By Jim Whistler
After reading the ship’s logs of my father’s boats since 1954, I was tempted to summarize their Erie-Dover races of 1956 through the mid 60’s but since this is the 50th anniversary of the Interclub Cruise, I’ll recount the log of 1957. His boat at that time was Larbett II, a white hulled 45’ Casey ketch. Larry and Betty Whistler had a crew of Warren and Dottie Hunt, Ed and Carol Stevens, Kenny Warren and “newlyweds” Bill and Barb O’hern. The race was scheduled to begin, as usual at 5:30 am on Saturday June 30th but it was stormy with gusts up to 50 kts so the race was postponed until Sunday. The 4:00 am wake-up found the weather to have moderated to 25–30 kts so off they went with a fleet of 12 boats arriving in Dover at noon.
As is still the tradition, the afternoon was spent drinking and napping; an evening cocktail party and awarding of prizes at the PDYC. Dinner aboard Larbett was followed by a cockpit cocktail party. At 9:30 Monday morning July 2nd they left Port Dover for Point Abino finishing at 6:30 pm.
My Interclub experiences began in 1971 when I crewed for Fred Obersheimer aboard his Borsaw “Sioux Warrior”. Racing under the CCA handicap system, we won the Interclub that year. I raced with Fred again in 1972 then with Al Bernel in 1973 and 1974 aboard Roger Zurn’s old Ericson 39 “Aquillo”. In 1975, Bernel had “Robin” the handicap system was now IOR and the winning continued. Then, I sailed a few years with my brother Larry aboard his “Mariah”. By 1985, I had my own Ericson 39 “Warlock” and the handicap system was PHRF.
In the 36 years that I have been racing the interclub, I have raced with many wonderful people from all of the clubs, most notably the McBriers, the Dunns and the Ways, from Erie. