By Hadley Jackson

It was in 1978 or ’79 and my responsibility at the Port Dover Yacht Club was to look after docking about 45 boats in that years Interclub Cruise. As a keen, inexperienced owner of a C&C 25 it was exciting to welcome the many larger visiting vessels as our racing fleet hardly had anything over 30 feet. In the evening when everyone was uptown pigging out on the perch I was doing a dock walk studying the lines and equipment on these visiting boats and dreaming of the day when maybe I could sail on something that big. While standing on the dock studying a sleek looking C&C 29 the skipper appeared from down below and asked if I knew of anyone who might be able to crew in next days Long Point Bay race. I told him that I could not think of any of our good sailors who might be available at that late date and was then flabbergasted
when he asked if I would crew for them. Apparently, the skipper’s partner, Don Finkel had to return to Youngstown on business and they were desperate. I hardly slept that night.

The next day, we are beating up the coast towards Turkey Point when I mentioned to my buddies that we had sailed this course last weekend and the Dover boat that easily won the race told everyone afterwards that their strategy was to hug the shoreline and take advantage of the flat water, lifts and thermals. I didn’t know what that meant but that was the boat that was doing real well up ahead of us. As the race progressed I began to realize that the crew was asking me how close to shore they could sail and waiting for me to call the tacks. We passed the Dover boat and each time we crossed tacks I could feel their frozen stares coming my way.

First to reach the Turkey Point mark, first to finish and I believe Red Pepper may have won the entire Interclub that year. Back at the dock Bob Reece, Jack Mathias and the rest of the crew could not do enough for their winch grinder. Bought my meal, all the drinks I could handle and bragged about the guy with all the local knowledge. Me, I really didn’t have a clue. All I knew was that was the strategy that won the race the week before and to this day I can’t ever remember it working for me again.