Dickerson Association

La Trappe Creek
“The Dickerson Owners of the Chesapeake Bay Association” is a mouthful which for good reason no one has ever been tempted to refer to as “DOCBA,” preferring instead to shorten the name to the simpler “Dickerson Association.” The group was established in 1969 by Henry (Hank) L. Dodson, who with his wife, Helen, have served the organization sometimes as its secretary, sometimes as its Commodore, and as its treasurer. It was his desire to associate with others whose conclusions about a proper yacht paralleled his own.

As the name implies, it is an owners, association, and not affiliated with Dickerson Boatbuilders. The company, however, has been supportive of the Association’s purpose and has provided “The Chesapeake Bay Dickerson Trophy,” the permanent cup presented to the winner of the annual race of Dickerson owners, and for many years, the company has hosted a cocktail party on the first night of our annual rendezvous.

Dickerson 37 Cutter

The Dickerson Association, each year, publishes an owners, directory that includes not only members, boats, but all Dickersons that we can identify. We also encourage past Dickerson owners to continue their affiliation with the Dickerson Association and, if they so chose, to give information about their latest boat so that we can still identify our friends while we are sailing. If you are aware of boats and/or owners that are not listed or if you have moved, please let the Association know. Conversely, if you have sold your Dickerson, please let the Association know and send the name and address of the new owner. We try to keep the Directory as up to date and as accurate as possible, but we recognize that mistakes do occur and for these we apologize. The Directory, the publication of which is supported by dues to the Association, is distributed to members and associate members.

The major function of the Dickerson Association is its annual rendezvous which consists of a Friday night cocktail party and a Saturday race followed by dinner and an awards ceremony. one interesting arrangement is that the winner of the race, in addition to receiving the Dickerson Trophy, immediately becomes Commodore and thereby is responsible for the conduct of the rendezvous and the race the following year.

The degree of serious intensity with which these various endeavors are pursued is perhaps best exemplified by the racing rules which read in part: Only necessary cheating will be tolerated; unnecessary cheating will be considered immoral; protests will be heard only if entertaining and decisions will bemade by the flip of a coin. Nonetheless, many of us find it fun to be able to discuss topics of mutual interest with other owners, and in at least a limited way, to measure our skills and boats’ performance against our peers once a year.

Dickerson 36 Aft Cockpit Ketch

A tradition of the Dickerson Association is that after the rendezvous and on Labor Day weekend, as many boats whose owners have been clever enough to arrange their vacations properly, join together for a joint cruise. Each morning of the cruise, by common consent, an objective (generally downwind) is established, and each boat makes its passage more or less on its own. The nature of sailors being what it is, it’s clear that a number of racing rivalries are exercised during the trip, but most simply enjoy the sail.

Upon arrival, an anchor goes down and a raft forms. Depending upon the composition of the group which may range from young couples with children (from toddlers to teenagers) to grandparents not infrequently accompanied by grandchildren, the temperature, the time of day and personal inclinations, there follows a period of swimming, crabbing, fishing, dinghy sailing, or exploring; sooner or later, however, the group will gather on one or another of the boats and the social hour that has become the hallmark of the Dickerson cruise gets underway.

The fellowship of the raft is really the heart of the success of the Dickerson Cruise.

The fellowship of the raft is really the heart of the success of the Dickerson Cruise. The humor is gentle, but the member whose seamanship is unorthodox is very apt to be reminded of the fact by having his peculiar specialty named after him or her. Owing to the unique, but effective, method by which [the Hazen’s] daughter-in-law made fast a neighboring boat, the now frequently used knot (or series thereof) is known as a “Running Susie Snarl.” Thanks to a wife’s enthusiastic response to her husband’s inquiry about the amount of scope out, “gobs, simply gobs,” has become a Dickerson unit of measure. Frugality with the use of battery power was rewarded with the title “Captain Electron,” and a burning light is known throughout the Association as an “electron leak.’

The whole point of the Association is the sharing of friendship and boating experiences with others that one enjoys and to increase the fun of owning and sailing a Dickerson. It is with this spirit that this Directory has been published.

Excerpts taken from “Goops, Gops and Goodies” (February 1978) and from other writings by Dave and Mary Ann Hazen.

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