March Newsletter

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Greetings From The Prez

The days are getting longer, the birds are chirping, spring training is starting, and you know what that means – the sailing season is just around the corner. While Memorial Day seems like the distant future, first gun is just 13 weeks away.

Those of you who know Joe Fava and me, know that we are not exactly the poster children for boat prep, but I can assure you that the sailors at the top of the fleet have already taken out their lists, started ordering parts and are getting ready pull the cover off sooner than you think. For some good tips on what you could (should) be doing, check out “The Art of Preparation” in the March 2017 Newsletter, where Kim Pandapas and Charlie Pendleton talk through how they prepare for the season, complete with multiple quotes from the great Bill Belichick. Speaking of pulling the cover off, check out this article passed along by Joan Thayer about a Rhode Island based non-profit working to ensure shrink wrap is recycled.

It’s been a busy past few months. First off, a huge thanks to Class President Mike Lane for running a well-attended and highly productive Class Association Annual Meeting. There was a lot of good discussion around the proposed rules changes, most notably the 2 vs. 3 for sanctioned events. New Class Secretary Timmy Dittrich recently emailed the class to let us know that two of the three proposed changes were approved while the proposed weight limit amendment was not. Could a new proposal by Kim Pandapas, Bill Bradford and Mike Lane finally put this issue to bed? Check out page 4 more details.

At the Annual Meeting Mike Lane also announced the retirement of long time Class Secretary Jeff Shoreman. We would be remiss without thanking Jeff for his many years of service to both Fleet 5 and the Class, and hope to see him back in a leadership role in a few years once he has more time on his hands. It was also announced that Fleet 5 friend Mike Herbert, of Hingham/Hull’s Fleet 46, is taking over as the East Coast Vice President. In this new role Mike has set up the East Coasts Fleet Captains’ Round Table, where once a month the Fleet Captains from Maine to Georgia get together on zoom to share strategies about fleet building, information about upcoming regional events and how to engage younger sailors in the class. I know I speak for the others when I say that we are enjoying these monthly discussions and see it as a valuable asset for building relationships and maintaining healthy fleets.

On Saturday January 23rd many of you joined us for our virtual Winter Party, hosted by Larry Ehrhardt. While it was not the same as actually getting together to put a dent in the fleet bar, it was really great to see so many familiar faces, as well as some new faces, including Hingham/Hull’s Joe Berkeley and Tech Dinghy Racer Jay Watt. It got me thinking that now is a perfect time to bring back the Fleet Profiles. With much thanks to Christina Pandapas, our Profile Editor-in-Chief, this month we feature Seamus Hourihan, who races with Peter Frisch aboard #1210, a.k.a. Hall Pass – quite possibly the best boat name ever.

Lastly, the Nationals Planning Committee met in early February to pick up where we had left off last June. While we did have a formal agenda, most of the discussion centered around the feasibility of hosting the Nationals this August. Everyone on the Committee felt that we ought to work to host the event, adjusting as necessary pending where things stand with the pandemic. For more details, see the write up on Page 4.

Upcoming Events

  • Spring ClinicMay 6th Save the date for this one! Fleet 5 will host a discussion with Jud Smith and Tomas Hornos on how to win a regatta. The discussion will be moderated by Kim Pandapas. The event will run from 7-8:30pm and will likely be a virtual.
  • Measurement DaysWith Nationals coming we have tentatively scheduled two measurement days: April 24th-25th and May 22nd-23rd. *covid vaccine pending
  • Twilights Commence – May 27th The Twilight Series will start on May 27th , the Thursday before Memorial Day.
  • Spring Series – May 29th–30th Spring Series will kick off on the Saturday & Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.
  • East CoastsJune 4th-6th At Manchester Sailing Association. Mark your calendars for this great local event.
  • Marblehead NOODsJuly 22nd-25th Hosted by EYC.
  • NationalsAugust 18th-20th at CYC.* * *

Short Tacks

Welcome Rich and Rosy Denton!

Welcome to the newest members of the Fleet 5 family.

Rich and Rosy Denton recently purchased Rhodes 19 #802 and are looking to join us out on the line this coming season.

