Leon MacCorkle shows how to plane a Frosty in
30 knots on Day2 of the NA's--note the rooster tail.
Martin W. Keen photo.
The eleventh annual Cape Cod Frosty North American Championship regatta was sailed at the Hyannis Yacht Club on May 6 and 7. Twenty competitors hit the line for the first of eight races on Saturday, sailing in a light to moderate northerly full of puffs and holes. Despite conditions that made consistent performance extremely difficult, the series soon settled into a mighty battle between 1991 Frosty champ Craig Tovell from Ohio, who ended the day with four bullets, and Ben King from New Hampshire with three.
On Sunday the predicted northwesterly gale struck with full force, gusting up to 38 knots. A few hardy souls tested the raging waters, but it was obvious that nothing like a fair contest would be possible. The fleet accordingly decided to call it a regatta with eight good races under its belt and awarded Tovell his second Frosty championship. With one throw-out, results were as follows:
Place Competitor Points 1. Craig Tovell, Hilliard, OH 11.0 2. Ben King, West Ossipee, NH 11.25 3. Martin Keen, Jamestown RI 21.75 4. Tim O'Keeffe, Centerville, MA 44.0 5. Bonnie Shope, Boothwyn, PA 48.0 6. Tracey Taylor, Barnstable, MA 49.0 7. Peter Eastman, Barnstable, MA 50.0 8. Leon MacCorkle, Hampton, NH 57.0 9. Tom Leach, Harwich, MA 64.0 10. Deke Sheller, Salisbury, MD 67.0 11. Stephen Bailey, Fleet #9 69.0 12. Tom Philbrick, Centerville, MA 69.0 13. Paul T. Hull, Salisbury, MD 76.0 14. Ross Weene, Ashland, MA 77.0 15. Chuck Rudiasky, Newburyport, MA 89.0 16. John Field, New York, NY 105.0 17. Gary Prahm, Marstons Mills, MA 109.0 18. Marianne Philbrick, Centerville, MA 116.0 19. Ed Ormston, Mashpee, MA 120.0 20. Ken Simpson, Brewster, MA 140.0
Frosty Father Tom Leach awards the winner's trophy to
1995 Frosty North American Champion Craig Tovell.
Ansel Cahoon photo.
Getting into a mindset for Frosties is different from sailing other dinghies because it is more like sailing a Beetle Cat than a Laser. You really need acceleration, straight-line speed, and commitment to a longer term game plan than a dinghy sailor normally would have. Tacking up the middle will lose five boat lengths a pop unless you have tremendous boat handling from practicing or are a twinkie and can maneuver at will. I don't resemble either of the above. You must have clear air, a solid plan, and the ability to anticipate one hundred yards ahead.
A fast Frosty has power to perform. You should steer your boat to foot instead of pinching, have a powerful main (from set-up and spar match), have a stiff spar (if aluminum, have 1/16" wall minimum--from any electrical conduit supplier--good luck with wood), sail with your outhaul off and traveler to leeward. Center-lined travelers on cat rigs that stall easily are silly because they create a tendency to pinch. A footing Frosty will have more hydrodynamic lift than a supposedly high-pointing side-slipping one. The footing boat will move through the waves better and tack faster. The best example of how a Frosty should be sailed is how Tof killed the fleet the year he got all bullets--never seen a Frosty go faster since.
There is a fine line between too little and too much vang. Which, thanks to Martin Keen, I played a lot more than in years past. It really helped to shift gears in the many velocity changes that occurred. I'd rather have too much vang like sailing a Laser than too little like sailing a sloop in light air, because your main is all you have. The battens turning inside out is a sure sign that you've overdone it.
Sailing with your vang on and outhaul off can add a lot of punch necessary for acceleration, waves, and if you're especially heavy. Too little vang doesn't allow a sail to keep its natural shape, or harness much punch. Too many Frosty sailors race with their vangs off. The twisted appearance of their sails is especially obvious when the wind picks up; then you need to vang harder. It's also a heck of a lot safer off wind. Another observation and personal preference is to have a soft dacron luff with light mylar, is any, on the leech. Mylar is hard to read and is inflexible.
