Article by Cliff Martin:
The US Vintage Model Yacht Group held this year’s national regatta in Honey Brook, PA. Over 30 skippers, with over 60 boats showing up to compete.
Cliff Martin, Herb Dreher, Rick Gates and Rick Laird attended, competing in the Vintage Marblehead (VM) and Vintage-36 (V36) classes. Jim Linville attended but had mechanical issues in his V36 that prevented him from sailing that class. He ultimately withdrew from the VM class because the course was very spread out and too much for him to see the marks or walk the course.
The V36 class had 18 competitors and was sailed over two ½-days, with a day in between. I must say what a difference a day makes. Herb and I were sailing Comet-36’s, Rick Gates was sailing his newer find, a Peterson Double Ender and Rick Laird was sailing a Starlet.
The first day was calm with 3 – 4 mph winds and everybody was challenged to keep their boats moving in the lighter breezes. Herbs and my Comet’s sailed well and we were at the top of the fleet at the end of day one (I might have even been ahead at this point).
However, day two was blustery with 10 mph winds and everyone was challenged to keep control of their boats in the gusts. The tuning on my Comet was not good for the winds and I struggled for control in the gusts (tuning during the race was not possible). Herb’s Comet, on the other hand, was quite at home in the wind and at the end of the day Herb got 1st place and I got 4th (missed 3rd by one point). Rick Laird was in 11th place and Rick Gates was somewhere around there in the mix.
The VM class had over 20 boats and included Traditional, High Flyer and Classic designs. This class was also sailed over two ½-days and the wind was healthy at 8-10 mph on both days. These bigger boats were very happy. Herb was sailing his High Flyer-Sun Wind and I was sailing my High Flyer-Magic Dragon I. Rick Gates was sailing another new find, his great looking but unknown Traditional VM design and Rick Laird was sailing his Traditional VM-Madcap.
The High Flyers and Classic fleets tend to be a little faster on some points of sail, so on day one they started 1-minute ahead of the Traditional fleet. On day two the fleets all started together. Fast or not, sailing in and through fleets of this size is always a challenge. As you can imagine, staying on the wind and out of trouble can be difficult at the starts and around marks.
In the end, I got 1st place in the High Flyer/Classic division and Herb got 2nd. Rick Laird got 4nd in the Traditional division. Rick Gates got a respectable finish even though he has little thumb-time with this new VM….new boats take time to learn.
Jim Linville would rather have sailed, but he had fun watching, critiquing, and visiting with his friends. On the blustery day, with my V36 struggling, I wanted to be him.
It was an intense few days, but fun. We hope to do it again, next year.
Author Note: There may have been more action with Rick Gates and Rick Laird, but I just couldn’t watch them very much and sail against Herb.