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1924 International Championship - Regatta Report

1924 International Championship - Western Long Island Sound 
Regatta Results

When the mist hanging over the waters of Long Island Sound the first week of September was finally lifted by a gale the velocity of which has seldom been equaled in that section, and the seas quieted down, there appeared on the yachting horizon a new World’s Champion of the Star Class. John R. Robinson today wears the coveted crown which is the goal of Stat sailors the world over. Although the veteran Fleet again successfully defended its title with a boat flying the Bayside Yacht Club burgee, the boat and the man at its helm were new. Jack and his Little Bear fought their way through a fleet of the finest boats and best skippers that challengers could offer.

This classic event is the most representative yachting test of the age, a test which is calculated to try the mettle of boat, skipper and crew as no race ever did or can. The entries are the survivors of elimination races conducted through the year in all districts and are the recognized local champions of the largest class in the world. Even the man who finishes last in the International series deserves no end of praise, for his entry alone signifies that he has defeated more yachts than the skipper in the average class is called upon to meet in a lifetime.

The challengers were slower in arriving than in former years, but by Saturday, August 30th, the clans had gathered, for with the contestants came many ardent supporters as well as delegates from Fleets not represented in the Series, the latter to attend the Association meeting. The “Audrey” was the last of the challengers to arrive, and in all justice to Skipper Watterson, it must be said that he did not have a chance to tune up his boat. That fact alone accounts for the Lakes’ showing in the 1924 tussle, and even “Red” Carey could not push the truck to Port Washington any faster.

An open regatta on the Sound on Saturday was won by California with Stella Maris second and Rhody third and as there were twenty-one local Stars starting, among them some of the best, the challengers’ stock took a decided jump. That night the Knickerbocker Yacht Club entertained the entire Association thus officially opening the 1924 series. The opening session of the annual meeting was held on Sunday and after an informal supper at the Port Washington Yacht Club, the visitors retired early.

The First Race—September 1, Start 9:30

At 5 A.M. the convoy with Stars in tow wound its way across the Sound through a thick Summer fog. The wind was light and the boats just drifted across the line when the starting gun was fired at 9:30. The course was laid out to provide a beat and a run twice around totaling ten nautical miles, but owing to the numerous shifts of wind (when there was any), windward work prevailed for three-quarters of the race. Rhody and California were first over the line, but South Wind working well to leeward of the bunch was first around the windward mark, with California, Rhody and Sonny bunched a few seconds behind. On the second lap, California moved into first place but lost out at the windward mark when the wind died down. Then “Bill” Inslee sailing Sonny, the Gravesend Bay entry, again displayed his uncanny instinct for being “there” when light zephyr-like puffs shot across the placid waters of the Sound. Inslee, taking advantage of each puff, fanned along to the finish, just managing to save his time by finishing a few minutes within the time limit. Rhody, fighting every inch of the way, was nosed out by sixteen seconds.

The Second Race—September 2, Start 1:30

The Knickerbocker Yacht Club committee sent the boats over a triangular course, twice around for a distance of 10 ¼ nautical miles. Starting with a stiff S.W. breeze, California led on the reach and run but failed to maintain the lead on the windward leg, Little Bear rounding first with Rhody and Sunny following in that order. On the second round, near the finish Inslee worked up to Robinson and they engaged in a thrilling struggle which ended with the defender crossing 2 seconds ahead of Inslee although the latter had taken his wind and passed him immediately after crossing the line. The finish was so close that none but the men on the committee boat could tell which had crossed first. Rhody, California and South Wind in that order finished within a minute period.

The Third Race—September 3, Start 2:00

An easterly gale sent the boats flying over the starting line when the Bayside Yacht Club committee designated a windward and leeward course, twice around totaling 10 nautical miles. Porpoise, the Chesapeake entry, took the lead but failing to cover Little Bear, the latter took the lead and thereafter maintained it to the finish. McHugh went into second place on the second windward leg and held it until Inslee engaged in a luffing match with him, and although McHugh won it, California in the meantime slipped into second place. Rhody, Sayonara and Porpoise were next in line, with Cleveland far astern. Eastern Long Island did not enter.

The Fourth Race—September 3, Start 2:00 P.M.

The Port Washington Yacht Club committee started the boats in a light S.E. breeze which barely carried the boats along. It took them nearly three hours to complete the first round of the 10 ¼ nautical mile course and the time limit expired when they had finished little more than the first leg of the second round. Robinson was then leading with Inslee second.

The race was resailed on Friday morning, in a strong S.W. wind which caused many to reef. At the end of the first round Robinson was leading and increasing his advantage so that he won handily. The last leg of this race marked the turning point of the series for Rhody beat Inslee for second place thus giving Robinson for the first time the lead in the series with Sonny and Rhody one point behind in n tie for second place. South Wind and Sayonara were fourth and fifth with California, Audrey and Porpoise bringing up the rear. The British Columbia entry was disqualified for a foul at the start of the race.

