Havre de Grace YC... Racing with a Great Set of Friends

Lightning fleet prepares for their weekly race Lightning fleet prepares for their weekly race

There’s nothing elegant about this 35-year-old yacht club at the top of the Bay - - Havre de Grace YC’s headquarters is an 8x10 foot room that is just big enough for a kegerator and the computer used for scoring.  Provided with the club “closet” by Tidewater Marina, HDGYC is grateful for its long relationship with the marina.

The Club has always emphasized friendly racing and socializing afterwards.  There is a quote on the front cover of the annual year book, written by one of the Club’s founding sailors, Bob McVey, which reflects who we are.  “Racing without winning is what it’s all about.  The motivating force that defines the sport of sailing is the satisfaction of finding what your measure of ability is.”  That’s not to say the five classes of boats that convene every Thursday night from April to September, don’t love to win, but they recognize the bonding among a good crew is an added benefit of racing.

Race Committee (Jim Albert), Our Behind the Scenes Hero Race Committee (Jim Albert), Our Behind the Scenes Hero

The largest fleet is our 11-boat J 24 class that loves the simplicity of one-design racing and scoring. The starts for this class never fail to entertain spectators—these “guys” are happiest when the start is both windy and crowded.  The daysailer class includes Stars and Lightnings, with some of the best racers on the Bay sailing in this class.  Non-spinnaker classes C and D have always welcomed walk-on crew, and their racing/cruising groove makes them a happy lot.  The spinnaker class size varies from year to year and is small this year, with just six boats.  The interesting note is the range in PHRF spin ratings run from 93 to 174 within this fleet.

HDGYC participates in Region 1 bay races, both as host club and as participating sailors.  The John Heffner Invitational Regatta held in early October draws sailors from as far south as Annapolis and it’s known for its great steak party after a solid day of racing.  The Club has a Sunday afternoon series in the early fall—Any Old Boat Series—intended to encourage skippers with a non-racing history to give us a try. J24s continue to race into late autumn with its Thursday After Dark Series. The Club also partners with the Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation to support the Annual Hospice Regatta in June.  The Lightning fleet hosts the Duck Challenge every summer, while the J24 fleet enjoys the Pink Moon Regatta.  And just after the summer series concludes, the Club holds a Bob McVey Memorial Race to honor one of our founding members; sailors are urged to wear his “uniform” of a white cotton shirt and khaki pants for the race.

:  In HdG, racers have to fight off barges Third:  Lightning fleet prepares for their weekly race : In HdG, racers have to fight off barges
Third: Lightning fleet prepares for their weekly race

Perhaps the biggest claim to fame for this yacht club is the annual membership dues.  With no large building to support, members need only pay $50 ($70 for families) and a $50 racing fee.  This fee also includes four free after-race supper socials, an annual yearbook, free keg beer every week, and a great set of friends.