Greetings From the Prez
Happy 2023! I haven’t got a clue how it got to be 2023. Last I remember, our boys were little and we were worried about race-day babysitters. Now they’re 20 and 23 and chasing babysitters of their own. Not kidding. My oldest is dating a nanny. Not sure what to do with that, but the bottom line is that I’m getting old. Honestly, this train is screaming out of control. Next stop, purgatory – mind the gap.
So, for better or worse, here I am again. Last time I was Fleet Captain was 2016-2017, which seems like just last week. I think that was the third go-round, which – showing off my math skills now – makes this the fourth go-round. I swore last time would be my last, but honestly, how can you say no to this face?
Anyway, I think I might have mentioned in one of my missives a half decade ago that Fleet 5 has been transformational for Christina and me. It started 25-26 years ago as a one-design experiment to complement our PHRF sailing (and boy did we suck those first few years). But over time, it evolved into the centerpiece. Through Fleet 5, our sailing and social networks became slowly intertwined, weaving themselves into the very fabric of our lives, and along the way, even resulted in professional opportunities. It has been quite a ride. People generously thank us for all we’ve done, and certainly we appreciate that. But the truth is, we should be thanking you. So, trust that I won’t be mailing it in. Fleet 5 is a gem for which I have huge reverence. I accept the role with humility. Hopefully, I will do as good a job as my predecessor.
Of course, it takes a village, and this year’s team (listed in the masthead above) looks to be among the strongest and most proactive in years. I couldn’t be more pleased, and hopefully you feel that way too. Please express your appreciation next time you see them.
As usual, the leadership group met in December to plan out next season and begin hatching new ways to keep things interesting. The process isn’t done yet, but events are expected to include two clinics, a spring meeting (with bar), a gaggle of parties and whole lot of racing, so strap in. What we have so far is summarized in Upcoming Events below.
Also worth mentioning is that we’re hitting the refresh button on fleet communications. We plan five monthly newsletters a year (including this one – schedule at the bottom), plus the 17-18 weekly ‘Road To The Cup’ mailings during the racing season. You’ll notice this newsletter abandons our old multi-column format in favor of a single column format easier to read on your phone. Let us know what you think. Also, we’re looking at ways to enhance our support for the Fleet 5 community through various social media. Elise has taken the point there and we’ll keep you posted.
The centerpiece of our racing season will again be Race Week, though as always, the core will be MRA, and you should know that MRA will likely mix things up a little this year. There is more on that in the MRA Fall Meeting Update below.
This year’s East Coasts will be hosted jointly by the Hingham and Hull fleets, and is expected to be a two-day event the weekend of June 24-25. And in case you hadn’t heard, Nationals will be in New Orleans on October 4th– 8th. If you’ve never sailed in New Orleans, trust me that the folks at Southern Yacht Club are professionals who take their hospitality seriously, so you won’t want to miss that. Definitely make time this summer to get the trailer wheel bearings repacked.
The winter party will be hosted by Anne Marije Veenland & Bryan Lee on Saturday February 4th. First gun is in five months. Happy new year! -kp
You’ll find the complete 2023 calendar of events below, but here are a few the near-term events you should know about.
Winter Party – Saturday February 4th This year’s Fleet 5’s winter party will be hosted by Anne Marije Veenland & Bryan Lee on Saturday evening, February 4th. The party will be potluck and it goes without saying that the Fleet bar will be ‘in the house.’ Fleet 5’s winter parties have a history of being lively, festive and well-attended. Circle the date, and keep an eye out for the evite.
Spring Meeting – Thursday April 20th We’ve decided to resurrect the spring meeting, which will be held on Thursday April 20th at the home of Christina & Kim Pandapas. Back in the day, the spring meeting was primarily for registration. This year, we’ll use it as an excuse to roll out the fleet bar, munch on a few hors d’oeuvres and share with you all the racing, scoring and social details of the upcoming season. We may even have a laptop available to help get you registered.
