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1923 International Championship - Regatta Report

1923 International Championship - Central Long Island Sound 
Regatta Results

From the first gun that echoed across the waters of Southern California in early Spring and heralded the opening of the 1923 Yachting season, over 169 yachts of the Star Class and more than 320 individuals that made up their racing crews battled desperately week after week through the remainder of the season for the right to represent their respective section of the world in the International;. Finally the survivors, the picked skippers, crews and yachts of eight Fleets met during the last week in August on Long Island Sound, there to decide the one design championship of the world. Never before was there such an event. These eight skippers alone, in traveling to and from this Series, covered approximately 27,312 miles. They were the proven champions of many parts of the world, brought together to race boats of exactly the same type and design.

Manhasset Bay, the headquarters of the Challengers, was the center of great activity for many days before the first race. The scene was not unlike that of 1922, except that this time there were seven challengers and the red ensign was intermingled with the Stars and Stripes. In one part of the harbor a light blue yacht. displaying the maple leaf of Canada at her stem, and the Burgee of the Royal Vancouver at her mast head, rode at anchor. This was the “Astrea” of British Columbia. Near her was a bright red yacht, also displaying the crimson ensign hut one adorned with the many pointed stars of the Southern Cross of Australia: she was the “Kangaroo”, the first yacht to represent New South Wales in a race in the U. S. A. The three white boats were “California”, “Doris”, of Lake Erie, and “Ursus Minor” of Eastern Long Island. There was also “Am” of Narragansett Bay, another blue boat and “Peacock”, of Central Long Island, whose hull of shining mahogany was not disfigured by any paint.

First Race
It seems proverbial that the opening race of this series shall each year be held under abnormal weather conditions and 1923 was no exception to the rule. As the seven challengers towed out of their land locked harbor to the starting line off Execution Rocks, a tropical gale from the South swept the usually calm waters of the Sound. This gale, which carried with it gusts of warm rain, was equal in strength to that historic blow that prevented the great America’s Cup Yachts from racing in 1920. At the line they were met by the defending “Taurus”, the first Star ever built, winner of the Championship in 1922 and again selected to defend the honor of Western Long Island in 1923. Inslee’s craft, the only black one of the lot, looked as somber and threatening as the sky itself and its oil skin clad crew was in contrast to the gaily uniformed crews of the Challengers.

The start was a decidedly poor one. The Committee should have postponed it for a while, as some of the contenders did not even have time to put in a much needed reef and getting clear of their tenders in the wind and sea was a difficult task. “Taurus” and “Peacock” reefed and “Ara ‘, “Doris”, and “Kangaroo” with full sail, the latter slightly to leeward, (the red Kangaroos in the white shirts of her crew already run into a red and white blur), got off in a bunch. Then 1 min. and 39 sec. after, “Astrea” got over, reefed -  followed by “Ursus Minor”, 4 mm. late, carrying full sai1. The first leg was with a quartering wind and “California” established a remarkable lead, running the first mark 1 mm. and 30 sec. ahead of the others. Then as Weston hauled on the wind his mast snapped and with it went California’s hopes for 1923. The other four that started on time rounded in a bunch but once in the wind Inslee, veteran of many races, soon pulled away and after that the race was no longer in doubt. At the second mark “Doris” went in stays, and while the Lake boat was recovering itself, “Ara” shot inside of her at the turn and finished second. “Astrea” overtook “Peacock” on the wind for all of the latters 99 sec. lead and finished a close fourth.

Automobile loads of racing men and their families were taken to the Bayside Y. C. that night where despite the driving rain they were royally entertained with a dinner and vaudeville show.

