The Boothbay Harbor One Design Association (BHODA) celebrated the 80th anniversary of the first One Design built and launched, #1 Fraulein. The July 21 “Eightieth Birthday Bash” was a success with more than 50 Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club members and non-members attending the ceremony. A cocktail hour and a dinner featured Portland band Roll & Go playing a serenade of sea shanties.
One Design history enthusiast and owner of #20 Bittersweet Jon Dunsford presented a history of the design starting with Ranger – the last J-boat of its kind and the last of the J-Class yachts to race the America’s Cup, which it won in 1937. Starling Burgess at Bath Iron Works built Ranger , German naval engineer Geerd Hendel drafted it and Harold Vanderbilt owned it. Dunsford covered the era of Burgess and Hendel designing the One Design prototype #0 Loon and construction in Boothbay Harbor by Benny Rand and Norman Hodgdon in 1937. Dunsford also told where some of the One Design boats are today, their conditions and recent rebuilds and refurbishments.
Earlier this month, BHYC had a ceremony and blessing for the new Sailing and Education Center designed and built to house the Junior Sailing Program, high school sailing teams and BHODA events. In her annual letter, BHODA President Alex Herger said the association raised $425,000 toward the building and grounds, over half of the building's $800,000 cost.
“You don’t have to be a member of the yacht club to be a part of the One Design Association,” Herger said in an interview. “This is all about the boats and the sailing.”
All in all, Herger said the party was fun and a great success. Most importantly, the celebration exposed people to the One Design which will hopefully spark some interest in keeping alive this part of Boothbay Harbor’s history.
Said Herger, “Now that we're all getting older, we want some young people and some new people to get interested so we can keep the fleet going … and the camaraderie of it and the fact that it's the One Design from Boothbay (so) it doesn't just kind of fade away.”
See more of the One Designs in racing action at 1 p.m. Aug. 4 and 18. The Maine State Aquarium is an excellent vantage point. One Design owners will also offer community members a sail-around at 2 p.m. Aug. 9.