Spring Clinic – Thursday May 11th We’re planning two clinics this season: a spring off-the-water and a mid-summer on-the-water clinic. The spring clinic will be held on Thursday May 11th at 7PM at the Corinthian Yacht Club. We are still working out details on content and format and will keep you posted. For now, circle the date.
Fleet 5 Awards Recap
Fleet 5’s 2022 awards party was held at the home of Rebecca & Larry Ehrhardt. Huge thanks to them for opening their home to us. Outgoing Fleet Captain Elise Nash presided over the festivities, which in addition to a recap of the various series winners, also included the presenting of our Twilight awards and Fleet perpetuals. All 2022 results are listed below, but it’s worth pausing one final time to celebrate the winners of our perpetuals.
President’s Trophy – Steve Uhl Steve has done it all for the fleet over the past 20 years. No one is more worthy. Well deserved, and about time. Congratulations to Steve!
Richie Santos Outstanding Crew – Kathleen Lane After 20+ years, Steve Uhl finally clobbered us all and took home the Nick Nichols Trophy (aka the Cup). It’s hard not to notice that he sailed almost every day with Kathleen Lane, who we must assume was the difference maker. Well done, Kathleen!
Rookie(s) of the Year – Rich & Rosie Denton These guys were a slam dunk to win this one, not just based on performance, which included, by the way, a very respectable 7th at the 2022 Chicago nationals (in a borrowed boat). It also was based on their incredible drive and determination to race with us, a journey that included losing their first boat to a freak storm that dropped a tree on it – before they even had a chance to sail it. So glad they are here. Congratulations to them!
Most Improved – Timmy Dittrich & Karl Renney Timmy and Karl broke into the top 10 this year, which by itself, is an achievement. More importantly, however, is how they did it. Their boat was on the line consistently all season, sometimes steered by Timmy, other times by Karl, and occasionally by a guest skipper. Congratulations to them, for their achievement, consistency and for making sure their boat was on the line every week.
Hacker Award – Kim Pandapas This year’s winner (or loser, depending on how you look at it) was helping to deliver a boat from Virginia to Antigua during the awards, so not in attendance (and unable to defend himself). The word is that wife Christina Pandapas threw him under the bus with a compelling nomination having something to do with leaving their boat hanging from the crane one morning for 45 minutes waiting for the tide to come in. Guilty as charged.
MRA Fall Meeting Update
The MRA held its Fall Fleet Reps meeting on Dec 13th. Attending for Fleet 5 was MRA Rep Joe Fava and Fleet Captain Kim Pandapas. MRA did a ton of prep work for this meeting, including compiling the results of its recent survey into a lengthy list of 24 potential initiatives, which in aggregate are intended to improve communication, participation and RC staffing efficiency. Some of the initiatives MRA considered coming into this meeting include:
- Sticking with the three-series format of five days per series.
- Reintroducing byes, possibly at one per series.
- Collapsing the lines to a single line five times over the season, including Memorial Day weekend and the Saturday after Race Week.
- Instituting a more robust online crew finder function.
- Hosting more social events, including a pre-season kick-off.
- Improving communications broadly, including a Thursday skipper email to gauge expected attendance for that weekend’s racing, as well as to communicate any line or weather updates. The attendance list would be posted and available to all, and help to inform RC staffing.
More than in years past, in addition to its race management role, MRA appears to have embraced a willingness to evolve its product with the changing fleets composition, sailor demographics and preferences. To that end, Chair Mark Toso and his team spent most of the meeting listening. Unsurprisingly, the feedback was not always consistent across fleets. Joe Fava for Fleet 5 communicated a range of points:
- We are supportive of the series changes last year and recommended they continue.
- Participation would likely improve with more racing variety, such as a day of multiple short-course races and a day of one long ‘around government buoys’ type of race, similar to the ‘Around Misery Island Race.’
- Less reaching and more racing would be a positive. More less-perfect races would be better than the extra time needed to do fewer perfect races.
