April 2023 Newsletter

Greetings From the Prez

KP.jpg Eight more weeks! Can you believe it? We have just eight short weeks before the first gun of the 2023 season. The cherry blossoms are blooming, they’re playing baseball at Fenway and the Boston Marathon is just two weeks away. Spring is here, and Memorial Day weekend is barreling down like a freight train. Time to get on it, right? Inexplicably, my list seems to be getting longer, which suggests I didn’t read Charlie Pendleton’s article last month carefully enough. But come hell or highwater, I’ll be ready. How about you?

I love opening day. Memorial Day racing used to be the Spring Series. Now it’s part of MRA Series 1, but still a great weekend. It’s two consecutive days of racing, which happens just three times all season (RW and Labor Day weekend are the other two), which gives you the opportunity to get after it right out of the gate. It’s also a great opportunity to get a scoring jump on those without the sense to show up. After an entire season of racing, last year’s Cup Championship was decided on a tiebreaker, and if that’s not evidence that every race counts, I don’t know what is.

Speaking of scoring, we’ll lay it all out for you at the Spring meeting (details below), when we’ll also debate a few open questions, so please try to be there. And as we do every year, we’ll give you the full scoring rundown in the Week 0 edition of Road To The Cup, which will hit your inboxes on Sunday morning, May 21.

While on the subject of gearing up for the season, registration is open! Details are below, but the bottom line is that you can register for everything now online, including Fleet 5, the Class Association, MRA and even the East Coasts.

Finally, this edition includes two great features, including an account of Stefan Thibodeaux’s rib replacement odyssey, and a profile of Pete Kaznoski compiled by Christina Pandapas. Both are great reads and worth your time.

Eight weeks boys and girls! Eight short weeks.

Upcoming Events

Here are the next few events in our lineup. The complete 2023 calendar is at the end of this newsletter.

Spring Meeting – Thursday April 20th This will be held at the home of Christina & Kim Pandapas from 6:30-8:00 pm (agenda below). There will be plenty of beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres. We’ll send out an email with details.

MRA’s Cinco de Mayo Kickoff Party – Friday May 5th MRA kicks off the 2023 season on May 5th at the CYC (updated venue, thanks CYC).


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Spring Clinic – Thursday May 11th The first of this season’s two clinics will be held on Thursday May 11th at 7PM at the Corinthian Yacht Club. Cash bar. Details below.

Twilight Series Practice Race – Thursday May 25th Start your engines. Our first race of 2023 is unscored, so a perfect chance to shake off the cobwebs and get your mojo back.

MRA Series 1 – Days 1 & 2 – Saturday May 27 & Sunday May 28th. Opening day! The first two race days of our season will be run from one consolidated line.

Short Tacks

Registration Is Open You’ll need three registrations to start the season, including Fleet 5, the R19 Class Association and MRA. Register for the fleet and class association through Regattaman here. MRA registration will be on Clubspot and is expected to open April 15. Keep an eye on the MRA website.

East Coast Championship Fleet 46 will host the 2023 East Coasts Saturday and Sunday, June 24 – 25, on Hingham and Hull Bay, supported by both the Hingham and Hull fleets. Registration is open and can be accessed along with the NOR on the Hull YC website and Regattaman. If questions, please contact Tod Riedel, Fleet 46 co-captain for the Hull Yacht Club (todriedel@gmail.com , 617-543-5262) or Dave Nelson Fleet 46 co-captain for the Hingham Yacht Club (dmch.nelson@icloud.com, 508-446-4053).

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Spring Clinic Preview This year’s spring clinic is called “Succeeding in All Conditions,” focusing on how to be competitive in both light-and-variable and blowing stink. Topics will include boat set-up, rig tuning, sail trim, depowering tricks, upwind & downwind techniques, and so on. The format will be a moderated panel of three guys who know what they’re talking about, including Matt Hooks, Charlie Pendleton and Evan Cooke. We’ll also be treated to opening remarks from Charlie’s racing partner, CYC Commodore Jim Raisides, who as a 3-time national champ, should also have insight to share. Kim P. will moderate. It will be Thursday May 11th at 7pm in the Fantail at CYC. Cash bar will be provided.

