Don’t overthink your format

Published on September 21st, 2022

There’s a lot of education and effort to provide perfect races, and while events often promote their perfection to attract participation, what people want is a lot less complicated. Keep it simple, keep it casual, keep it fun. Joe Berkeley shares how it was done in Hull, MA.


The pin is a giant inflatable duck. The slowest start first, the fastest start last. The party is epic. This was 31st annual Great Chase Race, hosted by the Hull Yacht Club, with 84 boats competing in five separate divisions.

Created by Hull Yacht Club legend Bill Bradford, the 2022 edition of the pursuit race was co-chaired by Commodore Charlie O’Connor and former Commodore Kevin Logue.

The celebration of sailing was made possible by an army of club volunteers who rolled up their sleeves to get the job done. When the tent rental company didn’t have enough employees to erect the tent, club members volunteered to assemble the tent and Commodore O’Connor swung the sledge that drove the stakes into the ground.

While some yacht clubs have fences to keep non-member scum out, Hull Yacht Club welcomes all with a roll up your sleeves mentality, a heaping helping of hearty good fellowship, and beverages from sponsors Vitamin Sea Brewery and Gosling’s Rum.

On race day, RC Dave Curry postponed for 30 minutes, then started the event in a breeze that built as the race progressed. Bob Foley and his crew on the Henderson 30 Wild Ride took A division. B division went to Agora, a Beneteau 36.7 out of New York Yacht Club. Dave Smookler topped C division in his Islander 36 and D division was clinched by Brian Pitt’s CS30.

Retread, an International 110 built in 1958, skippered by myself alongside Linda Epstein took line honors as well as the One Design title. On the final leg of the course, we were in fourth overall, but with the building breeze, Epstein sagely said, “Point the bow at the duck and send it.” With Epstein on the wire, Retread powered her way to the win.

After the prize giving, hundreds of sailors danced the night away as the live band The Pitfalls rocked the Hull Yacht Club. Everyone who attended the event vowed to come back next year.



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