- 90% of racing is social. More well-organized social events would improve the MRA experience.
Finally, MRA has asked that the fleets update their PRO Guide, a reference for ROs that list fleets’ preferences. Fleet 5’s 2022 PRO Guide instructions are below. We’ll likely augment these to underscore Joe’s points about occasional days of short-course racing and a long ‘around the buoys’ race. Please send comments to Joe Fava at firstname.lastname@example.org with a cc to Kim Pandapas at email@example.com
Fleet 5 2022 PRO Guide
Interest in Fleet 5 is on the upswing. Several people have expressed varying levels of interest and we hope they all join us. The largest constraint right now is the availability of boats, so if you know of one for sale, please let someone on the leadership team know. Here are a few of the folks who have expressed interest.
Welcome Team Regnault-Stoel Anne Marije Veenland lost a crew but Fleet 5 gained a boat. Anne Marije’s crew, Marine Regnault-Stoel bought #1316 from Joe &Elise last fall, and rumor has it Marine will be sailing with her husband Alex Regnault. Another husband-wife team! We are excited to see them on the line!
Welcome Team Hefler Old friend Greg Hefler (who sailed Etchells out of CYC for years) and his daughter Hanna Hefler have purchased Rhodes 1933 and plan to race it. Huge welcome to Greg & Hanna.
Welcome to Bill Colehower, Craig Todaro & Phil Walker This promising EYC team wants to sail with us but is still looking for a boat. We’ll do everything we can to help. If you hear of a boat, let KP know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome (in advance) to Jean Francois Guillou This from Anne Marije Verenland. “Laser sailor Jean Francois Guillou discovered the Rhodes19 frostbite racing out of Courageous a while ago and has been joining CSC there for a few seasons now. Looking forward to getting Jean Francois and his wife Judith joining us in a Rhodes19 in Marblehead.”
Hopeful Welcome to Toby Reiley Toby wrote in with this. “I may be looking to acquire a sail for a Rhodes which I hope the owner may choose to start racing. Heck, with a semi-good main, Sally and I might try our hand at the Twilight series!” How awesome is that? If you need to make a little space in your sail locker, while also helping to get another boat on our line, please contact Toby at email@example.com, or call 978-815-2282.
EYC Wins the Greenwich Cup In case you missed it, on Saturday Oct 22nd, the CYC hosted the Greenwich Cup match race, the brainchild of Fleet 5er Joe Fava. The event pitted CYC against EYC in a format where each club puts forth four boats who sail a round robin that seeds skippers into a winner take all final round. Congrats to Team EYC for taking honors with nine points to CYC’s seven. Several fleet 5ers supported the event, including PRO Joe Fava and Chief Umpire Rick Myers. Even more Fleet 5ers raced in it, including Matt Hooks, Rob Pascal, Anne Marije Veenland, Beanie Eisner, (his eminence) Peter Frisch, Joe Fava, Christina Pandapas, Dan Gabriel (2022 RW fame) and Tom Dailey (pictured below).
Team CYC Takes the Halloween Team Race! Also in case you missed it, well done to the CYC team for winning this year’s Halloween Team Race. The CYC team included a three Fleet 5ers, Christina Pandapas, Timmy Dittrich and Karl Renney, as well as Fleet 5 alum Peg MacMaster. Fleet 5 members sailing for Eastern included Ramsay Hoguet, Anne Marije Veenland, and Chris Remeika.
Helly Hansen Sets Regatta Schedule The HH regatta schedule is set, and as usual, includes Race Week, which will be held July 27-30.
Race Week Videos Worth Watching Speaking of Helly Hansen, there are several 2022 RW videos on YouTube worth watching. First is called the Rhodes and Towns of Marblehead, a piece that features the Townie and R19 classes as the most longstanding and durable Marblehead fleets. The others are recaps of weekend racing that capture of a lot of sailing action, including the Saturday Highlights and the Sunday Highlights.
