Back in the horse and buggy days when beer was five cents a glass, the Star class sailed its maiden race at the western end of Long Island Sound. Little one-designs were then as plentiful as fleas on a dog's back. They came and went without fanfare, unnoticed by the public and usually unrecorded by the Press. That is probably why the doings of the Nahant Stars are veiled in obscurity. Those eleven New England Stars, which the owners may not have even known to be Stars, began racing a little later in that same summer of 1911. They played no part, however, in the early history of the class. The growth and development of the class took place on Long Island Sound and its western end has often been spoken of as "The cradle of the Star."
Half of the original twenty-two Stars were owned on one side of the Sound and half on the other. While it has been lost sight of, the Star actually started off as an inter-club class, a rarity indeed among small one-designs of that era. Nothing of moment happened during the first three years, according to Pop Corry, except the American Yacht Club fire. It was reported that its entire fleet of eleven Stars were destroyed. That is incorrect. It is true that American Yacht Club members no longer participated in Star races, after the fire, but nearly all of the boats were salvaged and found their way to other clubs. This I can state with authority, as I did not join the Star class until a couple of years after the fire; yet I have myself seen all of the original Ike Smith Stars, except numbers 7 and 13. The fact is that both of these boats are recorded as having owners, so it is entirely possible that none were lost.
The story of those early years can be told in about two words - Pop Corry. He did not win every race, but the lion's share of them. For example, his Little Dipper, No. 17, won four of the first five Star championships of Long Island Sound. Up until 1915 might well be called the Corry age, for as a skipper, he easily outranked anyone else in the class. If the Star was not news, Pop was. He took the fancy of the yachting scribes and they usually managed to work in a line or two about him. If he did not win you might read, for instance, that due to adverse conditions he was only able to place third among the Stars, but not a word about who finished first and second. You might find out by looking at the summaries and again you might not. The Stars were among the last to start and the order of finish of the little classes was the first thing to be deleted if the summaries took up too much space.
I can contribute quite a few facts from memory about the fourth unorganized year. This is partially due to the fact that I was aware of what was going on in 1914, but not entirely so. The class had more than doubled, there were many new owners and those fellows were beginning to feel their oats. They demanded recognition and obtained some, but not much. Pop was still king pin. He was not yet being called Pop, but the press had already begun to refer to him as the "Father of the Stars."
Perhaps this is the best place to tell about how I happened to become connected with the Star class. in whose interest I was destined to devote innumerable hours of work for the better part of my life. Gerry Ford, the yacht broker was responsible. I wanted an inexpensive little one-design boat to tow around behind the yawl and race here and there. He sold me the Comet, No. 14, which was one of the original Smith Stars. Incidentally, it was also one of those erroneously reported lost in the American Y.C. fire. The former owner, Jack McMahon, of South Norwalk, later became better-known as a Star crew.
I already belonged to the New Haven Yacht Club. It was a nice little club and a very convenient place to stop off, cash a check and have a good meal, when cruising up and down the Sound. The Comet needed conditioning and I took it there to have the work done. Unbeknown to me, in 1913 and 1914, Morris Cove boasted of a very active group of Versoy built Stars. They were too far from the western end of the Sound to enter any championship regattas, but did send a few Stars to Larchmont Race Week. Here again I have been unable to obtain any record of local results. Like most isolated one-design classes, interest soon waned and the Morris Cove group disbanded.
The first thing I did was order a new suit of sails from Chris Bottger. Yes, this was the same Chris Bottger who measured sails for the 1952 U.S. Star Olympic trials. Chris brought those sails to New Haven himself and fitted them on the Comet's spars. My bill amounted to thirty six dollars including his railroad fare from New York and return, as well as his time for an entire day. . . Star owners of the present day please note.
New Haven had a big harbor, which provided an excellent twice-around triangle, starting and finishing at the club. I sailed my first Star race there on July 4, 1914. With George Cochran, who became my regular crew for several years, the Comet stepped out into the lead and steadily kept increasing it. That was probably due to the new sails. On the last leg, a beat, we must have been half a mile ahead of the second boat. I do not know its number. For that matter I did not know any of those Star skippers or the names of their boats. In fact the only person whom I knew at the club was Jack, he bartender. The second Star tacked inshore and so did I It was the orthodox thing to do. The only trouble was that I did not know the local waters. Where the second boat tacked, there was plenty of water inshore. Within about two hundred yards of the finish there was not. I sailed the Comet right into a mud flat and we remained there until a launch was sent to tow us off. It taught me a valuable lesson. Thereafter, when racing in unfamiliar waters, I always studied the chart very carefully. That was the first and the last tine I ever raced the Comet.
