Fleet 33 has been resuscitated and is off its deathbed. The fleet was created in the 1970s when six Rhodes 19s were racing in the summer on the Sheepscot Bay off Southport Island in the Mid-Coast of Maine. During the 1980s and 1990s the fleet dropped down to three boats who raced actively in open class races with J-24s, Christmas Cove-21s, and various other types of boats using the Portsmouth Yardstick. Fast forward to the summer of 2020 and the fleet is alive and kicking with seven Rhodes that were on the starting line.
Despite Covid, our Rhodes fleet participated in several open class races and also had a few Rhodes only races. The first big race of the season was the annual Around Southport Island race co-hosted by Boothbay Harbor and Southport Yacht Clubs. This is an open reverse handicap pursuit race in which the slower classes start first, the faster boats last, and if everybody sailed perfectly we would all finish at the same time. Seven Rhodes from our fleet participated in a fleet of twenty boats. Unfortunately for the Rhodes there was a wind hole halfway through the course and all the fast classes (the J-80s, J-24s, etc.) caught up to us way too soon. Other weekend races saw a good Rhodes turnout. A Rhodes 19, Rhodes Among Thorns, won the Southport Yacht Club end of season race, the Mark Island Trophy Race (actually, this year we got in three races in one afternoon), beating out five other Rhodes, a Soling, a J-24, a Sonar, and three other boats.
Perhaps due to Covid most of our Rhodes teams were family affairs (mom, dad, and the two kids or husband & wife or dad, son, and niece). It was great to see families enjoying Rhodes 19s and sailing. We hope to keep the momentum going and expand our Rhodes fleet next summer.
– Chris Jacobs