Rich and Rosy have lived in Salem for about 5 years and while Rich does a ton of windsurfing here, they’ve been itching to get back onto a boat together. Rich has taught and raced beach dinghies for most of his life, with most of his racing being on F18 Catamarans, and Rosy raced through high school.

Be sure to keep an eye out for them and sail by to say hi.

New Rule Book

Did you know there is a new US Sailing rule book out? According to Dave Perry there are no “revolutionary” changes in 2021-2024 rules, however, there are some changes to be aware of related to starboard tack luffing rights, hunting (primarily a team-racing issue), what counts regarding when a boat has “crossed the line” and changes to the information listed in NORs and SIs (hint – you need to read them both now). For more details check out The Racing Rules of Sailing 2021-2024 and stay tuned for an article summarizing these changes in the April Newsletter.

US Sailing App

Along with the new rule book, US Sailing has launched a new App. Susie Schneider writes “US Sailing has created a new, very comprehensive APP with new features to help sailors use the rulebook more effectively. There is even a way to submit protest forms electronically. Here is a screenshot giving you a brief description of the new features.”

Note: use the link listed above and scroll down to learn more about the app

Hell hasn’t frozen over yet.

But Texas certainly has! Check out this picture of a marina in Houston that was posted to Sailing Anarchy last week. Yikes!

Calling All Weather Nerds

Speaking of whacky weather, a friend and former design colleague of mine is an amateur/aspiring meteorologist in his spare time. After a hiatus following the arrival of twins last January, he is back to posting about macroscale climate phenomenon that impact our local weather. If you are interested in reading more of his posts or receiving his newsletter, check out the archive on his site Pieces of Scenery

Want to get away?

Great Harbor Yacht Club of Nantucket is hosting a one-day Regatta, The GHYC Rhodes 19 Challenge, on Sunday August 1st. Boats will be provided and the Club is expecting to host up to 14 teams from around the region. If you like college style racing, complete with boat rotations, this event is for you. Currently they have invited 3 teams from Marblehead so if you are interested, please let me know and I can forward the NOR. COVID, of course, makes this all conditional.  

Recognize these guys?

Continuing with Kim’s constant shaming, we found this great picture of Katie and Jeremy Bloxham with Kathy Wright winning East Coast’s 2001. Will this past year’s lack of commute have given Jeremy the time to finish up the work on their new boat? We sure hope so!

Fleet 5 Trivia

Newly minted BYC Rear Commodore Jay Watt’s photo got us wondering “How many Fleet 5 Members have been Commodores at one of the local clubs?” (Answer coming in the April Newsletter)

Annual Meeting Follow-up – Update on 2v3

by Kim Pandapas

As you know, the Class held its 2020 annual meeting by Zoom in January, and I think I speak for everyone by tipping by cap to Mike Lane for a job well-done. That was by far the best organized, well-attended annual meeting in my memory. It was collaborative, constructive, everyone had their say, and we managed to get through a contentious rules issue with spectacularly positive discourse. Thanks, Mike for a job well done.

Anyway, this is to update you on the 2 v 3 rules proposal debated at that meeting. Thankfully, it did not pass, opening the door for us to replace it with the alternative proposal floated at the meeting. That approach, which proposed that people be allowed to sail with either two or three, but once they declared, they would have to live with the decision, seemed to strike the right balance and garner a lot of support. Since then, an informal committee of Bill Bradford, Mike Lane and I have crafted that idea into proposed language that I believe has now gone out to the class for review. In case you missed it, here is that language.

  • B 12.02 – The total crew complement per boat, including Helmsman, shall be no less than two for all races.
  • B 12.03 – The crew complement shall be declared at registration, shall apply for all races, and shall not be changed for any reason.
  • B 12.04 – The names of the crew on each boat, including Helmsman, shall be specified at registration. Any substitutions will require the written consent of the judges.

Class members will have some period of time (30 days?) to consider it and then will vote, presumably well before Nationals. I hope you support this.

Nationals 2021 Update

by Kim Pandapas and Elise Nash

Nationals is coming, we swear.

