By John S. Storck
For the annual Hope Town Sailing Club’s Founder’s Cup race, March did not come in like a lion. In fact, after two postponements in late February due to too much wind, there was substantial doubt on Saturday morning, March 2, as to whether to run the race due to a lack of wind. Eventually, the Race Committee decided to proceed and racers were rewarded with an agreeable southerly breeze from the 11 a.m. start to the finish of the last boat around 12:45.
It was a short course: a triangle plus two final legs resembling a “sausage” (otherwise known as a hot dog). Speaking of dogs, Scout, a new four-legged crew member, added his weight and agility to the windward rail on Empty Pockets. Perhaps Scout was looking forward to his boat having a bone in her teeth, but in the light air, that didn’t happen.
The eight participants ranged in size from an 18 foot Marshall Catboat (Sunbeam) to a Leopard 44 catamaran (Diestema). The spectator fleet was at least as large as the racing fleet and included the harbor shuttle, a pontoon boat owned by the Hope Town Inn and Marina.
It appeared, especially over the last two or three legs, that the fleet was quite spread out. However, on a corrected time basis, the first five boats finished within five minutes of each other. And, in one of the closest races in memory, the winner, Sunrise, with owner Milton Harris at the tiller, earned the trophy by only three seconds! Grumpy Ole Men (George Leboutillier) was second. The Abaco Rage, skippered by Richard Cook, took third place.
The committee boat for the day was Shalaylee, owned by Lee and Cheryl Welsh. Check the photos on the sailing club website to see the culinary evidence of their generous hospitality. Rolf Sauer provided Two Rock Reef as the mark boat. He was ably assisted by photographer Will Heyer.
The Hope Town Sailing Club invites cruising sailboats and small boats to join them for any race during the season. The races are open, without an entry fee, to HTSC members and non-members alike. Cruising boats will be given a handicap using the PHRF system as a guideline. The eclectic fleet includes monohulls, multihulls, sloops, schooners, ketches, catboats, all racing together with the emphasis on fun competition. More details and a schedule can be found at http://www.hopetownsailingclub.com/racing/.