Hercules, the German Frers maxi yacht that George Coumantaros donated to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, has had a busy sailing season since it was commissioned last May. When Vice Admiral Joseph D. Steward, Superintendent of USMMA read Commissioning Order to Captain Eric Wallischeck, which said, in part, "It is required that no time be lost in carrying the ship into deep water...", the Midshipmen took the command seriously, and have been racing her in venues far and near. Her next venture is the Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race on July 10. This race was started in 1905, and actually pre-dates the first Bermuda Race in 1906. After being sporadically run for about 30 years, the Boston Yacht Club and the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron, the third oldest yacht club in the United States and the oldest yacht club in North America, respectively, joined forced and have been sponsoring the biennial event since 1939. Alternating with the Newport Bermuda Race, the Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race is considered the pre-eminent North Atlantic ocean race. This year's race has attracted 123 boats for the centennial race, at which 20 perpetual trophies are awarded, recognizing such accomplishments as team challenges, the fastest double-handed yacht, and the fastest all-women yacht, in addition to division and class winners. The race begins early afternoon on Sunday, July 10 at Tinkers Gong just outside of Marblehead Harbor, bringing over 100 yachts to the starting line, plus Race Committee boats and over 1,000 spectator vessels. It promises to be an exciting beginning to this 360 mile race that takes competitors past Cape Ann, across the Gulf of Maine, the Bay of Fundy, and the southern tip of Nova Scotia and on to the finish line. Good luck to Ralf Steitz, Director of Offshore Sailing at USMMA, and the Midshipmen. www.marbleheadtohalifzx.com.
After more than 37 years in dry-dock at Greenwich, London, Sir Francis Chichester's famous yacht, Gipsy Moth IV, set sail on June 20, thanks to the Paul Gelder, the editor of Yachting Monthly magazine who spearheaded a two-year campaign to save the famous vessel. The UK Sailing Academy (UKSA), the new owners of Gypsy Moth IV, worked tirelessly with Camper & Nicholson - the boat yard where she was originally built - on one of the speediest restoration projects in recent maritime history. It was Chichester who sailed solo around the world in 1966 at the age of 66, circumnavigating three capes, with only one stop in Sydney, Australia for repairs, setting the fastest time around the world for any small vessel. For this feat, Chichester was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen in 1967. Chichester, who died in 1972, would most likely be very pleased with the plans for his renovated Gipsy Moth IV. Young people, nominated by schools, youth charities and associations, will have the opportunity to be trained by UKSA, some of them selected to crew aboard Gipsy Moth IV during legs of her second round the world voyage, with starts from Plymouth on Sept. 25. All the young people selected have faced challenges throughout their lives and will benefit from participating in a global tour, which aims to develop their skills, resourcefulness and determination. www.gipsymoth.org
Speaking of boat restoration, there is news from Bone Yard Boats. That's the nine-year old national newsletter written by Ginger Marshall Martus, whose mission is to "help save forgotten, abandoned, but worthy boats before they disappear forever." After the summer issue, Ginger will turn over the newsletter to its new owner/publisher David F. Irving. Irving, who was originally from Marblehead, MA, but now lives in Charleston, SC, has previous publishing experience, a genuine reverence for bats and the nautical life. Both David and Ginger will be at the Wooden Boat Show in Newport, RI on Aug. 26-28. If you happen to be in the area, stop by and meet the new owner. If you can't make it up to Newport, Ginger will be around our area, as she is still a member of the Port Washington YC and visits frequently.
Port Washington YC was the Race Committee for the weekend of July 2-3. Top Sonars for Saturday, July 2, Race 1 (8 boats): 1. #682, Puff, Ralf Steitz, 2. #396, Delight, Bob Kirtland, and 3. #421, Weekend Warrior, Dan Simon/Bill Simon/Einar Haukeland. Race 2 (9 boats): 1. Puff, 2. Delight, and 3. #451, Ping, Sue Miller/John Browning. On Sunday, July 3, Race 1 (12 boats): #487, Viento, Jonathan Siener, 2. #573, Selhun, Bahar Gidwani/Tao Dao, and 3. Weekend Warrior. Race 2, Sonars (12 boats): 1. Ping, 2. Viento, and 3. Weekend Warrior. The top boats in the MBO class on Saturday: Race 1 (9 boats): 1. #9, Miss B Haven, Grace Allen/Ralph Heinzerling, 2. #23, 23 Skidoo, Tom Godfrey/Don Richardson, and 3. #5, Escapade, Ned Baker/Dick Moore. Race 2 on Saturday (8 boats): 1. Miss B Haven, 2. #17, Frolic, Bill Martin, and 3. Escapade. Results for the MBO's on Sunday: Race 1 (8 boats): 1. 23 Skidoo, 2. Miss B Haven, and 3. Escapade. Race 2 (9 boats): 1. Escapade, 2. Miss B Haven, and 3. #11, Silver Fox, Curt Champlin/Clay Davenport. The KOd's on Sunday, Race 1 (4 boats): 1. #15, Dybbuk, Roy Israel, 2. #8, Second Chance, Perry Lengton, and 3. #12, no name available. Race 2 for the KOD's: 1. Dybbuk, 2. #12, and 3. Second Chance. On Sunday, there were two Ideal 18's on the starting line.
Thirsty Thursday results for June 23 have become available: Division I (6.40 nm, Course UDJ, 4 boats): 1. En Garde, Charlie Cannam, 2. Grace, Gene Gold, and 3. Kamikaze, Mario Fichera. Division II (6.40 nm, Course UDJ, 7 boats): 1. Xcite, Yalcin Tarhan, 2. Donna J, Jeff Wenger, and 3. Vision, Marc Epstein. Division III ( 6.10 nm, Course UDC, 7 boats): 1. En Passant, Bob Ebenau, 2. Tootsie, Ron Fink, and 3. Second Wind, Anthony Viola. Division Cats (6.40 nm Course UDJ (1 boat): Renegade, Andy Ledins.
For art lovers who also happen to sail: five serigraphs of original line drawings of three of the most impressive and influential yacht designs have been made available to the public recently. Printed on archival paper, numbered and signed by Olin Stephens, the prints include: Dorade, Accommodations Plan, 1936; Dorade, Sail Plan, 1936; New York 32: Sail Plan, 1947; Bolero, Accommodations Plan, 1949; Bolero Sail Plan 1949. Portions of the sales will be donated to the New York Harbor Sailing Foundation. For more information, www.sparkmanstephens.com/shop-printstore.html. Or you can call 212-661-1240.