Fleet Profile – Meet Anne Marije Veenland
Compiled by Christina Pandapas
Anne Marije first came to Fleet 5 as Thursday night crew for Jim Taylor only a few years ago. If you know her at all, it wasn’t a bit surprising that it wasn’t long before she bought the brown and red #2651 and was on the starting line for just about everything from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Calling her passionate doesn’t begin to describe the energy she brings to the things she loves – from sailing and dogs (even sailing with dogs) to horses and cleaning (yes, cleaning). Read on to learn more about Anne Marije’s Rhodes journey and lots more.
Q: What was the first boat you ever sailed?
AMV: My dad had a small 16+ foot sailboat when we lived in Curaçao. As a baby, I was regularly brought on board for a sail. (Not that I can remember anything.) The first boat I started sailing in by myself as a little kid, was a 12-foot Dutch Bruynzeel Waarschip, a marine plywood dingy my dad built in 1984. Thankfully I was able to get it transported to the US and it is now stored in our yard.
Q: How long have you been sailing Rhodes?
AMV: First time I moved to Boston and lived in Beacon Hill, I joined Community Boating at the Charles River in the spring of 2008. Back then they still organized the amazing, fun harbor island camp trips in Rhodes 19’s! CBI is a great place to start spending time in and around the water and make new friends.
Q: Why did you start sailing Rhodes?
AMV: When I moved back to Boston in 2012, I wanted to sail more, so joined the Rhodes 19 Frostbiting fleet out of Courageous in Charlestown that fall and have been doing that ever since. Now living in Marblehead for a couple of years, I thought it was time to get my own Rhodes 19 as well, so you see us in Rhodes 19 #2651.
Q: How long have you been sailing with your dog?
AMV: Olly has been coming out regularly on race days when it is not too windy.
Q: What is the name of your boat and is there a story behind it?
AMV: We called her Loki, which was the name of our old dog who loved to sail with us. Story is that the boat had been sitting in someone’s yard for years and not seen the water in a long time. I was quite nervous the first time we launched her in the summer of 2021 that she would actually float. But she did! So, the story telling really still has to begin.
Q: What is your favorite non-sailing activity?
AMV: My dear friend and crew, Marine, would definitely answer “cleaning.”
Q: What do you do for work?
AMV: Something with finance and corporate income tax.
Q: What is your most memorable sailing moment?
AMV: There are many, but a recent one that jumps out: this past Labor Day, BYC organized the fundraiser regatta for Sail Salem. The rain in the forecast kept some boats away but it turned out to be a decent afternoon for a pursuit race. And quite windy for single handing but it was pretty cool to hold all boats off until very close to the finish line, where in the last minute, two bigger yachts passed.
Q: What is the biggest bonehead thing a crew of yours has ever done during a race?
AMV: Nothing come to mind worth mentioning.
Q: What is the biggest bonehead thing you’ve done during a race?
AMV: Ask my husband.
Q: What’s the best tip you could give someone who is sailing a Rhodes for the first time?
AMV: For first time sailors, a sailboat is like a bike, you need some speed in order to maneuver. For racers, enjoy the ride and be patient, pretend you have a cocktail or cold beverage in your hand.
Q: What book are you reading?
AMV: Work stuff. You do not want to know.
Q: Name one thing about yourself that fellow Fleet 5 members might be surprised to know about you.
AMV: I have always been obsessed with horses, since the day I was born. Not sure who I got it from, definitely not my parents. I spent every free minute possible before and after school, high school and college plus weekends training jumping horses — horses first and then homework second kind of thing. I traded the horses in for sailboats when I moved to the US. Although I still walk my neighbor’s pony, Stitch. In addition to horses, during my studies in Rotterdam, I also joined the rowing club SKADI, and most challenging race in that time for me personally was completing a 100 km rowing race as a crew in an eight after having done the same 100 km race twice as a cox in the previous years. (The only fun thing about it is that you can say you have done it.)
