Twenty-one contestants turned out for the twelfth annual Cape Cod Frosty North American Championship sailed at the Hyannis Yacht Club on May 4 and 5. Fleet #9, Mostly Maine, re-established its clamp on the NAs as 1993 winner Peter Follansbee once again dominated the field, garnering eight aces from the eleven races.
Given the extraordinary variety of wind conditions, Follansbee's achievement was impressive indeed. Day 1 was a fluke special, with a shifty southerly rising and falling from moderate to nothing and back again. On Sunday came the customary second-day blow, as a solid northerly asserted itself and gave everyone a workout in hiking and wave-weaving. Through it all, last year's winner Craig Tovell kept Follansbee under steady pressure but could manage to beat him in only two races.
Race Committee chairman Truman Henson turned in his usual stellar performance even under the nightmare conditions of Saturday. Results, with one drop, were as follows:
Place Competitor Points 1. Peter Follansbee, New Castle, NH 10.00 2. Craig Tovell, Hilliard, OH 28.50 3. Peter Shope, Boston MA 31.75 4. Larry Christian, Deerfield, NH 34.00 5. Peter Eastman, Barnstable, MA 67.00 6. Tim O'Keeffe, Centerville, MA 78.00 7. Leon MacCorkle, Hampton, NH 90.00 8. Stephen Bailey, New Castle, NH 92.00 9. Jen Kano, Cataumet, MA 100.00 10. Paul Hull, Salisbury, MD 104.00 11. Ross Weene, Ashland, MA 109.00 12. Tom Leach, Harwich, MA 110.00 13. Tracey Taylor, Barnstable, MA 111.00 14. Tom Philbrick, Centerville, MA 117.00 15. Chuck Rudiasky, Newburyport, MA 123.00 16. Deke Sheller, Salisbury, MD 128.00 17. Gary Prahm, Marstons Mills, MA 156.00 18. Ed Ormston, Mashpee, MA 201.00 19. Trip Barrow, Chatham, MA 206.00 20. Marianne Philbrick, Centerville, MA 207.00 21. Ken Simpson, Brewster, MA 225.00
The scene on the dinghy floats
at Hyannis YC at the '96 NAs.
Ansell Cahoon photo.
by Peter Follansbee
Looking back at a successful regatta after four months affords one an opportunity to analyze the proceedings in a way that is impossible immediately after the regatta. At that time I could recount most of my tactical decisions and the outcome in most if not all of the races. Now, four months removed, I can't; however, I can discern larger but no less important trends which can be very educational. I would like to focus on some of these and how they may have helped me.
I would argue that the Frosty is a very tactical boat in the sense that everyone has similar speed, and the fleet will not separate due solely to large discrepancies in speed. This tells me that I don't have to split with the fleet in order to get in front of it. If I stay with the fleet and play the odds I should be in the game.
Unfortunately, the Frosty, though a tactical boat, is difficult to tack without losing speed and generally does not accelerate well. It is therefore important that it be sailed like a heavy keel boat, that is by minimizing tacks and hitting the line at or near full speed. Keeping these things in mind helped me to be near the top of the fleet at the first mark in every race.
Although the fleet was very nearly evenly matched upwind, I felt I could exploit a small speed advantage downwind. I rarely felt a need to defend my position off the wind and was free to attack anyone in front. I was able consistently to close on or pass the leaders as well as separate from those behind. Even a small speed advantage in this class can be huge while allowing one to look pretty smart as well. I felt only Larry Christian had better offwind speed, and he at times was dramatically faster.
I attribute any extra speed I may have had to boat preparation and technique. On the boat side, I have a fair, smooth bottom with radiused chines forward and an easily adjusted vang and outhaul to power up the sail. As for technique, I try to stay as quiet as possible while reducing wetted surface to a minimum. This is achieved by moving forward and submerging the windward chine. In more breeze, I strive for an attitude in which the weather bottom panel is horizontal, which allows the boat to catch the waves more easily while increasing stability. And don't be shy about raising your board; a big reduction in "WS" is possible here.