The limitations of your rig show up when the wind picks up or you vang hard to induce mast bend. If your rig turns inside out when it blows, your spar is bending too much. Diagonal wrinkles from the clew to the lower middle spar are signs of trouble. Easing your outhaul and pulling on your cunningham might alleviate this distortion, but the crux of the problem is a fundamental sail and mast mismatch. Sailors usually attribute the problem to bad sails, when they really should look at their spar first.
To be anal retentive, you can rig your boat, lay it on its side, vang the boom down to the deck, and trace the deflection from top to bottom as a guide to your sailmaker for the correct cut on the luff curve. Then you'll have an exact match with a stiff spar and a properly cut sail. That's 30 minutes of rig preparation for the rest of your boat's life. On with racing.
Nothing out of the ordinary occurred on the race course at the 1995 NAs. The course itself was square, though 15 to 25 degree shifts along with velocity changes made keeping your head up critical--especially when traveling at 3 knots and 200 yards from where the shift is going to be! Becoming absorbed in the puny rig or surrounding boats can allow one to commit to a corner or get pinned down, mistakes that are all the more serious on a short course.
An interesting aspect of the race course was presented by the boats moored near it. Boats anchored near the windward and leeward marks not only served as telltales of the wind in their vicinity but offered chances to scrape off a competitor or force him into the wind shadow of the hull. Martin and I practiced for two days before the regatta by sailing courses through harbor moorings, a great help for what was in store. It's recognizing and realizing all these bits and pieces that make this sport fun.
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With a little luck, this article will appear in the same issue of the News as one by 1995 champ Craig Tovell, where he reveals all his go-fast secrets. I can't wait! I'll read it eagerly and won't hesitate to copy anything that looks useful. If the past couple of winners' articles are any indication, there should be a few nuggets that will help me coax a little more speed out of old (10 years) Loose Lips.
In spite of having won the NAs in 1990, I found myself struggling to keep up with the class speedsters in the following years to the point where I ended up thirteenth in 1993's regatta. While a good deal of the difference could be attributed to operator error, there was clearly also a speed gap, and that was getting wider. During this time I was holding my own in the Fleet #1 races. In fact about half a dozen of us in the local fleet seemed to have achieved an equality of speed. That made for great racing all winter but left us a couple of steps behind each May.
After reading champion Peter Follansbee's article in the September '93 News (and having looked over his craft carefully in Hyannis), I decided mine needed some upgrading. While I couldn't convince myself to build another boat, being somewhat intimidated by the professional quality of the Fleet #9 Frosties, I elected to go for a few of the more basic changes. First, I replaced my old wooden boom with a stiffer aluminum one fitted with a 4:1 vang. This I attached to a new rotating mast tube. I also copied Ben King's roll-bar style sheet bridle.
The boat seemed faster the next winter, and my eighth place at the North Americans confirmed this. I was still a lot slower than the top cats. At that regatta I spent a lot of time talking with Larry Christian and looking over his boat. I was amazed at how fair and stiff his blades were. I ended up having him make a board for me. I then faired the slot around it for a perfect fit as he had done on Tinkabell.
The results? Loose Lips was faster all year than she had been, and at the championship regatta I climbed up to fourth place. This year I think I will try to make my outhaul more easily adjustable like Craig's was last spring, when he cranked it in and blew by me on the final beat of the final race.
This expert advice does have its limitations, however. Craig has the end of his sheet on a traveler to prevent overtrimming, which sounds reasonable. Ben King, who finished second by the slimmest of margins, prefers a center-line bridle. What's a copycat to do?
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Tim O'Keeffe, Cape Cod Fleet Captain acting for Class Secretary Jen Kano, chaired the annual meeting held at the Hyannis Yacht Club during the 1995 Championship. Reports were heard from fleet captains. A discussion developed on the general decline of one-design racing, with the counterpoint that the Frosty Class is alive, well, and slowly growing. The idea that individual fleets should have several "guest" boats available in order to attract new Frosty sailors was enthusiastically approved.
Bonnie Shope reported the existence of a phantom fleet somewhere in the woods of Maryland. The idea that there could be other unknown, unregistered, "lost" fleets doing their thing in the wilds of North America brought on lively discussion. It was decided that when a "lost" fleet was detected, it was every Frosty sailor's duty to report it to the Class Secretary and get the name of the Fleet Captain.
A general discussion took place on the idea of allowing masts to be wrapped with fiberglass tape. It was even suggested that carbon fiber be allowed! The general consensus was not to go hi-tech. No decision was reached on this issue. Perhaps the Class Association should open the winter issue of the newsletter to comments on mast reinforcement in preparation for a vote at the next annual meeting? [See "Frosty Flashes" in this issue.]
As the meeting came to a close, some crackpot formalist made the motion to re-elect the Board of Governors for 1995-96. This motion passed, and the meeting adjourned to the happy prospect of more racing and less talk.
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Anyone with ideas about Frosty mast reinforcing (see the account of this year's annual meeting) should send their comments to the newsletter for publication in the February issue. Deadline is January 10.
All Frosty sailors welcome Ken Simpson's return to civilization and Frosty racing from his long exile on Prince Edward Island. If Tom Leach is the Father of all Frosties, Ken is surely their Uncle. As the original secretary/treasurer of the Class, he contributed mightily to setting this whole fiasco in motion. And as the first editor of the Frosty News, he established the high literary standards that this journal has ever since upheld. Ken and Cynthia have once more set up their Hesperus Pottery on Cape Cod, this time on Route 6A in Brewster.
Take a look at the latest edition of Richard M. Sherwood's A Field Guide to Sailboats (Houghton Mifflin, 1994), and there you will find a description and plan view of a peculiar little boat that its designer says you "wear," rather than sail in. Strange to say, the boat is only six feet long, carries 25 square feet of sail, and now numbers about a thousand.
Every aficionado of yacht racing at its highest levels is familiar with permutations of the America's Cup competition, whether sailed in C-Class catamarans or International 14 Foot dinghies. The Cahoon Family Fleet has introduced a new twist in such competition by inaugurating a series to be known as the Miniscule America's Cup Regatta and to be sailed, believe it or not, in high-tech Frosties. Gone are the days of Bondo and gutter screening--the new boats employ the very latest in cutting-edge materials and design. Indeed, at least two of them are the products of a revolutionary computer program adapted from the H. and R. Block do-your-own-tax software.
Three American boats are already in the water and competing in trials for the honor of representing the U.S. in the contest for the Miniscule Cup. Hottest prospect is Starfish and Stripers, the six-foot beauty piloted by Dennis Cahoon, former interior decorator and shellfisherman. Breathing down the neck of S&S are Young Cahoon, skippered by the well-known Moose Cahoon, and the all-woman boat Cahoon Cubed, with Olympic hopeful Tonya Cahoon at the controls.
International interest in the event has not yet peaked, although word has it that European Frosty champ Alberto Bomba intends to mount an Italian challenge. If he does, he'd better watch out for Baron Jean-Claude Cahoon, overseer of Euro-Cahoon Enterprises. "Tycoon Cahoon," as he is affectionately known to his friends, has vowed to blow everybody out of the water with his new French design, Le Youyou Glacial. Talk about excitement!
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Cape Cod Frosty News
Copyright © 1995 Cape Cod Frosty Class Association All rights reserved.
Editor: Tom Philbrick
Art Director: Jen Kano
Published biannually by the Cape Cod Frosty Class Association for the edification and amusement of its members, their families, and friends. Subscriptions to the paper edition are available through membership in the Class Association.