Queenstown Race

Now, I know this doesn't look like a race, but it is. More precisely, it's a picture of the Alberg fleet rafted in Queenstown the morning before the race back.

In the 1960's, the Alberg 30 was THE hot racing boat and it was not unusual to find 20 or 30 boats on the starting line. The numbers are much lower today, but the Alberg 30 is still the most active Cruising One-Design class on the Chesapeake Bay. Mike Lehman took up the challenge to get "twenty boats in Queenstown" in the year 2000. Well, fourteen boats started the race to Queenstown—a bit shy of the goal but well over the average 7-boat start.

Many of these boats were raced by self-described cruising sailors. (Notice the roller fuling genoas!) Some of the boats were raced with just two people on board. OK, so both races were won by racing boats, but the cruisers had just as much fun. And, at Love Point, just before the downwind leg in the Chester River, one husband-and-wife double-handed cruising boat found itself in front of the racing boat that wins most of the silver, much to their chagrin. (Of course, this situation didn't last long, but the bragging rights are good forever.) This is Cruising One-Design racing at its finest!

This photo was taken by Mr. James Klemstine and used by permission.

In the end, 14 boats started and 9 finished the race over and 12 boats finished the race back. There was a good party in between.

Offshore Sailing book cover Offshore Sailing by Bill Seifert with Daniel Spurr

We went to a Windjammers lecture to hear Bill Seifert and I was impressed enough to buy the book on the spot. I've heard a lot of people talk about ways to improve a boat, but I've never heard one person suggest so many good ideas that I hadn't considered. Part of the charm is the specificity of the suggestions. Everyone says you should secure your floorboards, hatchboards and batteries. Bill shows good suggestions on how to do so.

The suggestions are very practical for the do-it-yourselfer, too. Many show how to make or adapt inexpensive solutions. Tip #12 on closing the deck blower vents is one that will pay off for me without ever going offshore. I'll implement that one to stop the wintertime storms from finding their way belowdecks.

Besides modifications, the book also includes advice for operating offshore, cooking, boat selection, dealing with bureaucracy, and more.

Bill Seifert has worked at Tartan, TPI, and Alden Yachts. He's a veteran of many Marion-Bermuda races and now runs his own yacht management company. His tips are born of experience--not of book-learning--and it shows. He obviously knows his stuff.

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