The Fifth Race—September 5, Start 2:35

A S.W. gale which had gained a good start by the time the boats had finished the fourth race was whipping the water into a white fury only slightly abated by a continuous downpour of rain when the committee of the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club hoisted the starting signals. The starting gun found only four boats crossing the line, with Porpoise making up the quintet which finished the race by starting three minutes late. An unfortunate misunderstanding as to the starting time of this race marred an otherwise perfect series. Several of the tail-enders quite sensibly withdrew rather than risk lives and boats in such terrible weather for a possible seventh or eighth place. Rhody took the lead on the first leg, a run of 2 ½ N.M. and maintained it on the beat back as well as on the second time around. Little Bear was second all the way, neither threatening Rhody nor being threatened by the others. Porpoise gave the old-timers a start by carrying full sail all the way and carrying it beautifully to finish third over California, Stella Maris finished last bringing to a close, the most exciting International Series ever held.

Jack Robinson had a hard task before him and deserves no end of praise for his gallant fight in gaining his victory after a poor start. Rhody was ever threatening and a hard contestant to beat, whose luck was not breaking right. Weston, after being out of a Star for a long time, made several bids for honors, which were serious enough to bother any contender. Inslee, sailing a new boat, was under a great disadvantage, but looked like the winner for the first half of the series and was an easy fourth. McHugh showed several times during the series that he could not he trifled with and “knew his stuff” as well as the next man. The Porpoise and Sayonara did surprisingly well for newcomers in the game and show signs of being able to put up an even better fight next time. Purvis’ chances of placing high were ruined by the foul in the fourth race, while Doc Watterson’s performance must be excused on the ground of lack of time to tune up his boat. Col. Waite, sailing the Dot, should not try to finish better than tenth, for no man could do that nearly so gracefully and cheerfully as he.

This marks the close of another chapter of Star History and this series will go down on the pages as one of the most hotly contested and most evenly matched trials which could be imagined, providing enough thrills and close finishes to satisfy even hardened sea dogs.



First Race                                 Finish
Sonny                                       12:46:59
Rhody                                      12:47:15
South Wind                              12:48:00
California                                  12:50:36
Sayonara                                  12:56:59
Little Bear                                12:57:37
Stella Maris                              12:58:43
Porpoise                                   12:59:08          
Dot                                            1:01:34          
Audrey                                     Withdrew

Second Race                            Finish
Little Bear                                3:17:40
Sonny                                       3:17:42
Rhody                                      3:19:03
California                                  3:19:43
South Wind                              3:19:47
Stella Maris                              3:20:02
Porpoise                                   3:22:04
Sayonara                                  3:24:35
Audrey                                     3:25:44
Dot                                          3:41:52

Third Race                               Finish
Little Bear                                4:04:58
California                                  4:05:11
South Wind                              4:06:27
Sonny                                       4:06:30
Rhody                                      4:07:35
Sayonara                                  4:08:40
Porpoise                                   4:08:45
Stella Maris                              4:08:57
Audrey                                     4.26:24
Dot                                          DNS

Fourth Race                             Finish
Little Bear                                1:32:51
Rhody                                      1:35:42
Sonny                                       1:36:12
South Wind                              1:36:43
Sayonara                                  1:37:07
California                                  1:40:55
Audrey                                     1:44:28
Stella Maris                              DSQ
Dot                                          DNS

Fifth Race                                 Finish
Rhody                                      4:32:55
Little Bear                                4:41:00
Porpoise                                   4:49:13
California                                  4:49:45
Sayonarn                                  Withdrew
Audrey                                     DNS
Sonny                                       DNS
Stella Maris                              DNS
Dot                                          DNS


No.      Yacht               Skipper                     Crew                      Fleet              Pts.
61        Little Bear        J. H. Robinson           A. Knapp               W.L.I.S.        44
143      Rhody              B. W. Comstock       W. H. Gidley          N.B.              42
161      California          B. P. Weston             H. Shauer               S. Cal.           35
190      Sonny               W. L. Inslee              C.V. Byram            G.B.              34
40        South Wind      W. J. McHugh           F. T. Bedford         C.L.I.S.         29
179      Porpoise           N. S. Kenney            J. H. Miller             C.B.              22
205      Sayonara          L. Bainbridge             G. W. Gibb            P.B.              20
120      Stella Maris      H. W. Purvis             H. P. McLennan     H.B.              19
125      Audrey             H. S. Watterson        L. Carey                 C.L.E.             9
233      Dot                   H. W. Waite             F. W. Lord             E.L.I.S.            3

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