Fast Mermaid Pursuit Race Scheduled for June 18th The 2nd Annual Fast Mermaid pursuit race will be Sunday June 18th. This BYC event is open to both PHRF and one design and will require separate registration. Proceeds last year went to support Lindsay Smith during her road back, and we assume the same will be true this year.

Around Misery Island Race Scheduled for August 19th. This event could be the greatest day of sailing you’ll have all summer. It’s scheduled for Saturday August 19th (the weekend of the Ted Hood when no MRA racing). It will be Twilight format with start and finish off the CYC booth, and will not be included in Cup Scoring, so the perfect opportunity to take spouses and kids. Huge thanks to Bart Snow for organizing, as well to PRO David Graham.

Database Clean-Up. A final reminder that we recently took a stab at updating the Fleet 5 database, and in the process probably threw out a few babies with the bath water. If you happen to read about an upcoming Fleet 5 event and are disappointed not to get an evite, let us know and we’ll fix it. Just email kpandapas@comcast.net.

CYC Going to the NYYC Rolex Invitational Cup It’s with no shortage of pride that we tell you that the CYC has earned an invitation to the NYYC Rolex Invitational Cup, which is among the most prestigious international one design regattas on the planet. Congrats to everyone at CYC, including team members, Sailing Committee and club leadership, who have worked over the past 10-15 years to bring CYC to this lofty point. Congrats also to the EYC and BYC whose extraordinary competitiveness over the years has served to sharpen us all.

Imitation the Highest Form of Flattery We’ve noted that CYC club communications about the Invitational Cup has been branded ‘Road to the 2023 Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup.’ In the insightful words of my friend Bill Dalton, “Huh.” Sounds a little familiar, right? Admittedly, we didn’t coin ‘Road To The Cup’ – that turn of phrase debuted decades ago in an America’s Cup campaign, but Fleet 5 has owned it for a while, so it’s hard not to be a little flattered.

Spring Meeting Agenda

The agenda includes, 1) season preview, 2) PRO Guide and 3) scoring. We’ll also have a laptop on hand to get you registered if you haven’t already.

The calendar preview will be straight-forward and hit the high points.

The PRO Guide discussion will finalize our 2023 racing preferences for MRA. Below is the 2022 language with proposed new language in red. If you’re unable to attend the meeting, please send your comments to Joe Fava at joseph.c.fava@gmail.com with a cc to Kim Pandapas at kpandapas@comcast.net.

The scoring discussion will consider whether to include the following dates in 2023 Cup scoring.

  1. MRA Series 2-Day 1 on June 24th This Saturday is the first day of East Coasts. Fleet 5 has long supported attendance at sanctioned events by eliminating scoring penalties. Scoring this would penalize teams choosing to compete in east coasts, and thereby create a disincentive to attend. Because there are no byes this season, not scoring is the only alternative.
  2. MRA Series 2-Day 5 on July 22nd This is the Saturday of the summer clinic, which will run while MRA racing. It will include live coaching by North Sails’ Stan Schreyer, followed by video and debrief on Sunday morning. The argument not to score is one of fairness, as competitors will be actively coached. The argument in favor is that more teams will likely participate. The scorer is indifferent, though notes that not scoring could potentially leave just three scored days in MRA Series 2.
  3. Fall Series on September 9th, 16th and 23rd MRA will not include Fall Series as part of its season scoring. Should we?

Doing It Yourself – My Rib Odyssey

By Stefan Thibodeaux

I was so excited last April to take the cover off and start my list of projects. They included keel work, painting, repairing a hair line crack where the keel and the hull joined, and tightening the keel bolts. When I climbed in to think about some of the controls I wanted to move, I thought to tighten the keel bolts, only to discover that the oak timbers were soft and the keel bolts rusted out. The sinking feeling was the realization that my season was done before it ever began.

