Dickerson Sailboat


Bill Dickerson who built boats over 60 years ago in Cambridge and Trappe, Maryland would certainly be pleased to see his classic Bay built boats, ranging from 30 to 50 feet, and their sailors having so much fun. As one senior sailor said, "A Dickerson is more than a boat-it is a way of life"

The "Dickerson Tradition" includes an Annual Rendezvous held on each Father's Day Weekend in Oxford, so the participants will remember when it is, and features a reception on Friday, a race on Saturday, and an awards dinner on Saturday evening. Trophies are given for each class winner. The overall winner becomes Commodore and is forbidden from racing the following year, and must make arrangements for next year's rendezvous. It makes you wonder why some boats lose by only seconds. While last year brought rain and fog, this year was perfect -- sunshine and fresh southerly winds for some 60 sailors and 14 boats sailing from as far as North Carolina and the Hampton Roads area. It was a beautiful sight to see the parade of Dickersons sailing neck and neck into Oxford with flags flying.

The Friday reception at Mears Yacht Haven was replete with "sailor talk" boosted by wine, beer, soft drinks, and snacks. A new 2010 Dickerson Directory with information and pictures on all known Dickersons, Membership Certificates, and race instructions were distributed. Some ate dinner aboard their boats and chatted for long hours, while others had a jamboree music session.

Race day on Saturday was all business. Commodore Bill Toth and his Race Committee were off early to set up the marks for a triangular racing course, which had a beat and two reaches-twice around. With winds of 12-14 knots it was possible to have two races. The first race started at 10 AM; imagine the scene! Most boats converged on a short starting line on a starboard tack, but one boat tried to get out ahead by sailing on a port tack at the favored end of the line. The strategy failed miserably, and Bruce Franz's "Hemisphere Dancer" and Joe Slavin's "Irish Mist", both on starboard tack, had to come about fast, start engines to avoid shattering hulls, and witness a miracle! But with no hard feelings nor any damage, (after all it is fun, and our rules state that "only necessary cheating will be tolerated, and protests will only be heard if entertaining") the fleet took off, and had a great race with Barry Creighton's, "Crew Rest" winning, and Steve Dettman's, "Snoodle Time",following.. Later, Bruce said it was the only instance he knew where starting an engine during a race advanced the position of his competition!

The start of the second race was more peaceful, well, almost! The Freal brothers on "Rainbow" got caught at the start line, and created a panic mode aboard the Committee Boat that included a person placing their body between the two boats in case of contact! Yikes, another miracle! Most decided to ride the line, but "Irish Mist" was buried, and hit the pin end requiring a 360 penalty turn. "Crew Rest" got a brilliant start and won the second race, followed by Rick and Dottie Woytowich's, "Belle".

The Awards Dinner was a white tablecloth event at the historic Tred Avon Yacht Club. Commodore Bill Toth and Secretary Dick Young presided over the event, and gave class trophies as follows: 35 ft.: Joe Slavin, "Irish Mist", 37 ft.: Barry Creighton, "Crew Rest", 41 ft.: Dave Fahrmeier, "Down Home". Barry Creighton was awarded the Commodore's Trophy using the secret handicap formula that is kept in the Dickerson 'lock box'. A special award was given to the Freal brothers', "Rainbow", who inherited the broken flag pole when they narrowly missed the Committee Boat during the start. Past Commodore Bruce Franz presented a special award from the entire Association to Joe Slavin, our "Sampson Post", for helping to increase Dickerson Owners Association membership, finding lost Dickersons, producing wonderful Newsletters, and producing articles for "Spinsheet" magazine.

The Awards ceremony was followed by lively Dickerson Sailors musical entertainment, sea chanteys, and sea stories making it, perhaps, the best Dickerson Rendezvous yet.

*Much of this report appeared as a feature article in the August 2010 SpinSheet -www.spinsheet.com.
Barry Creighton, Bruce Franz and Joe Slavin

View Photos of the function here .