Boats Needed Several people are searching for boats to buy or charter. If you know of one, please contact Kim P. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crew Available – Julianna Testa, who you may recall last season came out with Jacob Martz and spanked the fleet and won the day, is looking for crewing opportunities. You can reach her at email@example.com.
Got Gripes? Got gripes or constructive suggestions? Thoughts on a recruiting prospect of how to improve our numbers? Don’t be shy. Unload at firstname.lastname@example.org. The buck stops here.
Congratulations To Our 2022 winners
Fleet 5ers in the Caribbean Two Fleet 5 affiliated boats made their way to the Caribbean this Fall. Seamus Hourihan’s Thirst sailed from Marblehead to Tortola with a stop in Bermuda. Crew for the first leg included Fleet 5 alum John Thompson (previous owner of Hall Pass), and on the second leg old friend Rick Myers, who you’ll recall often crewed with Drew Slattery. Here’s a shot that Seamus sent in of Sopers Hole, Tortola.
The other boat was Fleet 5 alums Katie & Jeremy Bloxham’s Persephone, which made the trip from Hampton Virginia to Antigua. Crew included Fleet 5 alum Jeff Dinsmore, Russ Chapman and Kim Pandapas. Below is a shot of English Harbor from Shirley Heights.
From the History File Take a look at this old ad featuring John Casler’s boat.
Among the interesting representations in this marketing is that the motor well can double as a cooler. John writes, “The date seems to be in 1977. I think the boat would have been owned by Rockwell Keith out of Manchester at that time.”
Several wrote in with comments on the RTTC Holiday Edition. This from Stefan Thibodeaux. “Great job. It is so much fun to read and it has been especially nursing to my soul this year due to all the boat work and so little sailing.”
Another is from Judy Adam, “I enjoy your RTTC observations. You handle words with skill!”
From Joan Thayer. “Excellent list. You forgot to mention the fabulous newsletter editor who keeps us all informed with fact and fiction all with good humor. Thank you, thank you. You didn’t tell us if you are continuing to do so next year or did I miss that elsewhere? Do you need more pens or erasers in your stocking?”
And from Timmy Dittrich, “Thank you Santa for Kim!”
Finally, John Casler sent in this interesting observation back on December 14th. “If all goes well tonight, we will have an extra minute of daylight prior to sunset. This is indeed a big deal, as it is a start back toward 7:00 PM Twilight starts. This will be the first time we have gained back Twilight time since last June.” You gotta love that optimistic attitude, but what do you think he means by “if all goes well?” I mean, what on (or off) earth could go wrong here? Just curious.
But wait, there’s more. Twilight PRO David Graham lobbed this in. “Woah!! Not until tomorrow, and even then, we will still be losing a half-minute each morning until the end of the month! Remember that old New England saying, ‘As the days begin to lengthen, the cold begins to strengthen!’” Gosh, who knew?
Racers 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 – Call (978) 740-5950 for new sails and repairs.
Chris Small – Full restorations and glass work- email@example.com, (978) 500-9021.
Seacoast Specialty Marine – Call Greg Dolan at 978-255-2769, click on seacoastspecialtymarine.com, or visit on Facebook @seacoastspecialtymarine.
Neal Lewanda – Repairs, fiberglass/gel coat, rudders, keel work, etc. – firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 978-525-2700
Benjamin Parker operates Aequoris Yachts and does all varieties of glass work and boat repair. Contact Ben at 58 Gregory Street, Marblehead (207) 319-3583 or email@example.com.
Kenny Harvey – Rigging firstname.lastname@example.org or (781) 631-6644
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 www.sailortailors.com for boat covers, rudder bags and marine stitching.
Fleet 5 newsletters will be distributed on the 1st of January, March, April, May and November. The Road to the Cup mailings will be distributed weekly starting one week before the season with the ‘Week 0’ edition, and continuing until the end of the season, typically on Sunday mornings, unless there is racing on Sunday, in which case Monday mornings.