After a year missed, what a day for the Cocktail Class Wooden Boat Racing Association's (CCWBRA) Governor’s Cup at Smyrna Yacht Club (SYC) in New Smyrna Beach, FL! The conditions were splendid with plenty of sunshine, temperature in the 70s, and just enough wind yielding challenging but fun action on the course for the 19 race participants.
The reunion with racing friends and CCWBRA members traveling from multiple states to Florida began on Friday afternoon when boats were launched and racers hit the wakes for practice trials. Never has there been a pre-race turn over, but this year Brad Parlee in #418 Woody took an early Turtle Award.
Saturday’s race was preceded by a special memorial to our dear friend, Art Carpenter, who brought Cocktail Class Racing to SYC. Race commencement included a flower wreath placed on the course around which racers placed flowers as a tribute to Art.
Many thanks are in order to all of those who put time and effort into making this race one of the best Governor’s Cup races thus far. Play by play was provided for spectators gathered at the SYC Tiki. Our Pit Boss and crew maintained the flow of heats for the five race classes.
Our safety boat committee was accompanied by the Volusia County Fire Rescue boat ensuring a safe day on the water. All aboard the committee boat, Mermaiden, enjoyed a breezy day of sunshine out on the water and were accompanied by several other spectator boats from the yacht club.
The 8-hp Mixed Class kicked off the race day with nine boats in nine heats. Plenty of excitement was on hand with several close races on the course consisting of port and starboard turns, a chicane, and a straightaway. Kim Granbery in #3 French 75 took the win in the finals. The 6-hp Ladies Class followed with four racers in four heats. Karen North in #214 Turtle Juice was fast, winning most of the heats but Lisa Merilson in #305 Miami Vice took the win in the women’s finals with Karen close behind. New to the CCWBRA and first-time racer, Suzanne Grantham in #180 Due South put on a spectacular performance with her strategies in the Women’s as well as the 6-hp Mixed Classes.
The 6-hp Mixed Class included intense competition with close turns, close calls, and a tap by Frank Vandall in #110 110% to the starboard stern of Lisa Merilson in #305 Miami Vice while closing in by inches on Mike Brannon in #214 Turtle Juice at the first portside turn mark. The 6-hp Mixed Class included seven boats in seven heats resulting in a tie breaker between Ray Crowley in #37 Chaser and Tom Kerr in #46 Rajic to go to the finals. Tom made it to the finals and Lisa Merilson in #305 Miami Vice took the win. Just as the day was becoming long, Curt Bluefeld stirred up attention by flipping his boat before the start line of the Tohatsu Class and was assisted by the fire rescue boat, winning another pre-race Turtle Award in #10 Rumrunner. The final class, 6-hp Early Classic, included three racers, the youngest being Allison Eves from Ft. Lauderdale.
The sun continued to shine throughout the day, and we concluded with an awards ceremony and post-race party filled with island food prepared by the SYC chef, live music, recollections of the close calls on the water, and the reveling in the excitement of CCWBRA racing!
Many thanks to the photographers, Valerie Brannon, Betsy Gregor, and Nancy Franklin for the memorable photos. The amazing photos and videos from atop Mermaiden were provided by Lindsay Whittaker.
As always, it is an honor to host the Governor’s Cup at SYC as race director and as CCWBRA Member At Large.
Find upcoming race dates at ccwbra.com.
By Lisa Merilson, #305 Miami Vice