Second Race
A flat calm and heavy fog greeted the contestants on the second day. After an hour’s postponement a light but steady Westerly breeze sprang up and they were sent away on a 10 mile leeward and windward course, a mark boat going before them to indicate the way. “Doris” ran the best and with “California” on her heels and rounded first. On the beat back “Astrea” took the lead and was the first to come out of the fog and round with “Taurus” second and “Ara” third, Kangaroo, a close 4th, threw away her position by thinking the race over and before she could get started again on the second round “Peacock” passed her. “California” with her newly stepped mast and all rigging loose could do nothing on the wind at all. The second round was a fight, tack for tack, between “Astrea” and “Taurus” and the Vancouver yacht beat the champion on every point of the game increasing its lead by 40 sec. at the finish. To H. E. Wylie goes the honor of being the only man who has ever beaten Inslee in a Championship race. “Peacock” beat “Ara” out for third and “Doris” just nosed out “California” for 5th. The Australian boat held her position of 7th and “Ursus Minor” fouled and withdrew, but her skipper, Col. Waite, said that night at the Pt. Washington smoker, that he was so delighted to he near enough to foul any one that he was thoroughly satisfied.

Third Race
With a blue sky and the sun shining brightly, the last race was held over a triangular course. The first leg was to windward and “Ara” established a pretty lead only to throw it away when Wood failed to cover the bunch and struck a soft spot. Then the Pacific coast entries had the race between them, “California” rounding just ahead of “Astria”, “Taurus” was buried back in 7th place and with a reach and a run remaining it looked as though British Columbia would be the scene of the 1924 series. Then the wind fell flat and Inslee a mile or more astern and to leeward ran far under their lee. The little puffs of wind that sprang up later actually jumped over the windward yachts and hit the “Taurus”, which on this slow leg gradually looped the field and rounded the second mark just ahead of the Pacific boats. “Taurus” just saved her time and made it a race, “Astrea” was second and “Walton”, taking a last wild chance, sneaked in 3rd and took 3rd series prize as well.

The series was over. Inslee for the second time had beaten the pick of the world. “Taurus” had earned the right to carry two Gold Stars in her sail and the Internationals of 1923 were History.

Long into the night the cheers of the Star men could be heard across the moonlit waters of Cow Bay, ac each of the crews in turn were awarded their prizes and toasted by their fellow yachtsmen at the dinner given by the Manhasset Bay Y. C., where their honored President told of stars in Bombay, China, and many ether remarkable things.

The Crew Championship was won by W. D. Wood in the “Ara” and the “Yachting’ Trophy went therefore to Narragansett Bay. The Annual Meeting was held on Aug. 31st, but already many had left for home. A few however, lingered and raced in the open races held over Labor Day en the Sound.


1st Race, Bayside Y.C.
Course 10 ¾ N. M., Start: 1:30, Triangular


Taurus -                                   3:46:41
Ara -                                        3:50:56
Doris -                                     3:51:11
Astrea -                                    3:51:56
Kangaroo -                              3:54:15
Peacock -                                4:08:51
Ursus Minor -                           4:16:22
California -                               Disabled

 2nd Race, Pt. Washington Y.C.
Course 10 N.M. Windward and return.
Start: 2:30.

Astrea -                                    5:32:26
Taurus -                                   5:34:06
Peacock -                                5:41:31
Ara -                                        5:43:37
Kangaroo -                              5:43:56
Doris -                                     5:44:38
California -                               5:44:42
Ursus Minor -                           Withdrew

3rd Race, Manhasset Bay Y.C.
Course 10 ¾ N.M. Triangular.
Start 1:30

Taurus -                                   6:04:44
Astrea -                                    6:06:06
Doris -                                     6:06:51
California -                               6:08:52
Kangaroo -                              6:15:52
Peacock -                                6:11:40
Ara -                                        6:15:20
Ursus Minor -                           Withdrew

No.      Yacht                           Skipper                        Crew                Fleet                 Pts.
1          Taurus                          W. L. Inslee                 P. Nelson         W.L.I.S.           23
118      Astrea                          H.E. Wylie                   E. Ratsey          E.B.                 20
92        Doris                            R.W. Walton                L. Carey           C.L.E.              15
123      Ara                              W.C. Wood                 W.D. Wood     N.B.                 14
168      Kangaroo                     E. Walker                     G. Curry           N.S.W.            12
30        Peacock                       F.T. Bedford                W. Bull             C.L.I.S.            12
161      California                      B. P. Weston                G. Waters        So.Cal.             7
52        Ursus Minor                 H.M. Waite                  A. F. Lord        E.L.I.S.              2

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