Meeting a Previously Unmet Need

Published on September 13th, 2016

Two one design classes, both designed by Nat Herreshoff over a century ago, will be lining up September 17 for a new national title. While the Bullseye and H-12 have held national championships before, that racing included a full crew of two or three. This latest title for these 16-footers will be for single-handers.

Bullseye and H-12 sailors are an especially dogged breed of one-design racers. All through the regular racing season, single-handers will compete even though class rules make it impossible for them to go on to Nationals.

The Bullseye Class Association polled some 220 members, and learned that 70% wanted single-handers to have their own national competition: no spinnaker, only main and jib. A smaller cadre of H-12 solo sailors then asked whether they could be included, with a separate start time.

Chris Collings and Ed Tiffany, both perennial top contenders in crewed racing, are doing much of the organizational work. “The message was clear that these races were meeting a previously unmet need,” said Collings.

Tiffany reports that creating the new single-handed class has prompted at least four new skippers to join the Bullseye Sailing Association in order to become eligible to compete in this year’s Nationals. Competitors will be coming from Massachusetts, Maine, New York and Florida.

The Beverly Yacht Club (Marion, MA) will host the competition on Buzzards Bay where conditions should be ideal, as early autumn presents some the best sailing weather of the year. Collings notes the tone will be slightly less formal with no protest room, letting a judge mete out “three-minute justice” for protests on the race course.

The Bullseye Sailing Association has already committed to including single-handed racing at next year’s Nationals in Maine.

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