I contacted two people to help me figure it out; Peter Sorlien and Jim Taylor. Jim was kind enough to look at the boat and give his assessment. Peter, who had totally rebuilt R19 hull 41, was my coach and project manager. They instilled in me the confidence to take on this project.

After the initial disappointment, I focused on making the boat better. I decided to upgrade the ribs from oak to foam and fiberglass, and set a goal to finish in time for Nationals in Chicago. I had never worked with fiberglass, so it was a jump into the deep end. This link will take you to the PowerPoint of the project, which is a step-by-step guide of what I did and where to acquire all the equipment needed to tackle the project. The most important tools are a grinder, vacuum system, respirator and patience.

Because 1790 started out 25 pounds underweight, I had no concerns about adding weight, so I decided to use G10. When I completed the project, the boat was actually 35 pounds underweight, which made me realize how heavy water-soaked oak ribs can be.

One problem with the Rhodes is hull flexing under load, so the other reason that we choose G10 was to strengthen the ribs to help reduce twisting under load. I cut the foam ribs 1.5 or 2 inches down from the top and then installed a piece of ¼-inch G10 the length and width of the rib. I shaped the G10 with the grinder and then used epoxy with filler to attach the rib to the hull, the G10 onto the foam, and then the top piece of foam to the G10.

As an analytical chemist, I have access to several vacuum pumps, so I decided to try vacuum bagging the ribs to the hull. This was a fun and useful experiment, which really helped me understand the value of vacuum bagging as well as the headaches of the technique.

Overall, vacuum bagging helped since I was able to lay all the fiberglass at one time. For each rib, I ran a strip of 4-inch-wide fiberglass across the length on the rib with a 3-inch tab into the hull. I then placed two pieces of fiberglass that fit the keel bolt cutout, and finally two more pieces of biaxial cloth over the whole rib. After every piece was placed, I would add epoxy. I would add more epoxy to the final piece just until it was wet. The next step was applying the peel ply and then the breather cloth. Finally, the vacuum bag plastic layer would be applied.

The tough part was figuring out which tape was best for holding down the vacuum film. I ended up using carpet tape since it was able to stick to the hull, and of course I used duct tape to seal leaks. The vacuum bagging made getting the cloth down easy, and the vacuum forced the fiberglass to take the shape of the foam rib. Most of the problems that Peter had with his rib job, laying down the biaxial cloth, were not a problem for me since I used the vacuum bagging system. I typically finished the day putting the ribs under vacuum so that the next morning I could start the next rib. Remove no more than two ribs at a time so that the keel doesn’t drop or move.

The lessons I learned include:

  1. Grind everything away at once instead of grinding and moving on to the next step, and then having to grind again for the next rib.
  2. Use two pumps. I wish I had used two pumps instead of one or one pump with a higher CFM rate.
  3. Get ready to spend some time and money on this project. I believe the total cost was about 3K for all the materials.

In the end, I did sail in Nationals, had a great time and a strong sense of accomplishment.

Fleet Profile – Meet Pete Kaznoski

By Christina Pandapas

With 20 years of sailing in our fleet, Pete Kaznoski has this Rhodes thing nailed down. A Race Week winner and always in the mix at the top of the standings, Pete knows how to make the boat go fast, and how to hang on when you fall off the boat. After retiring from a long career at Eastern Bank, he’s also showing us how to live the good life: skiing, golfing, sailing, and making a mean fig reduction sauce. Next up? Getting himself to Mississippi and Hawaii.

What was the first boat you ever sailed?

My first sailing experience was on a laser on Lake Waccamaw. It was quite the experience. I was visiting my parents who at that time had a house on the lake. Their neighbor who owned the boat offered it up, so I accepted. It was very fun on the first leg, downwind was the first point of sail. Getting back was the challenge. Maybe I should have just learned reaching first.

Your dad was in the military, so you moved around a lot as a kid. How many states have you lived in?

