Classic Yacht Regatta

The Beauty of Brightwork and Bronze Marked Indian Harbor Yacht Club’s Classic Yacht Regatta.



The stage was set on a beautiful fall day last September for a race of classic yachts hosted by Indian Harbor Yacht Club. It was the second of a new series of classic yacht regattas cohosted by four Long Island Sound clubs: Larchmont, Indian Harbor, American and for the final race, Hempstead Harbor. Three of the four races were needed to qualify for the series.

Fresh northwest winds of eighteen miles per hour gusting over twenty made for exciting starts. For those who revel in the sight of sail, there is no greater experience than watching these lovely yachts under full canvas as they charge ahead, vying for position on the starting line—and even a greater thrill if you are lucky enough to be crewing for one. 

Classic Division Class A yachts ranged in size from Scott Frantz’s legendary 81-foot Herreshoff ketch Ticonderoga to the comely 50-foot Alden sloop Nor’easter owned by Ted and Shelia Graves, who were also in charge of organizing the event at Indian Harbor. In the nineteen-mile course to Eatons Neck and back, Nor’easter took third place, edged out of second in a back-and-forth contest with Angelita, the 1932 Olympic gold-medal-winning Eight Meter from American Yacht Club. Overall winner in Class A was 68-foot Black Watch, a 1938 Sparkman & Stevens yawl owned by Lars Forsberg, sailing under the New York Yacht Club burgee. To her went the Frank Bowne Jones Founder’s Cup, named for Indian Harbor’s first member and a founder of the Yacht Racing Union of Long Island Sound, the North American Yacht Racing Union and the United States Power Squadrons.

Easily qualifying as the oldest Class A yacht was Spartan, a NY 50 designed by Nathanael Herreshoff in 1912. During the 1920s and ’30s she was owned by a Greenwich family. She was later abandoned and the present owner undertook a staggering multi-year reconstruction of what had become little more than a rotting hulk. The return of this magnificently restored American yacht to her home port in Greenwich for this regatta was also the occasion of the 100th anniversary of her commissioning.

The most famous participant was the beautifully maintained Ticonderoga, launched in 1936. The Big TI, as she is affectionately called, has established one of the greatest ocean-racing records of American yachting history. Between 1936 and 1967, she was first to finish in thirty-four blue water races and set course records in sixteen of them, including the epic 1965 storm-tossed Transpac Race to Honolulu, known as the race of the century. After a record-breaking run of 2,400 miles in a close fought battle with archrival Stormvogel, she won with a margin of just under six minutes.  

Not all classic boats qualify for that designation. Some are replicas of classic designs or are modified versions of the originals. Those that do not meet the strict specifications for original material, construction and design to qualify them as true classics compete in the Spirit of Tradition class. Former IHYC commodore Jim Fogarty’s Cadenza, a 28-foot Herreshoff ketch, took first place honors in this class followed by Natanya skippered by Joe Hliva. Certainly the most colorful was marine artist Peter Arguimbau’s Molly Rose, a 1935 catboat distinguished by a large black ball on her oversized mainsail.

Two one-design classes and a special Marshall catboat class rounded out the fleet. Five Nathanael G. Herreshoff S-class boats circa 1920s came up from Larchmont, where they are still actively raced. Of more recent vintage was the postwar Shields Class that included three Indian Harbor entries plus four others from Larchmont.

Sailing these beauties is greatly rewarding in itself, but restoring and owning a classic yacht is a consuming and romantic experience. Sam Croll fell in love with Angelita as a young man. When he finally could afford it, he bought and restored her. For him and his partner, Henry Skelsky, and their wives and children she is like a second home. About classic yachts he says, “It’s wonderful to see all this gleaming wood, varnish and bronze on Long Island Sound instead of just fiberglass and Kevlar.”

Alex Dubitsky, owner of the 1916 yawl Bernice, describes maintaining a classic yacht “like keeping a grand piano in your backyard year-round with no cover, but we are all passionate about preserving and sharing them with others.”

Says Shelia Graves, “Ted and I fell in love with each other along with our first classic, a narrow 38-footer but wanted something larger for cruising. As luck would have it, the boat we dreamed of came on the market. It was a rare 1926 Alden Q-class 50-foot yawl that had been in one family for fifty years.” The rest is history.

