International 110: Where Everyone Wins
Published on July 12th, 2017
by Joe Berkeley
As an International 110 pulled up to the hoist at the 33rd Annual Newport Regatta, one design iconoclast Skip Whyte said, “There goes the venerable 110.”
At the age of 78, the 110 has seen a resurgence. There are 26 boats in the Inverness, California fleet where class President Milly Biller has a passion for restoring old boats. With grass roots fundraising efforts, the fleet has bought up old boats and brought them back to life with new plywood bottoms.
According to Milly, restoration is easy. You just remove the bottom, most of the frames, the keelson, and before you know it, you’re sailing again. She said, “This fleet is such a tight group. If I asked anyone for a mast or a boom, I’d probably end up with three.”
In the Midwest, Westease of Holland, Michigan is building new boats from fiberglass. John Huff, a longtime 110’er from Chicago has a new boat on order.
Back East, the International 110 class is a family affair, with most participants having less than one degree of separation from the Craig/Charles family. Tommy Craig has won five National championships with his brother Will, his wife Ann, his son Ben, and his daughter Maggie.
Fleet morale is buoyed by the presence of the Craig’s antique Lyman motorboat, the One Tender which continues to float and run. As an anniversary present, Tom repowered the Lyman for his wife Ann. At the time, he said, “a Lyman is forever.”
The spirit of Tom’s brother Will Craig lives on in the wooden 110 hull he rebuilt. In the early 1980’s, boat #632 was decked out for cruising with two genoas and a hole in the deck where the skipper’s poodle would go up for air. In his spare time, in a small basement, Will rebuilt the boat with Okoume plywood. His workmanship was nothing short of spectacular.
When the new Okoume plywood deck, bottom, and sides was glistening in the sun, a friend asked if it was a new boat. Will said, “No, it’s a retread.” The name stuck and Will is still with the fleet in spirit after he passed away before his time.
At the 110 US National Championship at the Newport Regatta, 15 International 110s with sailors from both coasts vied for bragging rights in Newport, RI. When it was all over, Brad Read quipped at the award’s ceremony, “The double-ended 110 goes forward or backward just as well.” All of the people who love this interesting, quirky, one-of-a-kind Ray Hunt boat went home winners.
To learn more about the 110 class, join the International 110 Class group on Facebook.
Photos: Onne van der Wal.
Joe Berkeley is an amateur sailor and a professional content creator. His work is at joeberkeley.com