North Carolina, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, Alaska, Washington, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts (10). The only states I have not been to are Mississippi and Hawaii. Both are on the bucket list.

How long have you been sailing Rhodes?

20 years.

Why did you start sailing Rhodes?

Well, my career sailing Corinthians was not going too well, so when Karl Renney asked if I wanted to partner up [in a Rhodes], I accepted.

What is the story behind the name Sundance?

My family was sailing in the BVI’s with the Pandapas family when Evan [Cooke] and I began sailing together. Needing a new name for the boat, it was decided that Sundance would be the right name, 1) because Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was one of my favorite movies; and 2) Evan, who was quick on the trigger, was truly just a kid at the time. I am still working on how to tie myself in as “Butch” but just not that smart.

What is your favorite non-sailing activity?

I enjoy cooking.

What have you been up to in your retirement?

Golf twice a week, not getting much better. Gave up on keeping score – that’s stressful. Skiing, about 30 days this season. Sailing. Watching [my son] Wilson sail for Fairfield University. Retirement is highly recommended.

What is your most memorable sailing moment?

Winning Race Week.

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

Somehow going downwind in a heavy breeze, the pintles came out of the gudgeons. Two or three complete spins later we gained some control and were able to douse the spin and put the boat back together.

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

I fell overboard when I stepped on a line on the deck that rolled under my foot. I managed to grab the shroud on my way overboard, which proved to be the saving grace from having to turn the boat around to pick me up. Wilson was sailing with Evan and me that day and he looked over at me and asked me what was I doing? I think I said ‘I don’t have time for that right now, please pull me in.’

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

Corner banging does not always work.

What book are you reading?

The Fisherman, by John Langan.

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

I stopped drinking, well beer anyway.

Notice Board

Boats Needed Several people are searching for boats to buy or charter. If you know of one, please contact Kim P. at kpandapas@comcast.net.

East Coasts Scores We’re looking for historical East Coasts Championship results. If you know where we can find them, let us know at kpandapas@comcast.net.

Mainsail Needed Matt Bowser is looking for a used main. If you’re selling a mainsail, contact Matt at matthewpatrickbowser@gmail.com.

Mast Needed Michael Orla is looking for a mast. You can reach him at 508-374-3974, or mjmcapecod@gmail.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 kpandapas@comcast.net. The buck stops here.


Quick Spin In a Piper You’re probably not aware that reigning Cup champion Steve Uhl is an accomplished recreational pilot. From a flying family, Steve got his first pilot’s license when he was a teen, and has been flying ever since. Today, he flies out of Beverly airport, where he often takes friends up for a bit of sightseeing. Kim Pandapas drew the most recent card and joined Steve for a quick jaunt.

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Where’s Seamus? We heard rumors (from Pete Kaznoski) that Seamus Hourihan was spotted on a chairlift at Snowbird in Utah. But hold on – we thought he was in the BVI babysitting his broken boat, so we did some digging. Sure enough, Seamus was skiing, and he knew exactly who spilled the beans. “Yes, Neal Papst I believe. He looked familiar from many years of skiing at Sugarbush, so I asked him. He told me he knew Pete well.” As to his boat, Seamus went on to say, “Haul out on March 20 to fix things. I am in M’head now and heading back next Monday, March 13.” So there you have it. Seamus is hard to keep up with, both on and off the water.

Caribbean Update Speaking of the BVI, Pete & Heather Kaznoski shared a charter with Team Pandapas for 10 days of sun, beach bars and frozen drinks, with a little sailing thrown in. Here is a shot from Hog Heaven, high atop Virgin Gorda.

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They hit most of the usual hot spots in what they dubbed the ‘conch fritter tour.’ All four are fans of the tasty little morsels, which like Pain Killers, are a little different everywhere you go. So the group set out to find the best fritters, sampling offerings from the Petite Pump Room in St. Thomas, the Lobster Trap in Anegada, Tipsy’s also in Anegada, Foxy’s in Jost Van Dyke and the beach bar at the Bight (pictured below). Evaluation criteria included outside crispiness, internal texture, flavor, spiciness and of course, quantity of conch. All were excellent so it was a tough decision. The finalists were Foxy’s and Tipsy’s, and it came down to a “toin coss,” which is how you say it after a few Pain Killers. Congratulations to Foxies.

