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1926 International Championship - Regatta Report

1926 International Championship
Regatta Results

The passing of an old and crowning of a new champion, a most evenly matched field, fresh breezes, yachts that were works of art in finish and condition, and record breaking crowds from many parts of North America, were the outstanding features of the International Series of 1926. Narragansett Bay is the first Fleet in history to have wrested the title from the Sound. Comstock and Gidley won an impressive and well earned victory. Those who saw their perfect teamwork and the little green flyer from Rhode Island perform are bound to have been convinced that “Rhody” is today the rightful champion of all the Stars.

In contrast to former years when but two or three yachts might honestly have been said to have a chance to win, the exact opposite existed in 1926. With the possible exception of a couple of the Fleets that were making their first bow in the big Series, anyone of the sixteen entries might have won and each at sometime during the Series made a strong bid for either Series or daily honors. “Rhody’s” victory was decisive but the Providence yacht was hard pressed each day, only by different boats. Were the 1926 Series to be sailed over again tomorrow, and with our present knowledge of the skippers and the yachts, it would be difficult to say who might win. “Rhody” would probably eke out another triumph but the slightest slip or break and the last might easily be first next time. That is how evenly matched that field of veteran Internationalists really were.

D. S. Starring of Central L. I., sailing his first season as a Star skipper, made a remarkable showing in taking second place. “Ardara” actually beat the “Rhody” in the scoring for the last three days and thereby won the Atlantic CoastSan Diego with “Dona Bertha”. Bainbridge and the “Sayonara II” put Peconic Bays in the lime-light ant nearly placed. President Elder was unable to make the Defender perform on the wind in the early stages of the Series but partially atoned by bringing one last victory to the veteran Sound Fleet as the Series left its shores. Schauer and Inslee were always among the leaders but owing to the former suffering a technical disqualification and the latter withdrawing from the last race, their scores are not indicative of their actual showing. Darlinson of Toledo took the “Irex Trophy” for Novice Fleets with Hubbard of Newport, Cal., second. “Hula Star II” again gave Dowsett of Hawaii the “Invader’s Trophy” and “Movie Star II” won the “Distant Fleet Trophy”. The Cubans entries, those from the Lakes and New Orleans were constantly making strong bids for daily honors but suffered bad breaks. The Massachusetts entry alone trailed but it must be said for Mr. and Mrs. Curtis, the latter being the first of her sex to sail in an International Star event, that they were doing more than enter their first Series. It was Nahant’s first contact with the modern Star racing and they did not realize what they were up against but they put up a game fight with a yacht that was inferior in condition to the rest. honors. Harry Fisher, another newcomer, took third Series money for

The annual meeting had it is usual hectic opening on Friday, August 27th at the Manhasset Bay Y. C. which was Star headquarters. On Saturday, New Rochelle held an invitation race for visitors which was won by “Pat” Clancy and the “Scrapper” of Detroit with “Sonny II” of Gravesend second, and Hubbard’s “Tempe II” of Newport Harbor, Cal., third. There was a dinner-dance at New Rochelle that night and the meeting was resumed on Sunday and late arrivals measured.

BAYSIDE Y. C. RACE-—Typical Sound weather, as pictured by the stranger, prevailed up to within a few minutes of the start. Then a stiff Northerly set in and caught many with their light sails on and too far from their tenders to negotiate the change in time. A premature gun resulted in a ragged start with the Defender, who was on line, taking advantage of it. The first leg of the triangular course was a run and “Rhody” was first to haul on the wind. “Movie”, “Iscyra”, “Sonny”, “Talita”, and “Dona Bertha” followed and there was no change in these positions throughout the remainder of the race except for the Defender, which with sails that looked like a collapsed parachute, fell back until it was practically eliminated as a series contender. Comstock defeated Schauer by about half a minute while Inslee, three minutes later led in the rest of the field. Fisher protested Blouin for forcing him to hit a mark but, while the rest were enjoying the famous Bayside vaudeville show that night, the mark officials stated before a hearing that neither incident actually occurred and there was no disqualification.