Several days later Irving Versoy informed me that the owner of No. 36 was willing to swap Stars, if I added $50.00, each to keep his own sails. I still think it was a good trade. I got a boat that was two years younger and much more substantially built. It was a more expensive Star and, with new sails, I was all equipped for less than it cost the original owners to buy their Ike Smith boats. No. 36 was renamed Zete. It took a little time to put the boat in proper shape and get the numbers changed on the sails. As a result I missed Larchmont week. We were ready, however, to go to Gravesend Bay. On the way we stopped at New Rochelle to enter a Sound championship race. Adrian Iselin, sailing the Snapper, No. 3, just did nose Zete out of third place. That was big league competition, however, and I was more than satisfied. What happened during the following week at the Atlantic Y.C. has already been related in chapter one.
It is safe to say, with all due modesty, that I had more general boating knowledge than the average new Star owner. Mind you, I said boating knowledge, not racing experience. There is a decided difference, a fact that I was to learn very quickly.
I owned and lived aboard my own boat, practically the entire year, since I was a kid of twelve. While other youngsters here sweating over textbooks, I was gunning and fishing, back in the days when both fish and game were plentiful. It may not have been too conducive to study, but, with a little tutoring, I managed to enter college at the average age. I raced cats on the Peconic for a couple of years and won the season's championship. At the time I bought the Comet, I was the proud owner of a sixty-foot auxiliary yawl. While there had been a lapse of five years since my small boat racing, I kept the yawl on the Sound during the summer months and learned a lot about rules and procedure from personal observation. It did not take me too long to adjust myself to the racing game, but in those early days Star racing had not reached the highly developed science of today.
I do not wish to bore the reader with my personal background, but am doing so for a reason. To this very day there are fellows that can scarcely sail a boat in and out of a harbor, who believe, if they buy an expensive Star, the rest depends entirely upon the boat. You simply cannot make them realize that yacht racing requires ability the same as any other sport. They would not expect, just because they could buy a Stradivarius, to become the world's foremost violinist. Yet they seem to look upon yacht racing in a different light and if they do not win, blame the boat. Out of the hundreds who try the sport, only a very few ever attain a degree of efficiency that enables them to win a World's Championship, or even a District Championship. This is especially true of the Star Class, into which has been crammed the cream of the world's small boat talent.
To return to our story, we raced the Zete for the rest of 1914, although I cannot recall the results, and remained in Manhasset Bay for a few weeks after the season ended. It was during that period that we made the first move toward forming the Star Class Association of America. It was an impressive name, but actually only a little loose-knit class organization. All of its members were on the Sound and the majority in Manhasset Bay. Dues were one dollar and class rules scarcely filled a normal mimeographed sheet. Four Star owners at Toledo, on Lake Erie, enrolled the following year, which justified the last two words in the association's name.
Pop, of course, was elected president. Credit for forming the Star Class Association of America and starting the ball rolling, however, goes to Allen Walker, its first secretary. Allen never set the world on fire as a Star skipper. He was even subject to mal de mer and withdrew from a number of races. On the other hand he was a good organizer and a bundle of energy. From the very beginning, therefore, our most efficient officer was a mediocre skipper. That has usually been true and is not difficult to understand. One who cannot become famous by winning, can gain recognition and respect by the work he does. Furthermore, being of the rank and file himself, he can see the picture more clearly and the needs of the class as a whole. The expert is more apt to devote his time to his boat and his thoughts to his personal problems. Naturally there have been exceptions, but generally speaking our best officers have been enthusiastic Star skippers of mediocre racing ability.
Buck Hyde was made treasurer, although his Star was still under construction, and I was named vice-president. The other officers were men in their forties, while I was at least twenty years younger. Even in those days towing was an important consideration. Mornings were calm and the afternoon southerly (which no longer reaches the Sound) never put in an appearance much before starting time. During the closing weekends of 1914, the Dawn II had taken a number of Manhasset Bay Stars to and from Sound regattas. Someone must have figured that she might become a sort of unofficial towboat and was right. My election was due to the Dawn II. During the teens the old yawl never left or returned to the Bay on Saturdays without having a string of Stars astern. She became so well known to Star owners, west of Execution, that a brief summary of her own exploits seems to be in order.
