This article is a compilation of racing facts, definitions, and history which has beencollected from many members of the Cotuit racing community. It is intended to be a resourcearticle for the constant evolution of the Cotuit Mosquito Yacht Club.
SERIES RACES: All series races are scored using the Cox-Sprague System (low point), selectedto compensate for the variation in fleet size. In a 7-8 race series a competitor may miss2 races without penalty, in a 6-5-4 race series 1 race may be missed, in a 3 race series 0races may be missed.
INFORMAL SERIES: 8 races, held Sunday afternoon, 2:30 PM, open to all. Winner qualifies forthe Club Championships, and is awarded the Charles W. Bailey Bowl.
There is a permanent trophy for the Junior who scores the best in the series – Sam BidwellMemorial Trophy.
Historical Notes: known as the “Old Man’s Series”. Originally the series was held at 3:00 pmbut was moved to 2:30 PM so people could get back to Boston earlier on Sunday evening. Italso used to be a 7 race series and was changed to accommodate the Daysailor schedule whichhad a 4 race series in July and a 4 race series in August.
CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES: 5 races held Saturday morning 10:00 AM (except the Governor’s Bowl whichis at 9:00 AM). Each race has prizes awarded for first and second place finishes. The serieswinner qualifies for the Club Championship. The races consist of:
- Grand Island Race – Race around Grand Island. Usually July, going through the bridge with fair wind and tide
- Dead Neck Race – Race around Dead Neck. In recent times the Swartwoods have hosted a picnic after this race (finish at Loop).
- Governor’ Bowl – 2 races- race to Waquoit, picnic, race back. For scoring purposes this is scored as one race. Termed the Governor’s Bowl because the governor of MA, Governor Fercolo, used to stay at the Harborview Hotel and sponsored the prize. The Long Distance race used to be a race to Hyannis for the Hyannis Regatta. This has been combined into the Waquoit Race as the schedule was compressed to allow for a more open Labor Day schedule.
- Popponesset Race – Race to Popponesset. Generally needs to be when high tide is late morning or noon to allow sailing in Popponesset Bay. Lloyds have hosted a picnic at their house at the mouth of the bay.
- Narrows Race – Race down the Narrows and back. Traditionally there has been a “Booby prize” for the last to finish in this race. The Ryders used to host a picnic on their beach in the narrows at the end of the race. This no longer took place when the race no longer ended at their beach(1950’s).
CHALLENGE CUP: A 3 race series open to all. The winner qualifies for the ClubChampionship. Attempt should be made to make these races more challenging than normalraces so as not to make this “the easy way” into the Club Championship. Generally race starttimes vary between morning (10:00 AM) and afternoon (2:30 PM) times to increase the challengeand skill necessary to win.
SENIOR SERIES: An 8 race series, held Friday afternoons at 3:00 PM, specificallydesigned for seniors (those 21 and under), but open to all. The senior with the best seriesqualifies for the Club Championship.
Races are scored in the usual way, scoring all participants. Senior with the best recordqualifies for the Club Champs and is awarded the Henry Chatfield Churbuck Memorial Trophy.
Historical Notes: Originally this was held in the morning with only seniors allowed.The definition of a “senior” has varied and used to be 18 and under. Due to low turnouts “senior” was redefined as 21 and under and the races were moved to the afternoonto take advantage of better wind conditions. In the late 1980’s adults were invited tojoin as contestants to increase the fleet size and allow more participation.
JUNIOR SERIES: A 4 race series held each month with separate July and August series. Each series starts 10:00 AM Wednesdays and is open to juniors 16 and under. Each winner qualifies for the Club Championship. All participants must pass the Junior Seamanship Test to qualify. The age for “junior” has changed over the years but is now defined as 16 and under.
JUNIOR LASER SERIES: 4 races each month with a July and August series. Held11:30 am Thursday - open to junior skippers 16 and under.
SPECIALTY RACES/SERIES: In races in which there is a condition put upon the skipper,all crew members must also comply with the condition to be considered in the scoring(applicable to the Harriet Ropes Cabot Series, Consolation Race, and Junior or Senior Series)
HARRIET ROPES CABOT SERIES: A series comprised of 4 races over the course of thesummer, generally held Sunday 10:00 AM and open to Women.
EXCHANGE RACE: Generally held Saturday morning, open to all. Skippers bringtheir boats into the beach and have them rigged. Boat numbers are placed into a hatand numbers are picked by the skippers in order of increasing or decreasing age. A skippercannot pick his own boat or his family’s boat.
OBSTACLE RACE: Held on a weekend as the schedule allows, open to all. Courseis set with different rules for each leg. Examples include no rudder (can use oar orother implement), no centerboard, sailing backwards, drop the gaff, man overboard and rescue.Traditionally there has been a literary or artistic component such as writing a storyor poem, or singing a song which may be sung/read during the race or on the beachafter the race. Marking of the performance is part of the race.
CONSOLATION RACE: Held on a weekend as the schedule allows, open to any skipperwho has not won a major named race or series prior to that race.