You might recall that circumstances conspired against our holding Nationals last year, leaving us no choice but to reschedule for this year. So reschedule we did for Monday through Friday, August 16-20.

Your 2021 Nationals Regatta Committee met in February to pick up where they left off. It’s worth noting that every member of last year’s committee agreed to stay on and do it again this year, which as far as we’re concerned deserves hazard pay. In addition to the co-chairs, that committee includes Jocelyn Cook (trophies), Stefan Thibodeaux (measuring), Mark & David Rubin (sponsorships), Tom Dailey (housing & charter), Steve Uhl (race management), Christina Pandapas (communications) and Peter Sorlien (treasurer), plus new recruit Timmy Dittrich who has signed on the lead the social side of the effort.

While there remains a lot of virus uncertainty and where things will be by summertime, the committee is going full bore planning this event with all the trimmings. If circumstances force us to scale it back, we’ll do that instead of canceling. So, no matter what, there will be some scale of nationals regatta this summer.

The NOR is expected to go up any day, and we’ll plan to provide updates at the web site

You also can reach out to either of us at or

Fleet 5 Profile: Seamus Hourihan

By Christina Pandapas

We have done quite a few Fleet 5 profiles over the years, so we can say with authority that Seamus Hourihan’s is one of the most entertaining, in-depth biographies to be published in this newsletter. It’s got a little of everything: sailing carnage, tech-economy commentary, on-board fist fights, even armed robbery. Dive in for the drama and read to the end for some great sailing advice.

What was the first boat you ever sailed?

The first boat I sailed was most likely a Brutal Beast at the YMCA Children’s Island Day Camp in the early 1960s. We also sailed Turnabouts and Widgeons. I remember fairly vividly capsizing/swamping the Brutal Beast between the Island and the Marblehead Light with three other junior sailors at the beginning of my first session. After two or three years at the camp, my father bought Town Class #14, a wooden boat with a fiberglassed bottom and canvas deck. My father, brother and I raced the boat on Saturday afternoons, Sunday mornings and Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Eventually, it would be just my brother and me racing with my father and mother watching the from an outboard. A couple of times we had fist fights in the boat with the sails flogging until the fight was over. This time period was a Town Class heyday with typically 30 boats racing on both Saturday and Sunday, and over 60 boats in two divisions during Race Week. We eventually ended up burning the boat for fire wood but I still have the transom, brass traveler and other assorted parts that I will make into something someday.

Since the Town Class I have owned nine other sailboats and have skippered or crewed on 12 other designs. Pre-COVID in 2019, my sailing encompassed R19 one design racing, Wednesday night PHRF racing, catamaran racing and cruising, and team racing.

How long have you been sailing Rhodes?

I have been sailing Rhodes 19 for about 13 years in two different eras.

The first era, in a boat named “Dog in the Rhode” started in 1994 after I sold my J24. Dog in the Rhode was a Stuart boat #3194 newly purchased by a very close friend, Tom Dimond. Tom, a Tufts college sailor and periodically one of my crew, wanted to put a campaign together. He also recruited Mark Crawford who worked at Cressy Sails. Mark was our rigger, jib trimmer and foredeck. Under Mark’s guidance, Dog in the Rhode was the first to abandon diamond stays with an untampered mast. Mast tapering came later. I was upwind tactician, main trimmer and spin trimmer. Tom, as owner and the lightest weight-wise, skippered. We were probably the heaviest boat sailing – around 520 lbs. At the other extreme, I would sometime sail with just my daughter driving in non-critical MRA races and do well at less than 300 lbs. After a competitive 1994, Tom, Mark and I proceeded to win the R19 Nationals three years in a row – 1995 in New Orleans, 1996 in Marblehead and 1997 in Chicago. With that accomplishment, Tom and I moved on and purchased Viper 640 #57 together.

The second era started in 2012. John Thompson (aka JT) owned R19 #1210 and was looking for sailors to race the boat sometimes with and sometimes without him. For me, the primary attraction was racing in the largest competitive one-design class in Marblehead again. That’s also when Peter Frisch and I started sailing together. Another attraction! Soon, Peter and I became co-owners with John. And eventually, we bought him out.

