District 2  Regatta Report

Sat Sep 24th, 2016 through Sun Sep 25th, 2016

NSHOF Classic Wooden Sailboat Race



The National Sailing Hall of Fame in Annapolis, MD hosted the 7th Annual Classic Wooden Sailboat Rendezvous and Race, 24 & 25 September 2016. The event is a fun gathering of classic wooden sailboats, showcasing their history and elegance, and is open to wooden hulled sailboats designed prior to 1970 and under 65' in length. This year 23 boats participated in 5 different classes. Stars raced as their own one-design class. This is a perfect event for classic woody Stars and is a tremendous amount of fun.

A rendezvous at the National Sailing Hall of Fame’s docks is held on Saturday, giving everyone an opportunity to show off their boats. In 2016 four Stars were displayed:
* Keith Donald’s HOPE (#4125, built 1959)
* John Sherwood & Tom Price's CONFLICT (#4100, built 1959)
* Elliott Oldak's SASHAY (#3779, built 1956)
* Kris Uebersax & Tom Gahs's TROUT (#178, built 1924).

The race uses a pursuit style start (based on the Portsmouth handicap rules) so that faster boats start later than the slower boats, and if everyone sailed a perfect race, all the boats would theoretically finish the same time. The course is a multi-lap fixed triangular course in the approaches to Annapolis Harbor. Because of their speed, and associated handicap, Stars started more than an hour after the first boat.

The 4 Stars truly ruled this year. The wind turned squirrelly and full of holes so the Race Committee shortened the course to only 2 laps. In those 2 laps the Stars passed all but 2 of the boats that had started before us. Had we gone the 3 full laps we most likely would have passed those too.

At different times in the race each boat held every possible position in the 4 boat Star Class. In general though Keith Donald's HOPE took off like a rocket ship and led for most of the race.

The wind got especially squirrelly on the last reaching leg. The wind came in pockets. You’d be powering along, going really fast, and then suddenly it would drop off. The positions between 2nd and 4th place changed minute by minute. Depending on how the wind caught each boat, it would leap frog ahead and then the same thing would happen to another boat – even when the boats were only a few boat lengths apart. It was wild.

Blanketing is really important with this race. Several of these boats are really big and have a cloud of sail hoisted. If you get stuck close under their lee, their sails will rob you of any wind, and it's just death. Between marks, we’ve learned you have to sail to windward of the bigger boats. When you get to a turning mark though, the bigger boats tend to make large sweeping turns, and if you’re stuck outside of them, you're also forced to make large sweeping turns, and that's generally death. So how you approach the big boats when they’re all bunched around a turning mark is really important.

Final results for the Star Class were (note that there was only 3 seconds difference between 2nd and 3rd place): 1st Place (2nd overall): Keith Donald & Kris Wilson, HOPE (#4125), 13:23:11 (finishing time)
2nd Place (4th overall): John Sherwood & Tom Price, CONFLICT (#4100), 13:31:49
3rd Place (5th overall): Elliott Oldak & Barbara Beigel Vosbury, SASHAY (#3779), 13:31:52
4th Place (6th overall): Tom Gahs & Tom Awalt, TROUT (#178), 13:32:26

In 2017 we would love to grow the Star woody fleet. Consider joining us next year if you have a woody Star and pass the word to anyone who might be interested. Contact Tom Gahs at talkgahs@comcast.net if you’d like more information.

Place Boat Skipper Crew Sail #: Fleet 1 Total
1 Hope   Keith Donald   Chris Wilson   4125   AN   1.0 1
2 Conflict   John Sherwood   Tom Price   4100   CB   2.0 2
3 Sashay   Elliott Oldak   Barbara Beigel Vosbury   3779   AN   3.0 3
4 Trout   Tom Gahs   Tom Awalt   178   CB   4.0 4

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