August 1, 2014
By Doug Jones:
Two of the most coveted trophies of the Quissett Yacht Club are the Harrington and Woodriff trophies for H -12s. The contestants for these trophies are limited to Juniors ( QYC members under 16) and to Corinthians (16 – 20 year olds) respectively. Often these racers have had limited experience in the traditional boats since they spend most of their time racing Optis and 420s. This year was a remarkable exception as all of the skippers have spent considerable time in H-12s recently and they all demonstrated familiarity with the boats. In order to make the race more competitive, the two races were held simultaneously even though the juniors are prohibited from flying spinnakers (is this a hindrance or a help?)
The Race Committee of Doug Jones and Charlotte Dorris (for seven minutes) set a drop mark ½ mile to the Southwest of the starting pin and hoped that the 8-10 knot breeze would hold up for the entire race. The competitors were sent on a triangle and a third course with the finish to windward. Olivia First and Olivia Johnson in Olivia (once again they took great glee in this combination), Tim First and Nick Steinert in Allie Rose, and Anna Olsen and Alden Burt in Sea Glass were vying for the Harrington Trophy, while Emma and Ben Garfield in Phoenix and Hannah and Noah Garfield in Handoah were competing for the Woodriff Trophy.
Experience certainly paid off and the race within the race was evident at the start as the Firsts were competing for best position at the pin, while the Garfields were bow to bow at the boat end. Meanwhile Sea Glass took a safer, more conservative position a few seconds behind. By the windward mark, Olivia had opened up a slight lead by tacking advantage of Phoenix and Handoah overstanding the mark. As the boats bore off to the gybe mark, Phoenix and Handoah took full advantage of their rights as competitors in the older class and raised their spinnakers; however despite their crew’s years of experience in this endeavor, their efforts proved to be detrimental to their performance and Olivia increased her lead while Allie Rose moved into second. When the fleet reached the leeward mark, the order was Olivia, Allie Rose, Phoenix, Handoah, and Ida Barry (whose crew and skipper were maintaining a constant discussion throughout the race).
As the fleet approached the finish line, the top three boats were in close proximity with port tack boats having to duck those on starboard and then positions were reversed. Phoenix had grabbed a sight lead over Olivia, but was approaching the finish line on port and aimed directly at the committee boat. Olivia was in a commanding position to windward and just a little bit behind. In typical youth racing style, Phoenix announced that she was going to tack, Olivia said “OK, “ and both boats tacked to the finish without argument or protest. When asked later, Olivia’s skipper said that it didn’t matter since they were in different races even though the bragging rights might have been priceless.
Great thanks to the five support boats for enthusiastically cheering on all the racers (and especially to Charlotte Dorris for joining the Race Committee for the start).
- Olivia Olivia First and Olivia Johnson 35:20
- Allie Rose Tim First and Nick Steinert 35:30
- Sea Glass Anna Olsen and Alden Burt 38:59
- Phoenix Emma and Ben Garfield 35:12
- Handoah Hannah and Noah Garfield 36:42