With all the hoopla currently occurring at our Southern border and invite to duel with our neighbors at our Northern border seemed appropriate. Since we have not erected a great, great wall and made the Canadians pay for it a large contingent of sailors made the trek South from this frozen nation to compete at the Martin 242 North American Championships hosted by Orcas Island Yacht Club and sailed upon the tranquil waters of West Sound. Meeting these jolly Canadian folks was a combination of Californian and Washington sailors both young and old and both genders well represented.





This was the first ever class championship hosted in Washington and featured 27 boats. The Martin is fractionally rigged, roller furling non overlapping headsail, spinnaker launched from the companionway, and carries a crew of 3 or 4 although doublehanding is also popular when not class racing. There were several female skippers, husbands and wives on different boats and some owners that had purchased their vessels new in the 80’s that were still sailing them. Speaking of experience that PRO that was able to rattle off a 9 race series over two days along with two practice races on Friday was 87 years old! Paul Ulibarri hailing from South Carolina brought his “Manilow” a stick with a cassette tape streamer(remember them?) hanging from it and spent the weekend on the bow of a vintage Tollycraft that dated to the Eisenhower administration directing the mark boats with his signature “Boogity boogity” calls on the VHF to prompt them along.





The racing got started on both days of the Canada weekend promptly at 10am. Boats were called over early and a certain amount of paint was swapped, protests filed and penalty turns taken but no general recalls all weekend. Winds fluctuated between 5-8 knots and the course was the same every time. Windward /leeward twice around, if there was a major shift it was shortened to one lap and of course the race we were doing our very best in was abandoned.




The two Michaels, George outa LA and Clements hailing from Vancouver were absolutely unstoppable they finished the regatta 30 and 25 pts ahead of the competition respectively. In the few moments we were close enough to get a quick peek the overall winner Michael George who was by far the largest in both physical stature and sailing ability had the boat flat and fast kept it speedy through tacks and gybes. Although rarely leading at the first weather mark he never finished worse than top 5 except his 11th place throwout. Capt Clements lowest posted was a 7th and tossed a 12th. Both these vessels were using Ullman dacron mains and carbon vertical battened jibs. 3rd place Alex Fox is a true Northwest legend and probably has more miles on the Martin 242 race course than any other attendee, he skippered the “Dark Horse to a third place finish and again only finished out of the top ten twice. The top performing for the fairer sex was Marri Todd on White Noise in 4th place just 6 points behind Alex.

This regatta was a true downhome country affair. No cellphone coverage is available and the nearest store is ten miles away. The 5th place finisher Betsy Wareham and her family run the West Sound Marina and provide fuel, ice, moorage, haulout, outboard repair, transportation to the ferry, you name it they are truly there when you need them. The OIYC is not far behind with two delicious BBQ’s, locally brewed beer and crafted wine, all kinds of snacks, salads, showers for just a suggested donation of a buck, a rocking band and delicious homemade desserts.

Whether you are looking for one design action, a family weekender, a competitive PHRF boat or a good boat for hitting the doublehanded scene the Martin 242 is for you. Solid glass hull, deck stepped mast, fixed keel, just 3 sails, and all kinds of pretty hull colors this boat offers tremendous value.

Finally none of this could have ever happened without fleet Captain Chris White and Commodore Ken Machtley. They were on top of the organization, production and even competed on their own boats and were cordial enough to let the guests take home the trophies. Props to the title sponsor Ullman Sails that actually covered to two 24’ PNW class championships that weekend. The other being the SJ-24 where none have ever been so scared going so slowly, but hey that’s a whole nuther story!



Andy Schwenk




https://na.martin242.org