With the continuing growth of the Harbor 20 A and B Fleets in Newport Harbor, the time has come to introduce a C Fleet.
I am very happy to announce that Fleet 1 now has a C Fleet! Tom Schock tells me this may very well be the first time a one-design keelboat fleet has had the depth and diversity to divide into three fleets.
Another achievement for the Harbor 20 Class!
The Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club is the first yacht club to agree to offer C Fleet starts for their races. The C sailors will be invited to the Midwinter Regatta in February, the multi-month Lorin Weiss Memorial Series this winter, and the summertime Taco Tuesday Twilight Series. Many thanks to Sailing Director Paul DeCapua, and everyone at BCYC, for stepping up to the plate and being the first to support us in this new, and exciting endeavor!
We have over 100 members in Newport Harbor’s Fleet 1. 30 to 40 of these members race their boats on a regular basis.
It is obvious there are a lot of Harbor 20 sailors in our harbor who don’t use their boats for racing. This is perfectly okay, of course – there is nothing better than kicking back and daysailing a Harbor 20 – but I bet there are lots of people who are itching to race. I have even had calls from folks who indicated that they had been “shadowing” our evening fun races, but didn’t know how to get involved. And even if they did, the B Fleet has grown to a size where starts can be pretty intimidating.
What was needed was a way for folks to be able to try their hand at racing their Harbor 20s in a more relaxed, less overwhelming fashion. So, a “trial balloon” was floated at this year’s Summer Party at Lido Isle Yacht Club. We added C Fleet racing and a basic racing clinic to the agenda, and anyone interested in the “Harbor 20 Scene” was invited to participate.
To our delight, twelve new boats showed up for the C Fleet race!
|The new C sailors sailing their first race
After an introductory chalk-talk, experienced sailors were paired up to sail with the new folks; and the twelve new boats were divided into C1s and C2s, with six boats each. After watching from the safety and comfort of the dock as the A and B Fleets started their first race, the new C sailors, with designated “mentors” onboard, headed out for their start. With the more experienced A and B sailors out of the area, our new C sailors enjoyed two races; and a fun, and safe time was had by all! For more photos of this terrific event click Harbor 20 Class Summer Party
|Class President Peter Haynes explains the basic racing rules
Ever since this exciting Summer Party, people keep asking, “So, what’s going on with the C Fleet?”
Given the success of the event, the next step was to approach the yacht clubs to see if there would be interest in starting a C Fleet following the starts of the As and Bs, at their events. The logistical challenges are obvious, as race committees typically finish all of the fleets before starting the next round of races.
Adding a third fleet would burn up additional time and might reduce the number of races the committee could run for the A and B sailors.
To make the racing perfect for everyone, the idea was proposed that during the time the A and B fleets run multiple races, the C Fleet would be sent on one longer course. This would allow the beginning racers to experience a start, and get accustomed to handling their boats in the company of others but away from the maddening crowd. Meanwhile, the A and B sailors could have as many starts and finishes as time and conditions would allow. The C Fleet races would be open to all Harbor 20 sailors, whether they are new to racing altogether, or perhaps have been struggling in the B Fleet.
The formation of this brand new C Fleet offers Harbor 20 owners the perfect opportunity to ease into racing. I will be really excited to see them on the racecourse!
The C Fleet will now be a venue for those Harbor 20 owners who always wanted to race but were uncomfortable being thrown into the fiercely competitive A and B Fleets. The C sailors will have plenty of opportunity to compete at the various races held by the BCYC. Be sure to check out the C Fleet sailors race at the Midwinter Regatta, the Lorin Weiss Memorial Series, and at the Taco Tuesday Twilight Series.
|Ed Kimball (center) with new C sailors Mike Murphy and his wife Marilyn Flint (pink shirt) and their friends Cleve and Gloria Crudgington