July 29, 2015Janet B Chalmers Trophy

Last to First in Five Minutes

By Doug Jones

The Wednesday evening between the July and August series is annually reserved for the Janet Burt Chalmers Trophy Race for Quissett Yacht Club H-12s and that night provided a gorgeous evening for this cherished memorial race. The wind was blowing 8-10 knots from the WSW and the Buzzards Bay chop was in fine form. A wonderful fleet of ten boats (with Janet’s relatives in full force) presented themselves to challenge for this fine piece of silverware. Janet would have delighted in the beauty of the evening and the quality of the competition. The Race Committee of Alan Haigh, Ed Jackson, and Doug Jones dropped a temporary mark 1/3 mile to windward and posted “G” signifying a gold cup course made up of a windward leg, two reaches, a second windward leg, and a run to the finish.

The entire fleet was well spread out along the line with Bob Suitor and Sue Shannon in Will O’ the Wisp and Tom and Olivia First in Olivia at the pin on starboard. Mike and Ben Garfield in Phoenix found themselves trapped to leeward, blanketed by the majority of the fleet. The leading boats formed a line heading in with each boat unable to tack because of the trailing boat slightly to windward. Finally Phoenix and Steve Chalmers and Alden Burt in Sea Breeze tacked over to port and ducked the fleet to find clear air only to discover that the Buzzards Bay chop make the port tack slow going.

After three minutes, Sea Breeze and Phoenix were still within thirty yards of the starting line while the boats heading in had moved over a tenth of a mile upwind. Sea Breeze chose to tack back over to starboard while Phoenix opted to adopt the trophy race strategy of heading away from the fleet in hopes of finding better wind. Two minutes later when the inshore boats tacked over, they too found the frustration and slow pace of fighting the chop as they hobby horsed their way to windward. Meanwhile Phoenix alone discovered a freshening breeze and claimed a one minute lead by the windward mark. Sea Breeze likewise took advantage of his early tack off shore and rounded the windward mark in second position with Chuck First and Sue Conlin in Allie Rose close behind. Fantastic spinnaker work aboard Phoenix allowed her to increase her lead on the two reaches. On the ensuing upwind leg, the fleet followed Phoenix as she repeated her course of the first leg; therefore, Phoenix had little difficulty covering the fleet and finished in first almost two minutes ahead of Sea Breeze and Allie Rose. With the entire fleet finishing in under 45 minutes, a near perfect Wednesday evening race was completed.


  1. Phoenix                     Mike and Ben Garfield                                  36:38
  2. Sea Breeze                 Steve Chalmers and Alden Burt                  38:34
  3. Allie Rose                   Chuck First and Sue Conlin                          38:41
  4. Olivia                           Tom and Olivia First                                     39:05
  5. Found It                     Mort Saunders and Liesel Ferguson          39:38
  6. Swizzle                        Ted, Jancy, and Isabelle Grayson                41:05
  7. Will O’ The Wisp       Bob Suitor and Sue Shannon                       41:11
  8. Ja Kai                          Kathy and Doug Cooper                               41:15
  9. Dory Too                   Nina Hocker and Sheila Gordon                  42:21
  10. Penguin                      Randy Evans and Keenan Holmes              44:37