Her racing number was N 2. During the twelve years I owned the Dawn II, she won three of the four events in which I entered her. All three were of an entirely different character. I made the mistake of entering one of the Larchmont Week races. That was before I had a Star. At that time I always had a full crew (in more ways than one) consisting mostly of fraternity brothers. With her flat sails, the yawl was becalmed a short distance from the start, while class after class passed us. That was the first time I ever saw Stars in action. The last class to sail by were the Bayside Butterflies, a sort of glorified bedpan, with the sail area of an umbrella. That was just a little too much to take. We started the engine and went back into the harbor.
That same week she won Larchmont's illuminating contest. We picked up a lot of red, white and blue one hundred ten volt lights, wiring and all, for one dollar fifty cents. The man who was taking down some street decorations even threw in a number of Japanese lanterns. The lights were connected to the dynamo, while the engine was left running. It was too much of a load and they kept flaring up and growing dim. It was unintentional, but effective. At the inspection hour, we hoisted a string of giant sparklers (also second hand) and a quartet, beneath a lantern bordered awning, completed the tableau. But there was no inspection. The boys got mad and the songs less refined. We went ashore and located the commodore watching a movie. He admitted that he had forgotten all about the contest. The other entries were all big steam yachts, adorned with a burgee or private signal in colored lights, which must have cost a pretty penny. A choice between them would have been difficult. We pointed out that our display was different. The commodore saw an out and grabbed it. He took us into the bar and formally presented us with first prize. He was a good guy and a fine host. When he learned that our efforts had cost less than four dollars, he thought it a huge joke and a splendid excuse for an all-night celebration.
Some years later, N 2 won a bona fide sailing race. It was a squadron run from New Haven to New London held by the Seawanhaka Corinthian Y.C. We were headed east anyway and entered. It was so thick that you could not see two lengths ahead, but there was a nice little fog breeze dead ahead. No attempt was made to point. We sailed a compass course for a buoy we felt sure we could make and sighted it as per schedule. Then we tacked for one on the opposite shore and the same thing happened. It may have been luck or my efforts at dead reckoning. A vicious squall hit us at dusk and we went boiling towards New London in pitch dark. It dropped out and shifted to a light northerly, when we were in sight of the committee's red flares. It was almost impossible to make any headway against the current coming out of the Thames and we did not finish until after 1:30 a.m. The results showed that the Dawn II had won in the class for L, M and N yawls and ketches. Why? Because all the rest were lost in the fog and never finished. A big black ketch, the Windward, was among them. It boasted of never having been beaten in its class before.
The old yawl's last exploit, believe it or not, was to win a powerboat race. It also started from New Haven and our entry was again impromptu. We were given a handicap, based upon our engine, but told we had no chance. All the other entries were cabin cruisers, mostly small Elcos. An easier kicked up a sea during the night and was still blowing hard. When those little cruisers stuck their noses outside the breakwater, they were tossed around like corks. A gust would hit their high cabins and drive them back half the distance they had gained. With our low trunk cabin, flush deck and heavy duty forty h.p. Standard, we ploughed through it at our regular nine and one-half knots. Of course we won. We had dinner at the club and were back aboard getting ready to turn in when the first cruiser finished. I have tried a lot of different kinds of competition from marathon running to checkers. I can honestly say, however, that I have never experienced anything as uninteresting as a race between cabin cruisers. And so ends the saga of the good ship Dawn II, which has already taken up too much space in what is supposed to be a story of the Star class.
In 1915 the character of Star racing underwent a change. Pop Corry was still recognized as the leading skipper, but his supremacy was being challenged by Willis, Hyde and me. We were always well up and now and then one of us would beat him. He won the Sound Championship, but lost Larchmont Week to Willis. Port Washington Y.C. Star owners were becoming condition conscious. They bought a hand winch and steel cable. Every Sunday night their Stars were floated into cradles, at high water, and rolled up on a sloping beach to the north of the club, when the tide went out. They were kept dry and light during the week, while their bottoms were continually worked on, and launched Friday night. This was a must, and if the tide was at an inconvenient hour, alarm clocks were set. Pop could have paid his share and joined us, but he never paid much attention to the condition of his boat. He felt that to tie her up to the Manhasset Bay Y.C. dock for one tide and rub off the bottom was enough. This, I believe, accounts more than anything else for his eventual downfall.
