D’Arcy and ‘Martha’ win Round the County race | Along the Waterfront
By FRED HOEPPNER
Journal of the San Juans Columnist
November 11, 2009 · Updated 1:43 PM
Miles McCoy, the senior past commodore of the Orcas Island Yacht Club, crewed in “Martha,” probably the oldest active sailing vessel on the Salish Sea, in the Round the County Race 2009 this last weekend.
I first met Miles some years back at the Orcas Island Yacht Club after a local race in which I noticed that he was the skipper of the catboat “Sharon L,” which had narrowly beat me out of a place inches from the line. Further discussion disclosed that I had chartered her in 1942 for a honeymoon!
“Martha” is 102 years old! Robert d’Arcy has owned “Martha” for 13 years and during this time he has faithfully restored her to the most beautiful and elegant vessel one could imagine.
I watched her at the second-day start off Mitchell Bay. What a sight! Flying five sails with a bone in her teeth and crew on the rail.
Old timers, as we know, can’t compete with the youngsters on an equal basis. So at the first half start off Lydia Shoal just outside Obstruction Pass, “Martha” — with the advice of tactician John Bailey — invoked stealth and deception and bored off to the eastern side of Rosario Strait where she then broad-reached at 10.5 knots to the Patos Island halfway mark. The rest of the fleet got caught in a hole next to Orcas Island’s eastern shore.
For the Saturday full course, “Martha” placed first in class, 10 minutes ahead of skippers Baker and Baker in “Duke.”
The second-half start off Mitchell Bay was a beautiful sight as 59 boats jockeyed for position. Class starts were 10 minutes apart and the line nice and long, making for very orderly starts.
“Martha” took an outside course to the west side of DeHaro Strait where skipper d’Arcy and tactician Bailey figured they could pick up a favorable ebb current. Most of the fleet elected to stick close to the shorter course next to San Juan Island.
The tack back to the half-course mark off Cattle Point worked out just fine — stealth and deception — giving “Martha” a 20-minute in-class lead over skippers Swenk and Schwenk in “Rumpus.” Plenty of wind up Rosario Strait to the finish at Lydia Shoal ended a great race.
The final overall corrected results: “Martha,” Richard d’Arcy, first place; “Flash,” Steve Travis, second; “Bravehart,” Burnett and Huse, third.