LARCHMONT Y. C. RACE—An overcast sky and puffy Northwester of almost reefing velocity greeted the skippers as, with booms on different sides and dead before the wind, they headed for the flash of the Coast Guard’s searchlight which indicated the position of the mark far to the Southard through the gloom. The course was leeward and windward. “Northern Light” held a brief lead. “Iscyra” and “Rhody” then went out but to the East, while “Talita”, “Alya” and “Gavilan” flanked the field to the West. After much gibing, the entire field reached the mark pretty much in a bunch. Fouls were narrowly averted as the skippers indulged in short hitches to get clear and the wind veered about. Some were favored and some headed on every tack. New Orleans, Toledo, and Habana reach home first and with “Rhody” right behind them 1ead the way back to the leeward mark. Blouin, forced to decide between two evils, covered Darlinson and “Rhody” shot through for Narragansett’s second straight victory followed by “Ardara”. Schauer nosed Inslee out for Larchmont’s third piece of silverware and protested the Gravesender for wrongfully calling for room but the protest was not allowed. Gorrin having elected to sail a neutral course fell far hack. The Defender showed little improvement, Fisher drew another 5th, and “Hula” wrapped a wad of seaweed around her rudder and nearly filled from a knockdown as Doswsett crossed the line. Providence was beginning to loom up as the probable scene of the 1925 Series though Los Angeles was only two points behind.

PT. WASHINGTON Y. C. RACE—Being the third day of a N. W. wind it seemed evident that the weather would change and the R. C. was hard put to select a suitable course. At last a triangular one was decided upon. “Iscyra” went over with the flash of the gun. “Doris” following a fraction of a second later from the leeward end of the line. The lead alternated. The wind dropped to almost nothing. “Tempe” finally won the first leg. To the next mark was a very close reach, port tack. Fisher moved into the lead with Elder, Silva, Schauer, and Hubbard as named behind him. With three quarters of the distance covered, the wind went flat. “Ardara”, which had been last, took a hitch to the West and picking up a new wind from that quarter came along with a bone in her teeth. Fisher was favored with a little lick from the N. W. and sailed over to meet him start sheet. Starring and the Californian with a half mile lead won the merry-go-round. Then the others felt the breeze and led by Bainbridge followed. “Iscyra”, “Talita” and “Scrapper” between two winds did not move. That day there were no protests, hot dog, but “Alya” got a knockdown when to windward of “Tempe” and listing over touched her and withdrew. A smoker was held that night at the Port Washington Y. C. Mack was not there but Ed was.

NEW YORK Y. C. EPISODE—A howling gale from the East and rain kicked up mountainous seas against the ebb tide. Tenders were unable to cope with it and eleven entries were forced to seek shelter in the lee of Sand’s Point. There they bent on sails but were told to remain there for further instructions. In the meantime, and contrary to the rules, the signals for a start were given with but five yachts within sight of the line. Inslee, Darlinson, and Clancy in order named sailed around an abbreviated course and were awarded the daily prizes offered by the Club and certainly deserved them but the race in many respects failed to comply with the rules governing races of the Star International Series and it was ruled as no race by the I.R.C. that night. Conflicting instructions and failure to conform with the rules on the part of the officials nearly resulted in a serious mix-up as the Regatta Committee went home after the race and did not listen to the protests. Fortunately the Star rules provide for such occasions and the Association settled the matter. A dislocated knee forced Ed. Gibb, Peconic crew, to withdraw.

MANHASSET BAY Y. C. RACE—The Easterly gale continued and the course was established to the west of Execution where there was some protection. It was leeward and windward. The wind began to moderate even as the signals were being given. Everyone had in a reef but “Rhodv”, “Iscyra”, and “Ardara” shook out just before the start. Again the Defender went out in the lead at the start and was first to round the mark. Schauer and Fisher gibed into each other and became locked. A number of others had to bear away for them and up went the red protest flags. On the wind “Rhody” and “Ardara” had a great scrap. On the second run, all shook out and Blouin went over into the cold water of the Sound twice in the attempt. It is said that the Southerner cannot swim but those who saw him will testify that even Weissmuller could not have beaten him in those two sprints back to the “Talita”. The duel between Comstock and Starring continued and so intent were they upon it that Fisher slipped I in between them for a second place. When the wind died down on the second round, a number of the skippers figured that the long delayed Southwester was about due and tacked to the South to meet it but though they did get it for a few brief moments, it veered back to the East again. “Movie Star II” was disqualified for fouling “Sayonara II”. Many contend that the Los Angeles skipper had a good counter protest against “Dona Bertha” but it was never filed. Armitage replaced Gibb as crew in the Peconic boat.

