Miles River Yacht Club Perpetual

Posted in: Perpetual Trophies
By Ted Weihe
Aug 9, 2011 - 10:37:11 AM

Miles River Yacht Club Chesapeake 20 Perpetual Trophy


The Perpetual Trophy was awarded by MRYC to Doug Kolb, racing Jade #37, who finished first in the 20 ft Knockabout Class in 1947.

Chesapeake 20s has been racing at Miles River Yacht Club since the early 1930s.  Initially, they raced as twenty footers in an open class which included scows, two-masted, leg of mutton log canoes and bateaus.   In 1939, the class formally organized itself as Chesapeake 20s and divided into two divisions: chine and round-bottom twenty footers.  Both divisions raced at MRYC in the early and late1940s with a break during the war. 

The class association’s earliest records at the MRYC regatta are from 1935 (See website).  Ossie Osbourne had commissioned Charles Moyer, a famous New York yacht designer, to design the first round-bottom Twenty Footer.  According to Osbourne’s autobiography, Vanity was struck by the bowsprit of the Owens Boat Yard- built scow on the port side at the waterline at the weather mark and nearly capsized.  Downwind it was no problem, but upwind on starboard tack, Vanity took on lots of water.  The crew stuffed the hole with life jackets and one crew member held them in place.  As they crossed the line still in first place, they were sinking, but did not get the gun for this winner-take-all race.  The race committee thought Vanity had crossed the line so slowly that surely she was not racing.

In 1935, Vanity started a building contest with Cap’n Dick Hartge of Galesville for a faster round-bottom 20.  He designed several early round-bottom 20s, some with skigs, in-board rudders and wider beams, but none could beat Vanity.  Vanity won all the major regattas in 1936 and 1937 including at MRYC.  By 1938, Dick Hartge finally built a faster 20, Ranger.   Ranger most likely beat Vanity in winning the MRYC regatta in 1939.

The earliest trophy in position of the Chesapeake 20 Association is a third place finish by John Kramer’s Sea Witch in the cline division in 1939. 


In 1940, Robert Orme in Blue Water won the MRYC regatta in the Twenty Foot Round Bottom class, and in 1946, Buddy Hartge in Cutty Shark won the regatta with N.M Paschall, second in Endeavor, and Billy Hartge in Columbia.  In 1950, Robert Orme finished second in the regatta.  In 1960, Hartge Fifer won the regatta in Vanity with John Thomas in Gay Lady, second; and John Hedler in Lady Luck, third.  In 1964, Neal Kramer in Serenade finished second.

Several of these classic Chesapeake 20s raced at MRYC in 2010 and 2011 including: Endeavor, America, Stormy and Spirit.  The wooden 20s remain competitive against the new glass and cold-molded versions.