We learned that year that Star keels were too far forward and shifted them about two and one-half inches aft. The boats no longer wallowed, but stepped right up to windward in a breeze. Tuning was still very difficult. As yet the various parts of a Star were not movable. You had to be absolutely sure of what you were doing before you tried it. Moving the mast a little fore or aft meant cutting a larger hole in the deck. Ed Willis was one of the all time greats. His sixth sense of tune was more highly developed than that of anyone else. He was always glad to help the Star owners of his own club. The showing of Port Washington Y.C. Stars, in the early teens, was due as much to his advice as to their condition.
Pop finished the 1915 season in a blaze of glory, by winning the first Captain's Island race, just beating Bill Inslee. It started and finished in Manhasset Bay and the course, exclusive of tacking, was about forty miles. It provided both Bay and Sound sailing. Since you could leave Execution Light on either hand and sail on either the north or south shore of the Sound, one had to be a good guesser of wind, weather and tide.
I donated the first cup. While eligible for daily prizes (there were always five) the conditions provided that my points would not count. Willis retired the cup in three years. While I took two seconds, it did not affect the points and enabled him to win sooner than he would have otherwise. A group of Manhasset Bay Y.C. members gave us the second Captain's Island Cup, which Colin Ratsey, of the Solent, eventually won. J. Roulon Miller, of the Chesapeake, presented us with the third cup, a perpetual one, which is still being raced for. The Captain's Island race is the oldest strictly-Star event in existence. It was not even interrupted for either world war.
During the last war, yachts were not allowed to cross the channel, near Execution Light. This led to a change in the Western L.I.S. fleet's territory. The event is now being held off Larchmont, over a regular Sound course, which goes to Captain's Island. It is longer than average, but eliminates all the original characteristics of this classic and attracts very few outside entries. True, Manhasset Bay is now overcrowded, but that was one of the intended hazards. The conditions were devised by me and approved of by the first winner, the late Commodore Corry. It was a grueling contest, with all the elements of luck that go with Bay racing, but that was what attracted outside entries. I am quite sure that one of the original clubs, if properly approached, would hold the event for old times sake. If not, the fleet could hold it, starting and finishing in Manhasset Bay. That would restore its original character, which Roulon Miller sought to perpetuate.
The first Atlantic Coast Star Smoker was held at Mouquin's, on Sixth Avenue, New York City. It was famous for its red wine and that was what most of the boys drank. That smoker has been held every year since 1915 and I have attended every one up to 1952.
Allen Walker, a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, arranged for a demonstration of the first trans-continental telephone. Earphones were at each place. We heard the various connections being made, the roar of the Pacific surf and then Pop talked to the commodore of the San Francisco Y.C. He challenged him to have California build a Star and race us for the championship of the U.S.A. Both laughed. No one realized that within a decade it would actually happen.
Bill McHugh was the impromptu toastmaster. He was sort of a rough diamond forerunner of "Lash" Nelson. Bill "wrasseled" the head waiter, the hat check girl and several others with success. Later he tackled a New York cop, but lost that bout.
During that same year of 1915, we held a meeting of the Star Class Association of America, at which I submitted a graphic chart of a proposed method of organization. Probably because of the Dawn II, they did not laugh at me, but probably thought I was slightly touched in the head. I was given a polite brush off and the organization chart was pigeonholed for another six years.
There were a couple of personal incidents, which I recall from 1915, that may give the reader an idea of the conditions that then prevailed. I cannot, for example, forget winning the twenty-fifth Anniversary Regatta of the Stamford Y.C. I cannot forget because I see the prize every day. It is a sterling silver pitcher, of Plymouth design, which was worth about one hundred dollars even at that time. Stamford was a long trip and very few of the western boys went. Commander Fry, with his navy launch and professional crew, however, did. We figured that he was the only one who had a chance of beating us. There were quite a few entries, but they were from what is now the Central L.I.S. Fleet. None were very good, except McHugh, although we had not yet learned to take him too seriously.
Cochran started an argument with the commander, just before the preparatory signal. I do not recall what it was about, but the idea was to make him mad and it did. He did not notice the signals or look at his watch. As soon as the preparatory came down, we headed casually for the line. We took an almost perfect start at the stakeboat, while the commander was still sputtering away at Cochran. It was only then that he realized the Stars were starting. It gave us a lead of a good one hundred yards, and winning after that was easy. At that time anything was fair in love or yacht racing, if you could get away with it.
