Chesapeake 20 Update & Annual Meeting

Posted in: Semi-Annual Meetings
By Ted Weihe
Nov 13, 2008 - 3:56:34 PM

November 13, 2008


Dear Chesapeake 20 Fleet and Supporters:

          We had a very successful C20 annual meeting on the 8th which is reported on at the end of this newsletter but first I have big news.

Volunteer and Magic

Clay Taylor and I announced at the C20 annual meeting that we had acquired Volunteer #27 and Magic #111 from the Hedlers.  We are grateful to Don and Jean for agreeing to sell them to us.  Magic appears to be in pretty good shape overall. She could be up and running fairly soon.  Volunteer, on the other hand, will require extensive reconstruction.  Our goal remains to gather and preserve as many of the original Chesapeake 20s as possible.  If you can restore a 20 or know of someone who would be willing to please let us know.  As of Monday you can check out Magic, she’s already at the club.  From now on she will be known as “Defender” – read on……


The story of our 20’s continues to unfold.  Until now we believed three or four Mower designed boats had been built. We thought Magic/Babs was one of them. Upon examining our records I have discovered that Magic was indeed Babs however, before that she may have been Defender which is not a Mower design but the third attempt by Captain Dick to build a faster boat than Vanity.  We will need to take measurements of Vanity and Magic to determine if Magic is indeed a Mower design as we have generally assumed. As you may recall Vanity was the fastest “20 footer” (as they were referred to then) on the bay and she was a Mower design built by John Gregory. This means that there were probably only two Mower designed boats all along; Vanity and Gay Lady.

Vanity #101 now sits outside at the Shadyside Museum.  She dominated the Chesapeake 20 fleet in 1934 and 1935 winning nearly every race by wide margins.  She actually proved that round-bottom twenty footers were vastly superior to a “V” bottom with the more traditional chine design.  Her obvious superiority became a major challenge for Captain Dick Hartge who must have been thinking about building a fleet of 20s.

Charles Mower was a famous naval architect who designed several America’s Cup boats; by contrast, Capt. Dick used half models and designed through “trial and error”.

His first attempt was Mermaid #22, (now fully restored and owned by Clay Taylor).  He gave Mermaid to Oscar Hartge after its construction to be finished off.  But he did not like the look of Mermaid which was significantly wider at the bow, and had a flatter bottom and lower freeboard and most importantly she consistently came in second to Vanity.

Continuing the pursuit of his goal to beat Vanity, Captain Dick next built Challenger (c1936), then Defender (c1937).  In the 1937 Summer Series Defender placed third behind Vanity and Mermaid.  However, Captain Dick managed to finish first in Defender at the 1937 West River summer series, with Mermaid in second.  At the WRSC Annual Regatta in 1937, the order was Vanity, Mermaid and Defender. 

Then he tried one more time and built Ranger (1938).  At last in the 1938 Summer Series, Ranger came in first, Vanity second, and Defender fourth.

Based on this winning design, Capt. Dick was satisfied and settled on Ranger as #1 to become the proto-type of nearly 50 “Hartge 20s” as he called them, built between 1938 and 1944 with a few more built after that. 

The first “production” Hartge 20 was Stormy #26, owned by me and now registered as #2390 with the Maryland Inventory of Historical Properties.

Most observers thought that Babs (aka Magic, Attaway, Attagay and Defender) was a Mower boat because of its striking similarity to Vanity but now we know the truth.   

Incidentally, the Board of Directors for Shady Side Rural Heritage Society this week agreed to include Vanity as part of our efforts to register C-20s with the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties.


Champagne & Potluck

We had a very successful and enjoyable Chesapeake 20 Annual Meeting on November 8, 2008 at the club. 

The business meeting was swift.  We reviewed last year’s minutes, the budget and elected our officers for 2009.  They are Ted Weihe, President; Robin Hartge, Vice President; Clay Taylor, Secretary and Carole McCullough, Treasurer.  We want to thank Nicky Schlegel for his service on the board.

We also discussed the generally lower participation rates for the 2008 season - higher for the Nationals (14) and Hartge Cup (12) - and set the date for the Worlds on June 20-21, 2009 at the Annapolis Maritime Museum in Annapolis.  We also decided to have more races early in the season to prepare for the Worlds. 

With all of the trophies lined up, the winners of major regattas were announced and congratulated. (See the last newsletter). We want to thank Roger Link for updating the trophy plaques. 

“Classie”  round Chesapeake 20 stickers, designed by Pam Taylor, promoting our class and our website were given to all attendees.  Let me know if you want some stickers for your car.

Judy awarded Glenda Blomquist and Carolynn DeTessiere yellow flags for their yeoman work as race committee on the Jenny Girl.  Some comment was made about having a blast.

The champagne, potluck dinner and camaraderie were extraordinary and made this one of the best annual meetings in recent years.



We had two great speakers: Will Keyworth of North Sails described his early years as a junior fleet member at WRSC.  Halley Thomas and Bobby Orme were his mentors.  He worked at Bobby Orme’s (whom he still calls Mr. Orme) Blue Water Marina off Rhode River, throughout high school and college. This job included working on and restoring Chesapeake 20s.  He said that Mr. Orme was very demanding and that the Chesapeake 20 bottom had to be perfect.  They raced competitively and Will’s job was always to give Mr. Orme his greatest competition.  Later, Will became a school teacher and then, using his knowledge and love of sailing and racing, he continued racing during the summers.  Eventually he raced all over the world and now he is the manager of North Sails of Annapolis.


     Molly Winans made a slide presentation of a proposal of Spinsheet’s to sponsor a trip to Galway Bay, Ireland  for the Volvo 70 Round the World Race stopover in late May.  Several attendees indicated that they were very interested in joining the group.  If you are interested check out Spinsheet at


River Sailing West Club Annual Meeting

      Please try to make it to the WRSC annual meeting on Saturday, November 22, 2008, beginning at 2 PM.  There are two major items that will be presented to membership: a dues increase and moving forward with purchasing the land where the catamarans are now parked.  Also, parking spots will be at a premium this year, so it will be important for Chesapeake 20 owners to have their dues in early and apply for parking spots.