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Finally, Jeremy Bloxham sent in couple of shots from his continuing Caribbean tour. The first is of a Martinique Yole from Le Marin, Martinique. He reports they race these and wondered if perhaps they might be, “the next thing in MRA? Perhaps not.”

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The other is from Rodney Bay, St Lucia of what he presumes is not North’s new 3Di production facility.

Mail Bag

A few readers commented that the March newsletter was ‘a little long,” the most emphatic of which from my grumpy editor, who simply stopped reading about halfway through. Apologies to anyone else who felt that way. Regrettably, this one isn’t much shorter, but we’ll attempt to be more succinct going forward.

We also apparently have relied too long on an outdated list of ‘Racer’s Resources,’ as pointed out by Fleet 5 alum and former National Champ Justin Scott. “Hi Kim. I don’t think Ben Parker has been Aquarius Yachts for a long time. White Cap composites, Ben’s company for the last 10 years, morphed into something small at end of 2022, but they still do high performance boat work.” So based on Justin’ update, we removed Aquarius Yachts from the Resource Board, and will add Ben’s new business if anyone has had work done there and can vouch for it.

We got a few positive comments too, including this from MRA Chair Mark Toso. “This is well done, Kim!!! Thanks for helping us market the May 5th MRA Sailing Kick Off party.”

And this from CYC Commodore Jim Raisides. “I just read the [newsletter] and A+ as usual.” Also with reference to the clinic on May 11th, Jim wrote, “Thanks for the shout out in the letter and can’t wait to get together and ‘talk boat’.”

Speaking of boats, new fleet member Bill Colehower has finally found one. “Thanks to the fleet newsletter – we connected with Stefan Thibodeaux – 1790. Our plan is to charter his boat for this season. I think that Stefan may come out with us as he is available, and we need help. Thanks for all your help Kim. We are looking forward to the start of the season.” Apparently, Stefan plans to do some cruising this summer with Peter Sorlien, and wants to make sure his boat is on the line. Thanks Stefan, and congrats to Bill and his team.

Ann Sousa wrote in with this Twilight question. “I was entering dates on my calendar and noticed that there is no twilight listed for August 3rd.” Very observant, and kudos for getting those dates in your calendar early. We checked with MRA Chair Mark Toso who says you are correct. There will be no Twilight on Thursday August 3rd due to conflicting events around the Town Class Worlds and Nationals.

Tom Dailey sent in thoughts on both the PRO guide and on social media. “RE PRO guide, one nice thing some of the other fleets to do is finish up wind in a Westerly since we have to sail up that way to get home anyway.” We agree, and have proposed that. As to social media, Tom writes, “The tech and Laser fleets are both using ‎WhatsApp to very good effect. There is Rhodes 19 WhatsApp chat that I think could do a lot of good, but very few people are using it so far.”

Referring (we assume) to the picture Jeremy Bloxham sent in last month, old friend and Manchester Yacht Club Commodore Alex Felton wrote in, “First one who can name the ‘other boat’ and its home port gets a free drink at the Fleet bar. Cheers.” We reprint the picture below for anyone wishing to weigh in, though note that all drinks at the fleet bar are effectively free. But if you know the answer, send in an email and we’ll give you the props you deserve.

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- cs had totally rebuilt Rhodes 19 hull 41mall9021@yahoo.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. – neal@lewandamarine.com, or call 978-525-2700

Kenny Harvey – Rigging kenny@harveyrigging.com 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.

Newsletter Schedule

Fleet 5 newsletters are distributed on the 1st of January, March, April, May and November. The Road to the Cup mailings are 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.

Fleet 5 Calendar

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