Where did the name Hall Pass come from?

JT named the boat “Hall Pass.” In this context, it was a wife’s permission for her husband to go sailing with friends. Perhaps it was named after the 2011 movie with same name directed and produced by the Farrelly Brothers where Rick and Fred are given a “Hall Pass” by their wives: for one week, they can do whatever they want.

We kept the name. JT, however, has wanted us to change it since he has a Frers 36 with the same name. While Peter has suggested Hall P ass, with the P crossed out, we haven’t had the real passion to change things.

What is your favorite non-sailing activity?

Skiing – downhill, AT and cross country. Shortly after starting to ski, but not learning to ski, my brother John, age eight, and I, age nine, broke our legs on the same day at the Moose Mountain in Wolfboro, NH. A combination of old bear trap bindings, heavy snow with crust underneath, and, in my case, an old lady who cut me off contributed to our bad breaks. After we spent the night in Wentworth Hospital, we appeared in the Salem News’ featured front page photo on January 22, 1964. Thirteen weeks in two different casts. Our mother was a saint. While it was scary, we did get on back on skis. The family bought a condo in the White Mountains were we regularly skied Wildcat, Cranmore, Attitash, Tyrol, Intervale and Cannon. During college at Dartmouth, I skied nearly every day often before classes. I was a ski bum for one winter during college at Jackson Hole. In downtown Jackson I was held up by a masked man with gun attempting to rob and rape my trailer’s land lady. BC (Before Catamaran), my family had season tickets at Sugarbush for over 20 years. I have skied at nearly all of top areas in US and Canada and many in Europe. I have skied the Haute Route, an alpine touring trip over seven days from Chamonix to Zermatt. Definitely the most grueling activity I ever did. Much worse than a marathon. 3000-4000 feet up and down every day. And we had terrible weather – extremely poor visibility and some days, heavy snow. You couldn’t ski the downs very


or fast because of crevasses. Here you are at the top of the Alps and can’t see anything. It was like you were on an elliptical trainer in a closet for seven days.

What did you do for work?

I worked for mostly fast-growing, VC-funded start-ups in “true high tech” – computers, networking and software – for 37 years. (Sorry, Wayfair, Uber, et al – are not high-tech.) Great mentors were important in my early positions. I started with an eight-year apprenticeship spanning finance, sales support, sales, product and marketing at Data General, the minicomputer company that at the time had fastest revenue growth to one billion. Other professional highlights include executive management roles at Wellfleet Communications and Acme Packet. Wellfleet was #2 in the router industry and Cisco’s primary competitor in the early 1990s. It was recognized as Inc. Magazine’s Fastest Growing in both 1992 and 1993. I served as VP, Marketing for Wellfleet. Acme Packet was creator and leader in session border controller (SBC) product segment. I served as SVP responsible for overall company strategy, product management and marketing.

What is your most memorable sailing moment?

I don’t have just one. I have many that span racing, cruising and long-distance, off-shore deliveries. I don’t single hand, so they all involve friends and family. My wife, Amy, was a regular crew member on our J24 for seven years pre-kids. Daughter Kate and son Tim were also active sailors. In the Viper 640, Kate would drive, Tim tended jib and spin while I managed the main.

What is the biggest bonehead thing you’ve done during a race?

I reserve bonehead moments for incidents than cause physical pain or suffering. I have had a few – separating my own shoulder while stumbling across deck during tack at Viper 640 NAs in Annapolis, breaking my brother John’s wrist during jibe at J120 one-design regatta in Newport, others. The most painful self-induced injury occurred during an EYC Lambert PHRF race in my J120.

After I started the race, I gave the helm to my daughter Kate. On one of the first tacks upwind while crossing the boat, I managed to get the top of my right index finger caught in the main sheet turning block at the end of the boom. Nearly ripped it right off. The pain was excruciating. I stuffed the whole finger in my mouth. The EYC launch with Mike Smith was summoned to get me and Kate off the boat. An ambulance carted me to Salem Hospital where they gave me some pain killers. But they decided they couldn’t repair my finger. My daughter would have to drive me to Mass General. Once at Mass General, the attending surgeon gave me two options. Option one was to have actual surgery where they would put me out with anesthesia. Option two entailed inserting a needle through the very tip of the finger through the first bone (distal phalanges), pass the first joint and into the next finger bone (intermediate phalanges). And they would stich up the skin. The needle would protrude and remain in the finger for at least a month when they would pull it back out. I chose Option two. A month later, the thought of the pull out was nearly as bad as the injury itself. Today, the repair didn’t really work – the top of that fingers bends left. Big boat, big pain.