Obviously there are many natural and cerebral forces at play during the course of a regatta, such as thoughts of inadequacy, an unhappy childhood, or an overbearing mother. By identifying some of the things that stick out in my mind, perhaps some imaginative soul can glean some bit of useful information, or perhaps not. In any event, good sailing, and always keep the Frosty credo in mind; that of course would be, "20 knots, stupid."
Secretary/Treasurer Jen Kano opened the 1996 annual meeting with the treasurer's report. The news was not good.: there was a $526 deficit for fiscal 1995 which drops the association's total assets to $433. Clearly the class treasury can not withstand another such deficit. Costs for printing and postage have increased a great deal since the last dues increase and membership is down. After much discussion, the meeting voted unanimously to increase dues for 1997 to $12 and $20 respectively for regular and supporting dues.
We have added one new fleet this year--#13, Pittsburgh, PA, with three members. We had a request for information on the Frosty from a French sailing magazine, Voiles and Voiliers, so that they could include us in their special issue on world centerboard classes. The Frosty Web site went up on January 1. We have been getting about 112 hits per month and have had a few email inquiries for Frosty information.
Tom Leach said he has gotten quite a few requests for plans from people who found the Frosty through the Web site. Overall, plans are selling at the rate of a few per month. Hull numbers are at 821. Tom also reported that fiber glass Frosties are available complete and in kit form from Dana Linn. The hulls are nice and stiff, and the boat is self-rescuing, but the cockpit liner limits the amount of space available for the feet. Tom did a big presentation on the Frosty for the Cape Cod Sea Scouts, who seemed very interested in the boat.
Someone reported that the Frosty was shown at the Portland, ME, boat show, by a youth group fleet, but they were calling it something else.
Tim O'Keeffe reported for Fleet #1 (Cape Cod) that they have been racing every Sunday in the spring and fall with five to ten boats participating. Chuck Rudiasky reported for Fleet #9 (Mostly Maine) that they have racing every Sunday with seven to eleven boats participating. The fleet has instituted a dry suit rule for safety reason--you must wear one to race. Craig Tovell reported for Fleet #12 (Columbus, OH) that he is the only sailor left in the fleet, although there are four boats. Salisbury, MD Fleet #8 reported that although they have fourteen boats in the fleet, only two come out regularly with others coming to try it once in a while. They have ten to twelve up-and-back races every Sunday, and sometimes they go out on evenings during the week. It was noted that neither of the Canadian fleets was represented at the NAs this year. It was suggested that if US sailors made more of an effort to get to the Canadian championship in September, the Canadians might be more inclined to make the trip to the Cape in May for the NAs. There was no new business.
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Once again Frosty sailors worldwide are invited away off shore to the glamorous island of Nantucket for a day of racing and bonding. This year's Scallop Cup regatta will be sailed on Saturday, October 26, a time of balmy breezes, blue skies, and off-season rates.
In the highly unlikely event that weather conditions prevent racing on Saturday, the regatta will be sailed on Sunday morning, finishing in time for contestants to catch the noon ferry back to Cape Cod.
Venue for the regatta will be the Nantucket Yacht Club, adjacent to the Steamship Authority ferry landing. Racing will begin on Saturday morning soon after the arrival of the ferry that leaves Hyannis at 9:15 AM. At the conclusion of the racing on Saturday afternoon, there will a gathering for post mortems, libations, and testing the strength of the Philbricks' new deck.
For those wishing to return to the mainland Saturday night, the ferry for Hyannis leaves at 5:30 PM (racing will be over in time to make the boat), but you are encouraged to spend the night and as much of Sunday as possible on the island.
The following hotels are close to the regatta site and will offer off-season rates:
If you have any questions about guest houses or other arrangements, call Nat Philbrick at (home) 508-228-5216 or (work) 508-228-2505.
Once again Frosties figured in the Olympic hunt as former NA champ Tyler Moore made a game but unsuccessful run for selection in the 470 class.
Members of Fleet #9 (Mostly Maine but really from New Hampshire) demonstrated their self-rescuing Frosties at this year's NA Regatta. For skeptics the big question was not whether air tanks could buoy up a capsized Frosty but whether a full-sized adult human being could get back into the boat without flipping it all over again. The trick: climb in over the transom.
