 gold v Elvstrom 7 worlds, 4 gold...same result.

Offshore yachts - Coutts 1 Admiral's Cup, 3 Worlds v Elvstrom 2 worlds (1/2 tonners) = advantage Coutts, but Elvstrom's worlds were in much bigger fleets with no restrictive nationality and pro rules, and he designed a winning boat.

Multis - Coutts no international wins v Elvstrom, 3rd Tornado Worlds = advantage to the Big E.

Inshore Keelboats - Coutts 0 worlds?* v Elvstrom 5 worlds (2 Star, 2 Soling, 1 5.5) = huge win to Elvstrom

America's Cup - Coutts 4, Elvstrom not eligible (nationality rules existed when he was young enough) = Coutts, no contest.

Elvstrom was also a lot more creative in developing gear and techniques, and his Star and 5.5 worlds wins were eye-openers at a time when most yachties assumed that dinghy sailors were just children who hadn't learned to sail real boats.

On the same topic, Ainslie's haul (3 gold, 1 silver, 10 worlds) doesn't look enormously better than Schiedt's (2 gold, 2 silver, 13 worlds)....I wonder how a Brazilian poll would rate them?

Finally, by far the biggest discipline ever in sailing was windsurfing (about 800,000 boards sold PER YEAR at the peak) and that sport was pretty much dominated in its peak by Robby Naish, who has also apparently won three worlds in k*t*ng. If ranked by the number of sailors beaten (and they included many pros and aspiring pros, for at the time sailors were mainly amateurs and windsurfers were sponsored to the stage that Robby could have racing and road Porsches) he would have to rank extremely highly and he was also very versatile.




* I'm not sure the 12m class was entitled to a worlds when Wiki claims he won one.


Posted By: alstorer
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 6:52am

the thing about Ainslie is that he's still relatively young- a couple of years younger than Schiedt- and in terms of public perception at least, Olympic gold is a much higher achievement than Olympic silver.

But both Ainslie and Schiedt still have many competitive years ahead, especially in big boats. Trying to compare current competitors against the long retired is problematic.



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-_
Al


Posted By: Andymac
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 7:35am
Originally posted by Chris 249

Robby Naish, who has also apparently won three worlds in k*t*ng.
 
Oh, has that turned into a 'dirty'word now!Wink


Posted By: G.R.F.
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 8:07am
Originally posted by Chris 249

If ranked by the number of sailors beaten 

And there lies the essential point.

Dinghy sailing 'worlds' with 20 -30 competitors, compared with Boardsailing Nationals with 500 competitors a lot of whom were dinghy sailors.

Board sailing worlds when Naish was in full swing would have had 4 fleets of 200 plus competitors split into weight groups.

Compare that with our new "Olympic" fleet of kite board racers, all they could muster were 17, and 10 of them were free riders..


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Posted By: sargesail
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 8:20am
It depends on how you define best - Elvstrom was indeed an innovator: he did things that his competitors did not.  These have now become mainstream.  Same detail Stewart Morris and tactics - he literally wrote the book.  Arguably the scope for innovation has reduced.  Today's sailors have less room for innovation.  They stand on the shoulders of giants, but the ceiling is close above them.

So Ben gets my vote.  Of course it's subjective, but he does what he does consistently so much better in the toughest of classes, not just Olympics but the Gold Cup too.


Posted By: 2547
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 9:14am
Originally posted by sargesail

Today's sailors have less room for innovation.  They stand on the shoulders of giants, but the ceiling is close above them.
 
I think that is what impresses me more about Ben, he's canning the competiton who all have the same kit and technology ... or pretty similar.
 
Elvstrom was a great innovator and used that to his benefit but the days of turning up and winning a worlds with a new idea are long passed except in development classes.


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 9:20am
Anybody else here feeling like an underachiever as we discuss all these sailing greats?

Robbie Naish got me thinking - partly about why he never crossed into dinghies or cats at all (or did he?) but mainly about how good his video RIP was.


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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446


Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 9:21am


Originally posted by Andymac

Originally posted by Chris 249

Robby Naish, who has also apparently won three worlds in k*t*ng.
 
Oh, has that turned into a 'dirty'word now!Wink

Only for me.... I'm not at all sure that windsurfing getting dumped from the Games is a bad thing for the discipline, but the "quality" of the k*t*rs submission gets my goat.Dead To be honest, though, the kiters themselves have been showing good style by not gloating.Clap


Posted By: Dougal
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 9:26am
Originally posted by Chris 249


To be honest, though, the kiters themselves have been showing good style by not gloating.Clap
 
All 17 of them?


Posted By: Telltale
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 9:40am
I have 2 problems with the poll, firstly whilst i don't deny all of those listed have a right to be there but how do you compare Ben Ainslie with Rodney Pattison or Paul Elvstrom when we know that our knowledge of Ben Ainslie is coloured by You Tube footage and 'live tracking'. Secondly, contentious I know, but are we really saying Shirley Robertson or Ellen Macarthur don't even get a mention!


Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 9:42am
Originally posted by Rupert

Anybody else here feeling like an underachiever as we discuss all these sailing greats?

Robbie Naish got me thinking - partly about why he never crossed into dinghies or cats at all (or did he?) but mainly about how good his video RIP was.

He started out in the little Hobie Monocat....the prototype for the Vortex?Smile His dad won the second Hobie 16 nationals, before the family moved to Hawaii, so he had a good sailing heritage.

He didn't do any dinghy or cat sailing years ago, but his heritage in light wind sailing on one design longboards meant that he had plenty of tactical nous and he's very smart and analytical there's not much doubt he could have done well - but apparently he's still out there in the waves and having fun on boards.

h

I've been lucky enough to sail against some of the names put forward for the list (well, in the case of Peter Blake we saw his maxi for several minutes before finishing a day or two behindEmbarrassed) and I would have to rank Robby way, way up there. However, I have to agree with the posters who say that the difference in eras and types makes it impossible to judge who is better.

PS - I've never seen a Monocat, but I have to say I had a go on the similar Hobie Bravo and thought it was a great little funboat. Will that admission get me banned, or merely snubbed?Tongue



Posted By: G.R.F.
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 9:43am
I don't think the kiters are very happy that in order for them to be Olympic it was Windsurfing that was dropped since the two sports draw on the same types, many were or still are windsurfers.

We would rather see those silly old slow boats from a long forgotten era kicked out why do there have to be so many of them? One for men and one for women should be enough then we'd see something designed that might actually be relevant to the world today if there could only be one type of boat.


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Posted By: tickler
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 9:45am
When I look at what Ainslie has achieved this week....then look back at the post I started recently about was he too small............It has to be Ben.


Posted By: gordon
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 9:46am
Ainslie has yet to reach the level of acheivement that Elvestrom acheived before his "career break" - a nervous breakdown caused by burnout. We'll have to wait and see what happens in the second part of his career. Will Ainslie still be winning medals in classes like the Tornado at the age of 57?

Question - anyone have a list of Dennis Conners reults - his website claims 28 world championship wins


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Gordon


Posted By: gordon
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 9:50am



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Gordon


Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 10:10am
Originally posted by Telltale

Secondly, contentious I know, but are we really saying Shirley Robertson or Ellen Macarthur don't even get a mention!

Fair point, but while Shirley's two gold is a fantastic achievement, it could also be that even allowing for limited opportunities for women, it's hard to rate her higher than Valentijn Mankin (gold in three different classes plus a silver), Schumann (3 gold, 1 silver), Torben Grael (2 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze, 1 LV Cup, 1 Volvo race).

EDIT - on the other hand, like women in other arenas, female sailors do seem to suffer more from the career issues caused by having kids; the guys get it easy in that way.

And while Dame Ellen is also great in many ways, how can a racing record that's mainly one second place and one round the world record be placed ahead of someone like Joyon, who has broken the same record twice and a lot of other races, or Frank Cammas, who was a F-18 world champ runner-up as well as RTW record holder and 5 time ORMA champ etc.



Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 10:10am
Originally posted by 2547

...the days of turning up and winning a worlds with a new idea are long passed except in development classes

au contraire. AIUI one of Ainslie's big things is that he's one of those who devoped a whole new way of getting downwind in waves with single sail boats.

I agree on Naish: he should be on the poll. Within his field his record is comparable with Elvstroms.

One thing on Elvstrom via Ainslie - its well documented that Elvstrom lost a slice of his peak years to the breakdown alluded to by Gordon. Without that temperament issue the smart money is he'd be as far ahead of anyone else as Bradman is in cricket. But Ainslie lacks that issue and has a better temperament for continual high pressure events, then maybe that's an argument to consider him a better *racing sailor* - at least in that respect.


Posted By: Mark Jardine
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 10:15am
Originally posted by JimC

Originally posted by 2547

...the days of turning up and winning a worlds with a new idea are long passed except in development classes

au contraire. AIUI one of Ainslie's big things is that he's one of those who devoped a whole new way of getting downwind in waves with single sail boats.


I totally agree - watching the video of Ben going downwind in Qingdao was awe-inspiring. Every wave he seemed to pull 2 boat lengths on his competitors.

p.s. I had to google AIUI - I must brush up on my FLA's!


Posted By: 2547
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 10:30am
Originally posted by Mark Jardine

Originally posted by JimC

Originally posted by 2547

...the days of turning up and winning a worlds with a new idea are long passed except in development classes

au contraire. AIUI one of Ainslie's big things is that he's one of those who devoped a whole new way of getting downwind in waves with single sail boats.


I totally agree - watching the video of Ben going downwind in Qingdao was awe-inspiring. Every wave he seemed to pull 2 boat lengths on his competitors.

p.s. I had to google AIUI - I must brush up on my FLA's!
Whilst Ben is clearly the downwind master I think that is a GBR one eyed view on life.
 
