Photo credit: Hew Russell (The fleet at the start)
This past weekend, Beverly Yacht Club hosted the 2015 H Class Championship. It was quite a sight to see 36 Herreshoff Twelves racing together in classic Buzzard’s Bay tradition! True to form, the Bay offered up one of her trademark, smoky Sou’Westers the first day of the Championship, and the wind built steadily to about 20 knots in the afternoon, gusting higher, with generous swells of four to five feet. The conditions were exhilarating and challenging, on both race days, testing the skills of those at the helm of these little boats with their giant mainsails. All told, there were five long, wet races over the two days.
During the Championship weekend, the Beverly, Buzzards, Quissett, Edgartown and Shelter Island fleets compete to win the “Quissett Yacht Club H Class Championship Team Trophy,” created in honor of Constance Prosser Mellon Burrell. This award is given to the fleet with the best ‘team’ aggregate score, and is a much-coveted prize. This year, “Team Beverly” won the trophy back after several years of its having resided in the hallowed halls of the Buzzard’s Yacht Club. The Beverly, Buzzard’s and Quissett Clubs have enjoyed a fierce but friendly rivalry over many long years.
The Herreshoff Twelve was designed by Nathanael Herreshoff in 1914, and delivered to Clubs in Buzzard’s Bay in time for racing during the summer of 1915. In the Beverly Yacht Club’s 1915 yearbook, the names of some of these first Twelve-footers were penciled in, the modest beginnings of a fabled fleet which would grow to more than 70 boats in the 1930s. Today the fleet is flourishing, and during the Championship weekend, it celebrated its 100th year of racing Herreshoff Twelves, and marked the 90th anniversary of its legendary Ladies’ Series.