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Southern Spars

Discussing the Storm Trysail Club’s Ted Hood Regatta with Clarke Smith

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 21 Aug 2017
The Ted Hood Regatta is named in honor of the late, great Ted Hood, a sailor who could build boats, design boats, build sails, create Hood Sails, and skipper an America’s Cup winner, all in addition to being a complete gentleman. Paul Darling Photography Maritime Productions
Spend enough time sailing, and certain legendary names start to crop up again and again. Take, for example (to name only a few) Joshua Slocum, Lowell North, Dennis Conner, Nathanael Greene Herreshoff, Paul Elvstrom, Buddy Melges, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Bernard Moitessier, Ted Turner, and Ted Hood-sailors who not only won the game at the highest levels while also winning the respect of their competitors, but also individuals who had big impacts on sailing, sailboat design and equipment, and sails. Not only are these sailors our heroes, but-in many cases- they also had a profound impact on the boats we sail and how we physically sail them.

The late, great Ted Hood (1927-2013) fit all of these descriptions. Hood won the 1974 America’s Cup as skipper of Courageous and founded Hood Sailmakers, in Marblehead, Massachusetts, as well as Little Harbor Marine (Hood was a trained naval architect) in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, the later of which was eventually purchased by The Hinckley Company before Hood started Ted Hood Yachts, LLC. (And all this in addition to winning nearly everything under the sun aboard a procession of yachts that were all named Robin).

To say that Hood was an accomplished sailor and highly influential marine-industry professional is a bit like saying that Sandy Koufax (a three-time Cy Young award-winning pitcher) could throw some heat.

Given Hood’s sterling reputation as a sailor as well as an innovator and forward-leaning naval architect, it makes a lot of sense that the Storm Trysail Club’s Marblehead Station would create their inaugural Ted Hood Regatta (August 25-27), which will be held on the waters off of Marblehead and supported by the Boston, Corinthian and Eastern yacht clubs (with all onshore activities taking place at the Boston Yacht Club), in his honor.

Racing is set to take place in a variety of keelboats, sportboats and One Design classes (boats must have a valid PHRF-NE certificate; One Design fleets must have five or more registered boats to race as a class), with the first warning signals set to go off each day at 1100 hours. I caught up with Clarke Smith, regatta chairman for the inaugural Ted Hood Regatta, via email, to learn more about this exciting new event.

Can you give me an overview of the Ted Hood Regatta (THR)? What was the impetus for starting this event? (Also, Is the event open to non-STC members? Or, do you have to be a member to participate?)
The THR is replacing two previous regattas that were conducted the last weekend of August. Originally, the regatta was the New England PHRF Championship. This regatta had run for over 20 years. A new group took over running the NE Championship and re-named it the One Regatta. It was still being advertised as the New England PHRF Championship, but included several One-Design classes.

The One Regatta folks approached me and several Storm Trysail Club Marblehead Station members about the idea of STC becoming the organizing authority (OA) for the regatta. This proposal was approved by the STC Flag Officers and STC Marblehead Station has taken on the regatta as the OA working with the three yacht clubs in Marblehead, Eastern YC, Boston YC, and Corinthian YC.

The regatta is open to all sailors regardless of club affiliation. The Marblehead Station thought it would be a good idea to re-name the regatta and get a fresh start. Finding a local tie to the area was important. The Ted Hood affiliation was the most logical idea. We contacted the Hood Family and they were very excited to have the regatta named after Ted Hood.

How many boats are you guys expecting this year?
We're planning on 80 boats. We can accommodate up to 100 boats, if that many register

What is the Double Handed Race? It looks like it starts on Friday at 1830 hours, so is it an overnight/distance event?
Yes, the Double Handed Race is an overnight race starting Friday at 1830 hours.

In an ideal world, how many races will the RC aim to get in in a day? Also, are we talking windward-leeward (W-L) courses here, or are you guys going to send the fleet island hopping?
Ideally, the RC will try for three races per day. The racing will be both W/L and around buoys. There will be a pursuit race on Sunday August 27th. The RC will send these boats on a Government mark course.

Are all boats welcome to participate, or are there limitations? For example, could someone show up with a foiling GC32 catamaran or a Gunboat G4 and race?
We are trying to accommodate as many boats as possible. We created the double-handed class, Jib, and Main class and the pursuit race to try to attract as many boats as possible.

As long as we can use a rating criterion that is fair to all participants, we welcome all boats.

Given that the three major area clubs are all involved with helping to sponsor the Ted Hood Regatta, will one club be running the starting/finishing line, or will that be administrated by the STC?
The history of this race was the three yachts clubs supported the regatta each year with one club acting as the host club for the shore-side activities. The rotation has been based on the alphabet and rotates clockwise around the harbor.

Each Club handles a racing circle. Without the support of the three clubs this event could not [be] run. Prior to the STC becoming the OA, I met with the three clubs racing chairs to be sure we would have their continued support and that they would support the STC as the OA. The support was unanimous and they were very welcoming to the STC Marblehead Station. Boston YC will be the host club this year.

Am I correct that all three clubs will be helping racers out with moorage and rides ashore?
Yes, the clubs are all working together, and with the harbormaster's office, to accommodate all the racers with moorage and launch service.

As regatta chair, what are your biggest goals for the inaugural event?
As Regatta Chair I was able to call on STC Marblehead Station members to volunteer to create the THR Regatta Committee. This committee has been meeting weekly since February with the mission to put on the best regatta possible.

The committee agreed that for our first year to be a success we need to provide great racing on the water and a fantastic shore side experience. We have changed some of the shore activities to create a great atmosphere of camaraderie with the sailors, with good food and drink.

As long as the weather gods cooperate we are confident the on the water racing will be great. If the talk under the tent is the racing was great and the food, drink, music and atmosphere is exciting, we will consider the first year a success.

Anything else that you’d like to add, for the record?
The THR regatta would not be possible without the great sponsors that have stepped up and provided support for this first year. If there are funds left over after the event, they will be donated to a non-profit organization associated with boating. This may include various community boating operations, Storm Trysail Foundation, or other not-for profit waterfront organizations.

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