Apr 22, 2011 Jean Doering Uncategorized
At Willow Bank Yacht Club, plans are underway to host the CNY Sailing Association Annual Regatta, the weekend of July 9-10, 2011.
The “Centrals,” as it is commonly known, is an important date in the regional sailing calendar and will bring participants from 30 sailing clubs to partake in races that weekend. In the next few weeks, a series of articles about the various fleets that will be seen competing on Cazenovia Lake, will be featured.
There will be three race courses set on the lake, to concurrently race boats from possibly ten different fleets. The following classes are expected: Lightening, Laser, Laser Radial, Finn, Sunfish, 420, Optis, O’penBic, Rhodes Bantam, Flying Scot and Flying Dutchman.
The Centrals is an inter-generational regatta, bringing junior sailors, as well as seasoned racers to compete. Being recognized by U.S. Sailing as a Regional Sailing Association means that sailors both Junior and Senior members are encouraged to use the Regionals to qualify for U.S. Sailing National Championships.
One of Willow Bank’s former Junior Fleet members, David Grogono, went on to the Olympics to race a Windsurfer for the Cayman Islands.
The CNY Sailing Association, formerly Central New York Yacht Racing Association, was founded in 1931. The first regatta took place that year at Seneca Yacht Club.
The following information, taken from Seneca Yacht Club’s history, is an account of that event, which will make our regatta committee thankful for one class designs, fiberglass hulls and lightweight trailers and dollies:
August 27, 28, and 29, 1931 the combined first annual regatta of the CNYYRA and of the new twelfth District of the Star Class was held concurrently at the Seneca Yacht Club. A 75′ Coast Guard Cutter from Oswego was present to serve as Committee Boat. It was a strenuous regatta for the Stars, as they raced at 10 a.m. in the CNYYRA and 2:15 p.m. in the twelfth District Championships. A strong south wind ended in a terrific thunderstorm during the Star Race the afternoon of the second day. A heavy Northwester on Saturday enlivened the occasion and inspired a healthy respect for Seneca Lake in the visiting sailors.
The regatta was a great success thanks to weeks of preparation and long hours of work by most of the members – launching and hauling visiting boats, putting on lunches, dinners, cocktail parties, etc. Many new problems had to be solved and precedents were set which are now routine items for putting on regattas.
There were no one design classes: except the Stars which included boats from Cooperstown and the Syracuse Yacht and Country Club. The race committee had great difficulty in grouping boats from local one design classes to give good racing. Seneca’s 17′ One Designs proved to be well matched with Owasco’s 10′ Catboats.
Transportation of boats between lakes for regattas was a serious problem. There were many regattas on Long Island Sound and elsewhere along the coast where boats could be sailed or towed to the scene of the regatta, but this was the first known attempt to assemble a large fleet from distant land-locked lakes.
Light trucks and a few homemade trailers were used for the centerboard boats; but the Stars, weighing nearly a ton, offered a major problem. If a marine railway was available as at the old Fay & Bowen Boat Co. in Geneva, the boat could be floated onto a cradle, hauled out and skidded up on a truck and gingerly driven to the launching site where another marine railway was required for the reverse process.
Some geniuses at the Syracuse Yacht and Country Club, aided by a blacksmith, built a trailer from a four-wheel Hudson chassis with a six-inch gap in the rear thru which the keel could be coaxed. The trailer was backed down a sharply shelving beach into 4 1/2 feet of water, where the launching crew in bathing suits struggled to hold the boat in exact position while the trailer was dragged out till the boat settled solidly in position.
It was harder to back the 3,000 pound trailer plus boat out into 4 1/2 feet of water to launch and both operations were tricky if there were waves of any size. However, the center of gravity was low and boats could be towed at good speed. Copies of these trailers were built here and at other clubs having Star fleets, and quickly spread all over the country.
Jean Doering is volunteer publicist for Cazenovia’s Willow Bank Yacht Club.