What is the biggest bonehead thing a crew of yours has ever done during a race?

Many contenders, but my father wins this one. RIP! We were racing the Town Class during Race Week in the mid-60s. There was building Nor’easter with big wind and waves. The one race was to be a triangle course around Government marks. Start at the can on the backside of Cat Island, round a red nun marking the South Breakers near Halfway Rock, down the east side of Baker’s Island to round the bell buoy there and return to the finish. We never finished. At the red nun marking the breakers, the shoaling seas were huge. After rounding the nun, my father raised our centerboard COMPLETELY! The boat was promptly picked up by a breaking wave and thrown closer to the breakers. I fell off the boat to windward without life jacket and wearing heavy yellow foul weather gear and Top Siders.

Fortunately, my father stayed inside the boat. I had to swim back to the boat at

least 25 yards. I thought I was going to drown. The Manchester YC launch Trident driven by Carl Magee eventually arrived but couldn’t approach until we drifted further downwind. After getting a tow line attached, my father hopped in the launch and I stayed in the boat to help steer her back to the harbor. Later that day, my father and I delivered a bottle to Carl’s home in Marblehead.

What’s the best tip you could give someone who is sailing a Rhodes for the first time?

Keep the boat moving at all times! To say the Rhodes is neither quick or fast is an understatement. Keep it moving on the starting line, don’t be too early. You can usually sail below or above and by stalled boats. Don’t pinch. Once you get the boat moving your ability to point will improve. Tacks are slow, minimize them. If someone tacks on your air close by, bear off to get clear air. The only time to slow down, but not stop, is at a mark rounding. At the windward mark, slow down to get behind a boat to execute a jibe set. At leeward mark rounding, to round close to mark not outside another boat.

What book are you reading?

Recent ones include “In The Kingdom of Ice” by Hampton Sides. It is the story of the terrible polar voyage of the USS Jeanette. Another is “Hot, Living through the next fifty years on Earth” by Mark Hertsgaard.

Name one thing about yourself that fellow Fleet 5 members might be surprised to know.

My latest project is helping my son build a new home and out-buildings on his farm land in Maine. In the fall of 2018 we architected and built a 40-by-40-foot deck for a 30-foot diameter off-grid yurt. The deck project entailed digging holes and pouring concrete piers for 18 posts that would support six 40-foot-long beams built from multiple 20-foot 2×12 boards. The beams in turn support a joist system which in turn supports a joist system and the deck on top. The actual yurt was a kit which needed to be erected. Inside, we have built ship-lap walls to separate bedroom, bathroom and to support a large loft. Electricity is provided by 15-panel solar array some 100

feet away from the yurt. Hot water is provided by separate vacuum-tube panel mounted above the outdoor shower. Heat is provided by efficient wood-burning cookstove. This past summer, we have built a chicken coop for 17 birds, a tool shed, and two three-cord firewood sheds. More recently, we have erected a fabric building, 36 feet wide, 60 feet long and 20 feet high, on four-foot pony walls to house sheep, hay and farm

equipment. The project required just the two of us, two pieces of scaffolding and some block and tackle from my son’s professional arborist work. I was the ground guy since I was four weeks out from total knee replacement when we started. Now a month later, we are about to install a large 12-by-12-foot commercial overhead steel door.

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Way to go Fleet 5! In our newest frostbiting fleet Steve Uhl reports that “the top 5 tech dinghy spots are all R19 veterans:”

  1. Tomas Hornos
  2. Jud Smith
  3. Larry Ehrhardt
  4. Tom Dailey/ Steve Uhl
  5. Ben Richardson

For full results check out the Tech Dinghy Frostbiting Results and for more photos of the action check out Phil Smith’s Photography Site

In other news, rumor has it that Kim and Christina are expecting. No, not that! They are expanding their fleet by one new cruising boat, a Hanse 458. They take delivery in May. Kim said not to worry, they’re not going anywhere.” I sure hope not, we have a Nationals to run!

