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Westwood Wealth Management Prindle 50th Anniversary North American Regatta

by Chris Holley 18 Aug 2022 10:29 PDT June 3-5, 2022

June 3 to 5 of 2022, there were 19 catamarans descended on the town of Bolivar, TX. This little town can be found on the upper Texas coast just across the Houston Ship Channel from Galveston Island. These boats came from as far away as North Carolina to race the first gathering of Prindle boats since around 2001 or 2002.

The Westwood Wealth Management Prindle 50th Anniversary North American Regatta was on. The classes for the event were the 16, 18, 19MX and open class containing Prindle 19's with a myriad of different sail plans (all of standard sail area, square top and not) and a modified 18-2.

We were ready for 3 days of racing, with a mix of distance, and buoy racing on tap, the regatta kicked off with a brisk wind on the 3rd and boats leaving the beach at noon with a Le Mans style start. This race would be a 20 mile jog into the gulf with the first leg being a bit shifty on the winds headed to the Crystal Beach oil platform a couple miles off the beach and the wind climbing steadily. The 16's and 18's preceded the 19's and the highly modified 18-2 off the beach by 10 minutes. After rounding the windward mark, the racers were in for a close to beam reach down the beach to a wrecked shrimp boat. It was a wet wild ride with 12-15 knots wind and boats knocking on 15kts boat speed and some chop to add a little fun factor. After rounding the wreck it was back to the rig on a slightly broad/beam reach with a solid 15 knots wind and boats bumping into the high teens for boat speed. As the lead boats approached the rig to turn for home, the wind just laid down and the lead of the front boats was compressed to just a few hundred yards. It became a roll of the dice at this point with boats going left, right, and center and the finishing order was anybody's guess by now, "did we make the right call going this way or that?" was asked aboard all boats. As the boats approached the beach it made for quite a sight with the teams looking at the finish line from all sides.

After racing concluded with a distance race on day one, we retired to Hardhead's Grill, a local bar and grill who graciously offered to host the event. Jose's Cantina next door to Hardheads offered to completely cover dinner for the first day with an awesome enchilada dinner with rice and beans, a true Texas treat. The many sponsors of the event donated prizes for the event and the competitors got a glimpse of the myriad of raffle, auction and door prizes that were there.

Day two started with a gorgeous sunrise but just a whisper of wind we knew it would be a tactics day, the racers started lining the boats up on the beach around 0900 and hanging sails. As noon and the start approached the winds came up to around 5 knots and the race committee made the choice to do windward leeward race from the rig to a buoy off the beach with a couple laps. The race went off without a hitch and the fleet was tight with a few boats standing out, Don Zeek (P16), Rennie Ihle (P18), Tony Lucchino (P18), Duly Chaltain (P19mx), Chris Holley (P19mx), Scott Tuma (open), and Joey Busher (open). As the race rounded the windward mark, Race committee shortened the course with a finish back on the beach due to a 60 degree wind shift to the east. We set a new course with a triangle of buoys set about 2.5 miles apart with 2 laps to race. It was again a Le Mans style start and the racing was incredibly tight. With the layout of the course we had the C mark set 300 yards off the beach, a growing crowd came out to watch. The boats completed the course around 1600 with all boats coming back to the beach and smiles and bright faces all around. It was back to Hardheads and a BBQ dinner provided by the Salty Bovine of Bolivar.

Day 3 started with more wind, eventually peaking by race time at around 12 kts. The race committee set up an old school triangle style course, A-B-C-A-C-A-B-C-A-Finish back at the beach. As one competitor put it, "Pizza, hotdog, pizza, hotdog." The course was set so we had a 3 mile run along the beach and like day 2 we had people lining the beach watching. The start flag went down at noon with the cheers of family, friends, and strangers passing by watching. Every time the boats rounded mark C (bottom of the course) the boats would turn off onto a screaming reach along the beach line right off the last break and cheers could be heard as people picked their favorite color sail to cheer on. The race was dominated by Don, Duly, and Scott on this day and they walked on the fleet. As people had to pack and travel, with some going half way across the country, we held one race on day 3, and it was a hit for sure.

We retired to Hardheads for the final party and awards ceremony. The trophies were done by Crown Trophy and were very nicely made for each class. There was also a Prindle 19 perpetual trophy which was sent by Jay Glasser himself when he heard about the regatta, and his name was the last listed on the trophy. Finally there was an overall fleet trophy which Scott Tuma designed from the transoms of a condemned Prindle 18. The class winners were as follows; Prindle 16 - Donald Zeek, Prindle 18 - Rennie Ihle (barely edging out Tony for the win), Prindle 19mx - Duly Chaltain, Prindle Open - Scott Tuma. The 19 perpetual trophy as well was won on corrected time by Duly Chaltain. The fleet overall trophy was won in a very close battle by Donald Zeek with his daughter crewing.

There are many to thank to make this event possible, Texas City Dike Yacht Club, Bolivar Yacht Club, Hardheads Bar and Grill, Westwood Wealth Management, All Seasons Feeders/Smokers, Affinity Capital, Blackburn Marine, Bahama Rigging, Jose's Cantina, Salty Bovine BBQ, C&C Sailmakers, and many more that not mentioned here who's names are not mentioned here but were instrumental none the less. Most of all the regatta could not have been there without the sailors and crews that put the hard work into keeping these older boats on the water and whose dedication keeps putting new sailors on the water. Going forward the plan is to hold a 19 North Americans every few years at the Texas City Dike, associated with their regatta, Wayward Winds, and the fleet agreed that would be a good idea. We would be wrong to not mention the TCDYC Commodore and PRO for the regatta Roger Howard and his wife Lynda who were instrumental in running the races for the weekend.

Full results availablle here.

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