Writing about the Rockville Regatta is like trying to photograph a cute baby: There's no way to capture everything for those who know it and love it. So I asked some Rockville veterans to tell me some good stories about the historic regatta that gets under way Saturday in Bohicket Creek.
Wadmalaw native Lewis Hay has sailed at Rockville for decades, and has also served on the race committee many times. He says one of the best stories happened not too many years ago when a young would-be sailor who didn't have a sailboat attended the Friday night shrimp boil determined to find a boat to race the next morning.
"There was an old Sunfish hull we found under the yacht club that we had set up with ice in the cockpit and put the shrimp in it," Hay said. "By race time the next morning, he had somehow found a sail and some blades, and sure enough, he was in Bohicket Creek racing the boat that held the shrimp the night before.
"That's the spirit of Rockville."
Local sailor/sailmaker Peter Durst tells a story on himself from when he was a teenager in the 1980s. Young, small, and determined, he capsized his Sunfish during the race. "I remember drifting past the yacht club dock with my boat upside down thinking 'this stinks!' The safety boat offered assistance, but I would have been disqualified if I accepted help and I was determined to right the boat myself and stay in the race." He did, and finished a long, long time after the rest of his fleet, still managing to place third overall for the regatta. Because he showed so much spunk, the race committee gave him a special award called the Croghan's Award, "I think just because it came from Croghan's Jewel Box downtown and they couldn't think of anything else to name it," Durst said. "I have never heard of it being given since."
Dick McGillivray is serving as race committee chairman/principal race official again this year — "for the umpteenth time," as he puts it. He says that the spirit of Rockville, and the combination of dedicated volunteers, law enforcement coordination on the water and sportsmanship by the sailors make the Rockville Regatta enjoyable.
"We've moved past the craziness of 15-20 years ago," McGillivray said. "We haven't had any real problems in the last 10 or so years. Everyone does their job and it's being going very smoothly," he said.
At the conclusion of the regatta, the Ellis Trophy will be awarded to the Sea Island One Design boat with the best overall record for the season. The class grew out of the Rockville Regatta as a way to standardize the boats that represented the various sea islands that started the races in the first place way back in the 19th century.
Results / Coming up
CORA Summer Series II, Race 3, sailed July 30 in Charleston Harbor, average. winds 9 knots (winning boat name, type, owner) A Fleet: EmOcean, J/120, Bill Hanckel; B Fleet: Kia-Ora, J/24, Jim Smith; C Fleet: Andiamo, Beneteau 35s5, Dave Kowert; D Fleet: La Liberte, Beneteau 305, Winslow Merrick; N Fleet: Cool Change, J/92, Teddy Turner; S Fleet: Wireless, Melges 24, Reggie Fairchild
SATURDAY-SUNDAY: Rockville Regatta
WEDNESDAY: CORA Summer Series II, Race 4
AUG. 23: Mt. Pleasant Jr. Regatta, Hobcaw YC, registration. open now at www.townofmountpleasant.com
Reach Will Haynie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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