Excerpts by N.H. Smith
February 22, 1978
N.H. Smith wrote an outline of the history of the West River Sailing Club from its formative years until 1978. The history of
A group of young residents of Cedar point plus a few natives from both shores of
The new club offered their first Annual Regatta over the Labor Day weekend in September and this prime date has seen the WRSC event scheduled each year through 1977. The first regatta was more of a neighborhood gathering with residents from both sides of
The boats were handicapped with C class as scratch boats, based upon 150 to 200 Sq. Ft. of sail: Class A was given 4 minutes (under 100 sq. ft.) and B, 2 minutes with 100 to 150 sq .ft. This Handicap was the only sailing race scheduled; the nine remaining events were fun games as boys’ and girls’ swimming races, tilting, sculling and rowing. The trophies were made by “the boys at the point” for a number of years and presented at an alibi party, under an umbrella tree on Cedar Point (referred to as Wagner’s Point) for William Wagner home. A tool shed was converted to store sailing gear and a mast erected for a certain flag to be flown on Sundays on which there was to be no regular races. Club meetings were held at the Point, Zang’s Pier or in neighborhood homes.
The first boats used were mostly sailing bateaus built by Capt. Ed Leatherbury or converted flat-bottom rowboats. Capt. Ed proceeded to lead the boys around the course and won the Championship of West River for the Wm. Wagner Memorial Trophy in 1933, but this only served to whet their appetite. The search for faster and better boats parallels the entire history of the club to this day. Earnest H. (Capt. Dick) Hartge, a boat designer and builder, was mainly responsible for launching, building and racing the proper boat at the proper time to weld the imagination of thie eager group of sailors. Capt. Dick served as Commodore for years 1933-1934 and 1944-1945.
A series of historic contests began between Capt. Ed Leatherbury, Capt, Dick Hartge and a boat from
Osbourne Owings and John Gregory were dissatisfied with the results from their Snipe during the early thirties and requested plans of a twenty footer from Charles Mower of
Capt. Dick built a double ender along the likes of “Vanity” and names her “Challenger.” It was a good boat in light air but not up to “Vanity” in a breeze. A second double-ender named, “Wings” bas built by one of Capt. Dick’s men for Carroll Smith. This boat was faster, because as it is rumored, it was flattened since the men sat on it every day to eat lunch. After “Wings”, Capt. Dick concentrated on building round bottom “
Additional comments relating to
In 1933, the WRSC Annual Regatta included Class A, B and C sailboat races. In 1934, the program included pictures and paid advertising including the “Championship of West River for the William Wagner Memorial Trophy which was won by “Vanity.” In 1935, the classes were: The Albatross, Sea-Witch, Comet, Moth, 14-16 and 18 foot classes and the Handicap Race appeared in 1936.
A new system called the “40 Square” was adopted for scoring in 1937. 20 ft classes were split between the open and the restricted or chine bottom.
World War II bought a lull to most activities within the club, however, a number of races were held and members, home on leave, would join in. A race held on July11, 1944 included 20s and Sixteeners. War stamps were awarded the winners of the summer series in 1943, $10 first, $5 second and $3 third.
The Albatross Class faded during the war years but the Chesapeake 16 Class (Sixteeners) submitted a letter in 1949 requesting that they be included in future racing. In 1947, the Heintz-Faye system of starting signals was used for the 1st time. The regatta included Ches. 20 Div. 1 and Div. 2 (Chine bottom). Pre-regatta races were held from
In 1953, Hartge Fifer began a revival of the
In 1958, Capt Dick launched “Compass Rose”, a
In 1959, annual regatta trophy presentation was made on Laurence Hartge’s lawn. Summer series consisted of Ches. 20s, Penquins and Dutchman.
In 1973, the first Ches. 20 Golden Regatta was held: 13 skippers 50 or older and sailed 20s in the 50s or earlier. Skippers included: Dick Hartge, Hartge Fifer, Eric Steinlein, Bill Heintz, Delbert Zang, John Nairn, Bob Orme, Doug Kolb, Emile Hartge, Eldridge Zang, John Kramer and Walter Lawson (based on photo).