Check out the photo of the latest version of the fiberglass Frosty in this issue. Tom Leach has long been sailing one of the original glass boats, and Jen Kano has recently joined him in the heresy. If this keeps up, Wooden Boat will have a fit.
Brave souls who ventured out to Provincetown's Race Point Beach at the height of Hurricane Edouard could see the intrepid Moose Cahoon of Fleet #0 surfing his Frosty on the rollers as they were driven in by the fierce northeaster. His fun came to an abrupt end when a forty foot wave broke and slammed him and his boat onto the beach. A bemused and battered Moose was left with little more than splinters of plywood and shards of Bondo.
All of Frostydom joins in welcoming Clark Davis, Jim Linaberger, and Palmer Davis of Pittsburgh's Fleet #13 to the Frosty fold. We look forward to seeing a Three Rivers contingent at the '97 NAs.
Remember that dues for 1997 have gone up to $12 for a regular membership and $20 for a sponsoring membership. It's still the best bargain in sailing.
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[The Frosty News continues its interview with the Father of All Frosties. The series will conclude in our next issue with Tom's ideas on tuning and boat-handling.]
News: What do you think of the way the Frosty has changed in recent years? Do you miss the old days of hardware-store fittings and Bondo?
TL: I think those older boats can still be competitive. You can build a very light boat using Bondo and fiberglass screening. I think Tim O'Keeffe's boat is one of the original Frosties, and he is plenty fast. When I went from my old Bondo boat Thin Ice to the glass boat, I know I sacrificed something in speed.
News: Then why do you sail a glass boat?
TL: Because the thing is like bullet-proof. And there's slightly more space in the cockpit. But it's heavier--my boat weighs 45 or 47 pounds. It's probably stiffer and certainly stronger. I can stand up and stretch my legs in the glass boat, but I don't think I'd dare do that in my old wooden boat. I'd be afraid of pushing myself right through the bottom.
News: When were the first glass boats like yours built?
TL: I have the very first one, the prototype, built in '86 or '87 by Jim Condon in Connecticut. He built between 40 and 60 of these boats. He sold a fleet of them to the Ida Lewis Yacht Club in Newport for their junior program, not a great idea. But the reason he got out of the business was that he had a problem with the deck separating from the hull--a major problem if you're sailing at the time it happens.
News: I can imagine. So you don't recommend the Frosty as a boat for juniors?
TL: I've never pushed the Frosty as a junior boat. When somebody has called me and said, "I'm building this boat for my grandchildren," I've told him, "Hey, that's not what this boat is. This is a pure racing boat. It's got be sailed in an organized fleet by experienced sailors, with chase boats. Get an Optimist pram."
News: How about the new fiberglass builder?
TL: That's Dana Linn. He's still [as of January 1996] in the process of refining the boat. There's a lot of interest in some quarters from people who are looking for a really uniform hull, without all the "improvements" that a few skilful builders are capable of working into a wooden Frosty. Right now Dana is trying to get the boat down to the Class weight minimum.
News: In the early years, there were some important changes to the design of the boat, like chopping off the counters.
TL: I think that was Jim Condon's idea, for aesthetic reasons. There's no doubt that the original boat looked like a Plymouth with fins. And there was a practical problem, too. When we'd all get on the starting line, each boat with that wide transom was like a wedge, and we'd all get wedged in together with no way out but by a lot of pushing and shoving.
News: And then there was the mast tube.
TL: I can't remember whose idea that was--Karl Anderson's, I think. But the minute I saw it, I thought that this was the way we had to go. Masts were snapping at the deck like straws. This was before there was any Class organization, so the sailors just asked me for an opinion, and I said, "Fine, let's do it."
News: But pretty early on you saw the need for limiting changes.
TL: I never wanted the Frosty to become a developmental class. Way back Dal Dalglish came up with a really fat daggerboard with an extra-wide trunk to accommodate it. You could see that the thing had great lifting qualities, but where was it all going to end? That's when we came up with the half inch rule for blades. Kenny Simpson, the first Class secretary, was the one who got the rules structured and worked out in effective language.
Cape Cod Frosty News
Copyright Cape Cod Frosty Class Association 1998 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.