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1966 North American Championship - Regatta Report

1966 North American Championshi
p - Cleveland
Regatta Results
Report from 1967 Star Class Log by William Parks

Note: This report has been scanned in by Ed Sprague. For a collection of Worlds' reports plus photographs contact Ed Sprague ( ) to order his book "The San Diego Bay Star Fleet".

Cleveland Yachting Club- Rocky River, Ohio- Central Lake Erie Star Fleet 1966 North American Championship- Races- Parties- Races- Ah! What a week! Beautiful!

Many of us have fond remembrances of one regatta or another as being our favorites. Some of us, having been at it for years, tend to find it difficult to place one ahead of the other. They all blend into one pleasing montage of memory. "Cleveland- '66" will long be remembered by all.

Races?- Two in heavy going, 20 to 25 knots. One in medium going- 15 or so. And two real "devils" starting at 8 and going down to zero at times. How's that for variety?

Parties?- Yes Sir! Three types- good!- Better! BEST! Barbecues- Cocktails- Buffets - Box lunches- BEER! Brother!- What a blast!
Facilities?- Yacht Club on a private island with a beautiful new Clubhouse- Plenty of spectator boats- Two boat hoists- Plenty of parking- Swimming pool- Kiddie playground- Marine railway- Boat repair shop- Spar shed- Babysitters- Boat boys- Trophies galore.
Col. Jack Streeton (defeated in his eliminations and fortunately for the contestants, therefore available) conducted the races as chairman of the race committee. George Thomas set the course marks and all races were fairly sailed with lines square and courses true.

The first race, scheduled for Monday, was postponed due to dire predictions from the local weather bureau concerning an approaching front with "destructive" winds. Tuesday was then set for two races, back-to-back. Tuesday dawned cloudy, windy and formidable as the 41 boats went forth to battle each other and that famous Lake Eric chop.

Alan Holt, in Ariel, discovered the wind system on the first thrash to windward and took off on a long port tack to lead at the top mark. Don Bever (1965 Gold Star Winner), Don Trask, Bill Parks and Pete Bennett followed in that order. On the second reach, close and hard, Trask and Parks reached thru Holt and Bever, and Bob Lippincott, in a new fiberglass boat, closed ground on Bennett.

On the second beat, Trask and Parks battled away to a virtual dead heat at the windward mark, but Parks, sailing Gary Comer's Turmoil, got the best of it downwind and finished first, with Trask second, Holt third, Bever fourth, and Bob Lippincott fifth.
Swingin' Star, with Don Trask and Bill Kreysler pushing hard, was not to be done in twice in a row and led at every mark in the second race. Parks and Halperin were second all the way and Pete Bennett bested Bever and Bob Lippincott the second time to windward to capture third.

Allan Holt, who staged a great recovery to start the last run in 7th place, slipped a backstay a mile from the finish and slipped to 26th before finishing sans mast. A piece of fir 4 x 4 served a useful purpose that night, however, as Allan spliced it on the bottom of his spar while the rest of the fleet were enjoying the local hospitality. His efforts were rewarded in the third race, sailed in a left-over slop with about 12 to 15 knots of breeze. He led all the way with Trask second and Ralph De Luca's Avante, Tim Sawyer as crew, grinding out a steady third only to be disqualified later for a starting line infraction. This moved Parks to third, with Bennett, R. Lippincott, and Bever following.

Thus, after three races, Trask led Parks by one point, with Bever and Bennett 9 points out and Lippincott 10 points out. The fourth race, started in a steadily dying 8 knot breeze, saw Holt grab the lead, with Bever close behind followed by Bennett and Trask, with Parks rounding the first mark in 9th position and R. Lippincott way back in the fleet. On the second upwind leg Holt sailed into a vacuum, as Bever, Trask and Bennett went by. Parks and Lippincott split tacks and made up much lost ground on the fleet. Bever came home first, followed by Trask, Bennett, Parks, Holt and Lippincott.

The fifth race was a real cliffhanger. Started in light, 6 to 8 knot winds in a sloppy sea, it gradually faded to zero with everyone becalmed on the last run. Bever led at the weather mark, closely followed by Parks, Bennett and Trask. The second weather leg, which took about one hour to negotiate, saw Bever cut out a two minute lead (you could tell he grew up on Lake Erie). Holt was second, Trask 7th, Parks 17th, and Bennett 19th.

On the last run, with the time limit almost gone, a breeze sprang up close to shore where some other classes were racing. Bennett, Parks, De Luca, Pike Sullivan and others took off for shore. They reached the freshening breeze just in time and Parks grabbed the lead a half mile from the finish, while Bever floundered, hopelessly becalmed. Don Trask, who was buried in the lead group, saw the "handwriting on the wall" and jibed out of trouble just in time to get over into the new shore wind before it was too late. Executing a brilliant recovery, he sailed thru 3 or 4 boats within the last half mile of the finish as everyone went thru a frantic sail drill in the fluttering wind. Parks finished first with 4 minutes left on the time limit, followed by Pike Sullivan, in Navillus, then by Trask, Nils Eriksson, and Bennett.

Don Trask and Bill Kreysler really earned their Silver Star under a variety of conditions with 200 points, based on their 2-1-2-2-3 finishes. Bill Parks and Buck Halperin, second for the second time in as many years, ended up with 199 points on finishes of 1-2-3-4-1. They were followed by Pete Bennett and Mickey Shanahan with 188, Don Bever and Joe Sharpnack with 179, and Bob Lippincott and Walter Flynn with 176.

The final banquet, held in the Cleveland Sheraton Hotel, was a perfect climax to a wonderful week that all of us will remember for a long time to come.