Then there was a race held by some little club off Captain's Island. It was not Indian Harbor and I cannot recall its name. The big yachts were sent off to the east, but the little fellows were given a special course around Great and Little Captain's Island. The start was rather confused. All the entries started to the eastward, as the big yachts had done, except Charlie Davis, sailing Neptune, and me. We went to the west. It was a very dangerous course for a keel boat, as it took us among many unbuoyed rocks. Charlie Davis was a very fine skipper, with lots of experience. He did not sail a Star too often. If he had, he would have made a name for himself. I simply followed in his wake. If he hit anything, I figured I might be able to keep clear. I do not mean that I could have beaten him, because I probably could not have done so. He was the one who protested. The circular read "Around Great and Little Captain's Island." No reverse course signal had been displayed. The others all sailed around Little Captain's Island first. They were all disqualified. Davis was first and I was second.
A somewhat similar incident happened, probably in 1924 or 1925, which I had better relate while I have it mind. Cochran was practicing medicine and I had no regular crew. I wanted to enter the annual regatta of the American Y.C., which was always held on July 3. A week of phoning produced no results, so I took the club steward, a fellow named Quail, who had always wanted to sail in a race. He was late in getting away and we must have been ten minutes from the line when we cast off from our tow. Just as we crossed I said, "Ease the sheet," and the whole mainsail came down, most of it in the water. A great laugh went up from the committee boat. We managed to get the slides back on the mast and the sail up. By that time the rest were almost out of sight, but we were over the line and had to go on. I was about to round the buoy, which the others had rounded, when I happened to see the Little Dipper coming from the opposite direction. We sailed toward it and Pop yelled, "Reverse course." Having nothing to lose, I sailed all the way over to the other mark. By the time we finished, everyone had gone home. Pop was right, however. The red flag had been up. All the others, except Pop and I were disqualified.
An amusing thing happened in 1915, which might have ended very seriously. On the first Sunday of Race Week, Pop sailed the Little Dipper over to Larchmont. He was attired in a black and white checked suit, wore the usual high collar and black stock tie and a straw hat. It was an off day, but the harbor was full of large yachts. He tipped his hat or waved to those he knew. In passing Dawn II, he asked if we could keep an eye on his Star until he returned the next day, as he was having lunch at the club and had a ride home. Then he headed for the Zete, which was anchored as close to shore as possible, to get out of the traffic. Pop was alone. He shot up into the wind and, when his boat had lost headway, rushed forward and gave the anchor a mighty heave. He did not notice, however, that one foot was in the center of the coiled cable. Suddenly Pop followed the anchor. Somehow he managed to grab the bow and hang on, yelling for help.
It so happened that we had a small boat tied to the stern. Cochran and I jumped in and reached him in no time. What we saw was so funny, however, that all we could do was laugh and were unable to row further. Only his head was above water. The straw hat was jammed down over his eyes, so he could not see, a soggy cigar was still in his mouth and he was bellowing harder than ever. By that time other row boats were around, but they were also resting on their oars and laughing. Finally it dawned on us that something was really wrong. We managed to retrieve Pop and the anchor. The cable was wound around his ankle so tightly that he could never have removed it under water. The weight of the anchor had been pulling him down and his grip on the bow was weakening. When we got him aboard and out of his wet clothes, we found that his shin had been cut from knee to ankle. On the way back to Port Washington, he sat in the galley and drank hot coffee. The next day, after a doctor had fixed him up, he was as good as new.
There was a Ladies Race at Atlantic Week that year. Mom Corry was the skipper and Pop was the crew. The Little Dipper was leading and Pop was tending the mainsheet, in a puffy wind, on a reach. It got away from him. He had forgotten to tie a knot at the end. Before he could grab it, the sheet had run through the blocks. When we passed them, Pop was trying to pick up a loose end of the sheet with the whisker-pole. The air was blue and what his skipper said cannot be repeated. I do not remember who won, but it was not the Little Dipper.
Star races conducted by the Seawanhaka Corinthian Y.C. were always my nemesis. It was a long trip up to Oyster Bay and most of us would have been better off had we remained at home. My first experience was against a rather large field of Stars. The Dawn II had towed up quite a number, while others picked up tows of their own. Indian Harbor was holding some sort of a special race on the same day. One of its stakeboats was placed in close proximity to the one we were to round. Both, if I recall correctly, displayed white shapes. In any event the description in our race circular could have applied to either. We passed the Indian Harbor stakeboat first and all the Stars rounded it and all of them were disqualified for sailing the wrong course. I believe that I have stated elsewhere that I was never disqualified in a Star race. Technically that is an error, as the Zete was included in that wholesale disqualification. I feel I can be excused for not counting it. That race should have been ruled "no contest." The precedent has been established in numerous cases, where the instructions were confusing. Little one-designs, in those days, were only tolerated, however, and were supposed to consider themselves lucky to even be included in a regatta.