PIRATE GAME: Held on a weekend as schedule allows, open to all. Game begins on thebeach with a description of the rules. Last year’s winner is this year’s RevenueCutter, all other contestants are Pirates( and often dress accordingly). The RevenueCutter is hidden( in the shed) for a specified amount of time(five to ten Minutes orlonger) depending on the wind while the Pirates take off from the beach and hidthroughout the bay. The boundaries are up to the race committee (in recent yearsthey have been the point of the island to Riley’s beach, the jetty at the mouth ofthe Seapuit and a line from Tim’s Point to Handy Point in the inner harbor area).Pirates can sail, moor, or hide their boats in almost any fashion within these boundaries.
The Revenue Cutter sets out with a bag of tennis balls and captures the Pirates bygetting a tennis ball to hit the inside bottom of the pirate’s boat, by directlytouching a Pirate’s boat, or by throwing a line from his boat to touch a Pirate’sboat while holding the bitter end of the line. Colliding to inflict damage is frownedupon. Pirates may deflect the tennis balls by any means.
Once captured the Pirate joins the Revenue Cutter and hunts for more Pirates – the lastone captured wins the race committee has to generally keep involved in this game asthe honestly of Pirates cannot be entirely relied upon.
Many rules have been used in this game. Examples that have developed are that acontestant does not need to answer inquiries from another contestant about his currentstatus but if he answers the answer must be true, if he is holding a tennis ball formore than 3-4 seconds he is considered captured, and boats may not be entirelycovered with a tarp or sail.
TREASURE HUNT: Held weekends as the schedule allows, open to all. The race starts onthe beach with the first clue. At each mark a new clue is given for the next mark. Cluesmay take the form of, but are not limited to: riddles, rhymes, word scrambles, or the like.It is generally advisable to brush up on local Cotuit lore and historical points of sailwithin the harbor. Of course it always helps to hang out during the season in case anylocal timely events become clue-worthy. The first boat that crosses the line wins if theycan recite from recollection all clues and their answers.
MOOLIGHT RACE: Held Friday night closest to the full moon of each month, 9:00 PM,open to all. Currently recommendations are finish a Ropes buoy so all contestants can bemoored and brought into the beach. Post race activities are not part of the CMYC. It isalways debatable to the romantic whether the one that comes in first or last is the winner.
OLD LADIES RACE: Held Sunday morning at 10:00 AM and open to women of all ages.Skipper and crew must combine in age to be over 75. Skipper must be the oldest of thepeople on the boat. Oldest skipper has right of way in any situation. If the skipperis older than 75 herself, she may take male crew if desired. Male skippers in dragshall not qualify.
JUNIOR SEAMANSHIP RACE: Held for juniors to pass as part of the Junior SkiffSeries requirement. The winner is awarded the Anna Murray Bowl. The race is the actuallypassing a test of knot tying, splicing, rules quiz, seamanship maneuvers, reefing androwing. There was a race involved with this in the past and is up to the race committee.According to a point system devised by Stan Solomon and Phil Odence, a perfect scoreadds up to 100 points. A passing score was above 80 and racers deemed seaman greaterthan or equal to a score of 90. The break-down of points is as follows:
- Square (3)
- Bowline (4)
- Sheetbend (4)
- 2 Half-hitches (3)
- Clove Hitch (3)
- End (3)
- Short (3)
- Eye (4)
- Whip - no needle (3)
- Reefing (5)
- Boat to Bed (6)
- Rope Coil (3)
- Rope Throw (3)
- Rowing (3)
- Reef-shake (3)
- Mooring (8)
- Docking (8)
- Beaching (8)
- Man-overboard (8)
BEANPOT SERIES: Currently held during the Club Championship series to allow the“others” to race, open to all, scored by the skipper to encourage boat swapping, and allowboats to be used in the Championship races if breakdown occurs. Can be four to sixraces – recently has been first two races of each day of the Championship series.
SKIFFS: held at the end of the summer weekend before Labor Day. Contestants,invited by the race committee (commodore) are last year’s Champion as well as winnerof the: Informal Series, Championship Series, Challenge Cup, Senior Series, JulyJunior Series and August Junior Series, 7 Maximum and 6 minimum if possible. Incase of duplicates or when invitee declines, the second place finishers can beinvited in the order listed afore. Race committee should lay out the rules atthe start. Scoring is usually the “low score” method with ¾ point for first,the place of finish for the rest and one less than the last boat for DNF or DSQ.Boat numbers are drawn at the start and then rotated up or down. All boats shouldbe in good order including bottoms and other than bailing and adjusting sail trimno major changes can be allowed to the boats during the series. In the event ofbreakdown an alternative boat can be used. It has been a general practice, althoughrarely if ever used to score a break down skipper with the average of the boat andskipper’s average for a break down.
LASERS: 3 race series held one day toward the end of the summer, open to all.This has been restricted to juniors or open to all according the race committee.
- All ages are as of July 4th of the summer
- Time limit – recommendation of 3 hours. Should be declared by the race committee at the beginning of the race.