Got News? Let’s hear from you. Send your gossip, rumors and embarrassing tidbits to:

Mail Bag

In this month’s Mail Bag some thoughts on the proposed rules changes and a bit of much appreciated praise for the newsletter. Note: Some responses have been shortened to fit.

Joe Fava wrote: “If you sail with 2 and are under weight, can you carry extra weight or do you have to sail with 3? My thought has always been the disadvantage of 3 is that your weight is farther back. Complexity is bad. It discourages people from sailing. My view is you should either be allowed to sail with two or 3 but I’d vote that no changes in an event are allowed.”

And from Robert Paterson – Fleet 36: “About the 2/3 crew issue, while I started with only one crew, I find the extra set of hands extremely valuable so sail with 2 crew now when I can. I am sure this discussion has been forwarded, and similar to your solution, just say 425lbs or 3 crew. Seems that would address all the issues?? Although I agree maybe yours is the more straightforward. Happy New Year.”

Susie Schneider wrote: “Kim, I see that Elise has taken over the Prez job with gusto! I don’t have her email address, but I do have one small correction: EYC is the host club for NOOD this year, not BYC, as she posted. Just the facts, nothin’ but the facts.” Noted! Thanks, Susie, for the correction.

From Jim Taylor: “Nice job, Elise!  I found that getting newsletters out was the hardest part of being prez, and you nailed it. It was important to get one out before the annual mtg, given the proposed rule changes.”

Matt Hooks wrote: “Great Newsletter! Thanks!”

Lastly from Mike Lane: “Awesome job on your first newsletter, and congratulations on becoming the new fleet captain! You are going to do a great job and add a new set of eyes to the challenges we face.”

Racer’s Resource Board

Dave Whittier of Stuart Marine in Rockland Maine is the exclusive builder of Rhodes 19s. Call Dave at 207-594-5515 for pricing on new boats, used boats, repairs and parts.

Doyle Sails at (978) 740-5950 for new sails and repairs.

Chris Small – Full restorations and glass work-, (978) 500-9021.

Seacoast Specialty Marine Call Greg Dolan at 978-255-2769, click on, or visit on Facebook @seacoastspecialtymarine.

Neal Lewanda – Repairs, fiberglass/gel coat, rudders, keel work, etc. –, 978-525-2700

Benjamin Parker of Aequoris Yachts and does glass work and boat repair. Contact Ben at 58 Gregory Street, Marblehead (207) 319-3583 or

Waterline Systems provides a complete range of services. Call at (401) 682-1661.

Cape Cod Shipbuilding makes Zephyr extrusions and a full range of mast and boom hardware and fittings. Call Dick Landis at (508) 295-2240.

The Trailer Shop – Located on 87 High St. in Danvers for any trailer repairs. Call Dan Sullivan at (978) 750-6799

Sailor’s Tailor for boat covers, rudder bags and marine stitching.

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Notice Board

Please mail postings and updates to

Clear Out Those Old Sails – Reclaim all that space in your garage, attic or sail locker. Please consider a tax deductible donation of your old sails to either Sail Salem at or Courageous at

Nahant Fleet Needs Sails – The Nahant Sailing Program (NSP) has 6 Rhodes 19s that are used to teach kids and a twilight program for adults. The majority of funding comes from an annual fund raiser by The Friends of Nahant Sailing. The Rhodes sails need replacement, so if you have or are purchasing new sails, please consider donating your old ones to “The Friends of Nahant Sailing.” Not only will it help the program grow, but the donation is tax deductible. Please contact Bob Cusack at (781) 581-1159 or if you are interested.

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The next Fleet 5 Newsletter will be published in April. Newsletters are distributed by email. To request being added to (or removed from) Fleet 5’s distribution list, please contact Martha Martini at To respond with comments, suggestions, and/or news, email Elise Nash at

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