When he started out Scheidt was the downwind master and before him it was Glenn Bourke (3 x laser world champ) who has yet to get a mention on this thread ...
 
Being good downwind in waves isn't quite the same as being the first one to hike out ... or having a kicker ...
 
 
 


Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 10:51am
Originally posted by 2547


 
Being good downwind in waves isn't quite the same as being the first one to hike out ... 

Yes, but the bandaging expert of Cincinatti isn't on the list!Wink

Sorry, a cryptic reference to the first documented "hiker", which wasn't Elvstrom.


Posted By: 2547
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 11:02am
Originally posted by Chris 249

Originally posted by 2547


 
Being good downwind in waves isn't quite the same as being the first one to hike out ... 

Yes, but the bandaging expert of Cincinatti isn't on the list!Wink

Sorry, a cryptic reference to the first documented "hiker", which wasn't Elvstrom.
yeah but was he the first to put it to devistating use in a championship?


Posted By: gordon
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 11:39am
Elvestrom was the first sailor to realise that sailing every day was the key to success. He and his training partners used to break the ice to sail.

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Gordon


Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 1:31pm
Originally posted by 2547

Originally posted by Chris 249

Originally posted by 2547


 
Being good downwind in waves isn't quite the same as being the first one to hike out ... 

Yes, but the bandaging expert of Cincinatti isn't on the list!Wink

Sorry, a cryptic reference to the first documented "hiker", which wasn't Elvstrom.
yeah but was he the first to put it to devistating use in a championship?

No, but other 1880s Americans in the same class put the technique to devastating use in the first international small-boat championship very shortly afterwards, beating the British team.




Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 3:31pm
I've never been sure where this idea that Elvstrom was the first person to use hiking straps comes from? They can clearly be seen in photos of 14's from when he was a baby, so unless he was even more precocious than previously thought, it can't be true. And, as Chris says, canoe sailors were hiking in the USA in the 1880's. Very unsporting too - just not cricket!

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Posted By: alstorer
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 4:07pm
I thought it was the Kicking Strap, not the hiking strap, that he supposedly (but possibly didn't) invent?

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-_
Al


Posted By: gbr940
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 4:10pm
think you're right Al - i'm pretty sure its Kicking Strap

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Posted By: getafix
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 4:27pm
I voted for Ben 'cos I'm a patriotic type*, just how many Danes are there reading this forum anyhow? Tongue

* and yes, I think he deserves it on record


Posted By: Little Monster
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 6:27pm
Elvestrom was a trailblazer getting his results at a time when he showed everybody how to be professional.
 
Ben gets his results against people who are already professional.
 
Ben has to get the nod on that point alone.


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Phantom "Little Monster"
1404


Posted By: zippyRN
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 6:43pm
Originally posted by G.R.F.

Originally posted by Chris 249

If ranked by the number of sailors beaten 

And there lies the essential point.

Dinghy sailing 'worlds' with 20 -30 competitors, compared with Boardsailing Nationals with 500 competitors a lot of whom were dinghy sailors.


 how many  proper  IYRU/ISAF sanctioned world championships for dinghy classes  run with that small a number of boats ? 

wasn't there a saga a few years ago where the ISAF said if you weren't an International Class  you couldn't have  Continental or World Championships ....


Posted By: rb_stretch
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 6:45pm
If Naish should be in there I would also add Bjorn Dunkerbeck. I seem to remember he won something like 10 world titles on the trot. GRF probably know the exact stats better than me.


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 6:58pm
It is hard (an nonsensical) enough choosing between a yotty and a dinghy sailor, let alone adding standyuppy sailors into the mix. There aren't enough frames of reference - you may as well add Steve Redgrave to the list.

Oh, I did find that RIP is available again, though, to download, if you google it. Been impossible to find for years. Used to watch it several times a day when working at Wet and Windy in Bristol in the mid 90's


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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446


Posted By: gordon
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 8:13pm
Au contraire Little Monster the innovator has primacy over the guy who uses the innovation  40 or more years later.

Reead Elvstrms account of his first two medals. First to realise that sailing every day makes a difference. He won in 48 after retiring in the first race because he was, on port tack, within 3 boat lengths of a starboard boat. He won the last race because he took 4 rolls in his main, sailed the beats without a jib but hoisted jub on run and last two reaches. He never capsized and never filled his boat.

he then went home and invented a hiking bench!


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Gordon


Posted By: Dougal
Date Posted: 18 May 12 at 8:14pm
Originally posted by Rupert



Oh, I did find that RIP is available again, though, to download, if you google it. Been impossible to find for years. Used to watch it several times a day when working at Wet and Windy in Bristol in the mid 90's

I still have it on VHS, and I still have the player to play it on!  There was that great line - 'Taco Bell, lunch of champions'. Could that be Ben's secret?





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