DIYC Cruising History
It was in the late
‘70s. All of DIYC racing was on weekends. Most of our “hot-shots”
like Steve Purdy & Fred Fishbien had joined the ECYRA circuit,
leaving very few boats to race or cruise at DIYC. Often we would
have only three boats to race and one of them had to be the RC.
After each race we would transfer the shapes and cannon from one
boat to another. The races were longer then. We would often raft for
lunch behind Duck Island between races. And after racing we would
raft for results and a party.
We recruited new blood by inviting
perspective members to participate in the Commodore’s Invitational.
Our Captain’s Meetings were held at the rickety old Menunketesuck YC
at the Old Duck Island Marina which is now PP North Yard. Slowly we
began to rebuild our fleet of race/cruisers.
Since we were cruising anyway, we
started having races to and from our destinations. We used a
modified PHRF handicap system and allowed an extra six seconds per
mile for those towing a dingy. The first boat to cross the finish
line, usually an aid to navigation, would take times. Good incentive
to come in second.
One race/cruise to Mystic, we had
a gentle southerly which was perfect for a spinnaker reach. The
chutes went up; the wind continued to build until our sail popped
with a very loud “Bang”. You should have seen all the other chutes
come down, pronto. We had an Irish wake for the red & yellow Hard
sail (made by Ben Hall; or was it a Sobstad by Tom Whidden?) on the
lawn in back of the old NYYC station by the Seaman’s Inn. Margie
Our parties started on a cruise to
Block Island. No one had a boat big enough to accommodate the
growing fleet. We dingied into the beach between the Boat Basin and
Champlains and planted an oar with our burgee. People would bring
h’ordeuves & a libation and have a heck of a party.
Incidentally, back then the yacht clubs had the only moorings in the
pond, in that corner. DIYC had three. Thus began a tradition of
beach parties. Weather it was Block or Napatree or Coecles, when the
sun was over the yard arm the Duck was flying on the beach. They
have since given way to less sandy parties on our bigger boats. Ah,
the good old days.
Our race/cruises were family
affairs. Our kids grew up on the boats. I remember Brian Weinstein
learning to row on a tethered dingy at Cuttyhunk. Nicole Ballou as
an infant being held on Glen’s shoulders while he was standing at
the helm of his 25 footer racing and preventing us from passing as
an overtaking boat. At Block the kids would often go to the movies
at the old downtown movie theater. It’s still there. The older kids
would look after the younger ones. Don Dyson promoted our getting a
fleet of Dyer 7’11”s. The kids (and adults) would have races using
moored boats as turning marks. Boats were run in heats, with the
winners competing to determine the overall winner.
Where did we go: Mattituck,
Mystic, Watch Hill (Napatree), Stonington, Greenport, Coecles, Sag
Harbor, Three Mile, Dearing ,West Neck, Port Jefferson, Montauk,
NYC, Northport, Huntington, Block Island, Dutch Harbor, Warwick,
Wickford, East Greenwich, Newport, Bristol, Fall River, Fog Bound
(Sakonnet), Westport, Cuttyhunk, Hadley, Quissett, Woods Hole,
Falmouth, Waquoit Bay, Hyannis, Chatham, Nantucket, Edgartown, Oak
Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, Tarpaulin Cove, Red Brook, Mattapoisett,
Onset, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marblehead, Boston, Scituate,
Plymouth, Wentworth by the Sea and of course Maine as far as Bar
I’m sure there are some I have
forgotten. The memories & sunsets are just too many to innumerate
here. The point is we are blessed with one of the best cruising
grounds in the country. Come share the experience with family and
friends. Come cruise with the Ducks.
March 26, 2009