LAST RACE—The Association conducted the last race. It was another gray day and white-caps dotted the Sound. There was a stiff East wind, but a steady one, and good sized seas. In many respects it was the most ideal racing weather of the series. The course was again windward and leeward. All in a bunch on the starboard tack, they crossed the line, “Movie” leading. Peconic was first to tack out into the tide. The Defender then started to move. Finding itself for the first time, “Iscyra” worked out past “Rhody” and then as “Sayonara” slightly overstood, rounded the weather mark well in the lead. On the run the Defender increased that lead and again on the wind out-pointed and out-footed the field. On the second beat “Iscyra” built up a two minute lead. The last leg home was a mere formality. Bainbridge beat Comstock for second place.

EPILOGUE—It was all over. Narragansett Ray had won. The Series had to leave the Sound anyway under the rules but how much better it was to have it go in this way by a clean cut victory. Western L. I. had gone down to defeat but in the last act of that great drama, the old Fleet had again seen her colors raised above the rest for one brief moment as the sun went down behind Execution rocks and the first gun ever officially fired by the Navy for an International yacht race, indicated that the hostilities were ended for another year. The largest crowd in the history of yacht racing swarmed into the Manhasset Bay Y. C. that night to pay tribute to the new champions and attend the dinner, dancing, movies, and presentation of series prizes. Hundreds were present and hundreds were turned away unab1e to even get in. On the morrow the survivors, who looked as if thee had been through a six day bike race, attended the meeting of the 1927 I.E C. elect. They put in an eight hour session as a heavy mist hung over the harbor and all were thankful that racing was at an end. Upon their return home, Comstock and Gidley were greeted by an enthusiastic throng of their fellow citizens who staged a torch light parade through the streets of the little town of Warwick in celebration of the first International Championship that had ever been brought to their waters. By the old fireside, the boys have been singing “Little Star Boat of Mine”, through the long winter nights and have long since forgotten the barked shins, the nerve-wracking tension, and the ordeals of an International Series and are again eager for the fray. From every side, Narragansett is being warned to take a good look at the old Trophy while they have it because they vow it will be resting at the headquarters of some other Fleet by this time next year.



Yacht                     Fleet                       Skipper            Crew              Club                    Pts.
Rhody                   Narragansett Bay    B. Comstock    W. Gidley            Warwick               73
Ardara                   C.L.I.S.                  D. Starring        F. Bedford          Pequot                  68
Dona Bertha           San Diego Bay       H. Fisher          H. Denhie            San Diego             64
Sayonara II            Peconic Bay           L. Bainbridge    E. Gibb               North Fork            58
Sonny II                 Gravesend Bay       W. Inslee          C. Byram            M. & F.                52
Movie Star II          L.A. Harbor             B. Schauer       T. Parkman         Los Angeles          47
Alya                       W.L.E.                   V. Darlinson     Boice                  Toledo                  42
Tempe II                Newport Harbor       W. Hubbard      W. Hervey            Newport H.           40
Iscyra                     W.L.I.S.                G. Elder           R. Finlay              Manhasset             39
Talita                      N.O.G.                  E. Blouin          O. Humphreys     Southern                34
Hula Star II            Hawaiian Island        H. Dowsett         J. Woolaway       Pearl Harbor.        33
Doris                      C.L.E.                    R. Walton         J. Fraser              Corinthian              30
Lisa                        Bahia Cienfuegos    F. Desilva         F. Villapol           Cienfuegos            29
Gavilan                   F. De Habana         J. Gorrin           A. Bru                 Habana                 29
Scrapper                Detroit River             F. Clancy         W. Meuer           Detroit                   25

Northern Light         Mass.                     L. Curtis           Mary Curtis         Nahant                  11