Reflecting on the classic yacht regattas, Ted points out, “Everyone comes together to celebrate preservation and to connect with other classic sailors, not unlike a classic car show or collecting art. The camaraderie is part of the magic of owning a classic yacht.”

And, it wouldn’t be a sailing regatta if part of the fun didn’t take place postrace ashore when skippers and crews assemble to rehash the day’s races and exchange stories, short and tall, over Dark and Stormies, a tongue loosening combination of dark rum and ginger beer.

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • The Many Faces of Multi Media

    2014.09.20
     @ Meli-Melo of Greenwich

    Dr. Julia Trebing, Director Creative Therapies in Stamford, CT exhibits her paintings at Meli-Melo Creperie & Juice Bar  during Sept...

  • Joie Special Shopping Event

    2014.09.30
     @ Joie

    Joie invites you to a special shopping event! Enjoy wine & hor d'oeuvres while shopping 20% off your purchase Enter to win a...

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • A Wine Education Evening

    2014.09.30

    Join the Orthopaedic Foundation for a 10th Anniversary soiree, celebrating women! The evening will feature a Wine Education by Sommelier Theresa...

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • SPLURGE Matches Scarf Donations for Cancer Patients

    2014.10.01
     @ SPLURGE

    SPLURGE and the Cancer Institute at Greenwich Hospital are partnering to bring comfort and encouragement to cancer patients.  From October...

  • Breast Cancer Alliance's Go For Pink Shopping Event

    2014.10.02
     @ Greenwich Avenue area

    Breast Cancer Alliance announced that it is partnering with Greenwich merchants for a special day of events and shopping on Thursday, October 2nd...

  • New Goergen Lecture

    2014.10.02
     @ Bruce Museum

    Reflections on Highlights of the Hohenbuchau Collection featuring Peter C. Sutton Known today as the "Golden Age" of Netherlandish...

  • Laurel House Family Seminar Series

    2014.09.18
     @ Laurel House

    Thursday evenings, September 18, October 2, 16, 30, 6:30-8:00 pm Join us Thursday evenings for this four part Family Seminar Series as...

  • Muddy Up 5k Adventure Run & Family Fun Walk

    2014.10.05
     @ Camp Simmons

    Are you ready for some MUDDY fun? Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich is proud to host the 3rd annual Muddy Up 5k Adventure Run & Family Fun...

  • Muddy Up 5k & Family Fun Walk

    2014.10.05
     @ Camp Simmons

    Race starts at 9:15 a.m. REGISTRATION HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO MON. SEPT. 29 at 8:00 A.M. DON'T LIKE THE MUD? SPONSOR A CLUB MEMBER TO RUN...

  • Sweat for a Cause

    2014.10.05
     @ SoulCycle Greenwich

    The Young Women's League of New Canaan (YWL) is sponsoring its first fundraiser of the season, "Sweat For A Cause" at SoulCycle...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • Tuesday Toddler Tours

    2014.10.07
     @ Bruce Museum

    Come to the Bruce this fall to take part in our exciting new children and family programming! No advance registration is required and programs...

  • Flower Power

    2014.10.08
     @ SM Home Gallery

    SM Home Gallery show featuring two Greenwich based artists: Margaret Bragg and Penny Putnam. The art show runs thorough November 22nd....

  • Lyme Research Alliance 3rd Annual Golf Tournament

    2014.10.09
     @ The Stanwich Club

    Tee up and raise funds & awareness for Lyme disease awareness at one of the area’s finest golf courses. The golf tournament is part of...

  • Exhibit Ira BARKOFF

    2014.10.11
     @ Canfin Gallery

    “The beauty of the physical world becomes a metaphor for the capacity of the spirit to reveal itself". Ira Barkoff Evocation of...

  • Outdoor Arts Festival

    2014.10.11
     @ Bruce Museum

    Come and enjoy the Bruce Museum’s 33rd Annual Outdoor Arts Festival. More than 85 artists from all over the country, many of them new to...


Show More...

Most Popular Articles

  1. Stars of Greenwich
    Meet the founders of the Greenwich International Film Festival
  2. Moroccan Nights
    Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich
  3. American Gold Cup
    North Salem, NY
  4. Into The Woods
    Bruce Museum's 27th Annual Renaissance Ball
  5. Greenwich Fashion Day Out
    Greenwich Avenue