The next time I raced off Oyster Bay was almost as bad. We were started in such light air that a lot of the large yachts were unable to stem the tide and a number of them anchored. Then we were hit by one of the worst squalls I have ever seen. We tried to keep going under the jib, but it was blown to ribbons. We tried to anchor, but it would not hold and were almost swamped. Finally we managed to lash the jaws of the gaff to the boom and tie a stop around the sail. With about four feet of sail, we were able to maintain headway. It was as black as night and we had no idea where we were or in what direction we were sailing. Fearing that we might go aground, we kept sailing back and forth over the same bottom, insofar as we could tell. After about half an hour it began to get light again. There was the good old Dawn II, not a hundred yards away. For that matter, we were about that distance from the line. I can tell you that we were mighty glad to take a line and be towed back to the harbor and so were many others.
We learned later that evening that one Star had finished. It was handled by a couple of youngsters, who had never figured much in Star racing before. It was so black during the squall that I doubt if they could have seen the mark had they passed within five feet of it. Once it was over, there was an almost flat calm. No one could understand how that Star could have possibly completed the course within the time limit. On the other hand we had no proof that it had not done so. No one protested and it was awarded the race. The rest received D.N.F.'s, which did not help their percentages in the Sound Championship. It was quite a number of years before any of the good boys, from the western end of the Sound, attempted to enter a Seawanhaka Corinthian regatta again.
Ed Willis was the outstanding Star skipper of 1916. Buck Hyde won the Sound Championship and Adrian Iselin took Larchmont Week. Willis, however, won the majority of the races, including Atlantic Week and the Captain's Island race. Those were the four important Star events of that period. Perhaps the one thing that can best be remembered about that season is that we caught up with and passed Pop Corry. Under unusual conditions, such as a fog, bad squall or even in a Captain's Island Race, his years of experience still counted. Over an ordinary afternoon triangle, however, he could no longer place and, from then on, kept falling back more and more.
Prizes were prizes in those days. There were only about twenty-two Sound Championships, held on Saturdays and holidays. The clubs that were able to get on the schedule made their annual regattas memorable affairs. A third daily, for the lowly Star class, was better than the average series trophy of today. A few clubs mailed you orders on a well-known silversmith. The great majority, however, selected their own prizes and sent them to you. They arrived usually during November. Opening the packages was exciting and sort of a premature Christmas.
The Zete did not win too many firsts that year, but 1916 contributed more prizes to the trophy cabinet than any other. The inscriptions on quite a number of them were for two or more races held by the same club. Actually the Zete placed in over seventy-five per cent of her starts. Doing away with the daily third was a minor tragedy. While it did not mean much to the really good skipper, it represented a year's effort to the little fellow. If it was not for the mediocre and poor skipper, there would be very few yachting entries indeed. The inscription, not the intrinsic value, was what mattered. A cheap medal or brass ash tray, inscribed with the club's initials, place and year, would be good enough and could be bought, even today for around one dollar and fifty cents. Is it not worth that to encourage the rank and file, who make yacht racing possible?
I still boil with indignation over a lengthy speech made by a delegate from a small club, to the Y.R.A. of L.I.S. He spoke of racing skippers as "mug hunters." That is about the most unfair characterization of a racing skipper I can think of. What was really in his mind was that the small clubs could not afford prizes of equal value to the large ones, and therefore, that no prizes should be given. This happened some years after the first world war and resulted in pennants being given for a couple of years. No one wanted those dust collectors, or knew what to do with them, and most clubs then discontinued the practice of giving any form of daily prize for an individual race.
Tennis, golf and athletic clubs, etcetera, always give prizes for the open events they conduct in such sports. Why should the yacht club be immune? If it is now supported by members who are not interested in sailing, then let it call itself a country or social club or whatever it is. Who has a better right to be a mug hunter than your racing skipper? He has become the chief contributor to the club's prize fund. Is he not entitled to some sort of memento, when he himself pays for it? The trouble is that, in some localities there are more yacht clubs than there are racing skippers to distribute among them. People join those clubs because they are yacht clubs. Well then, let them also contribute to the fund for sailing prizes or call the club by its correct name, whatever that may be.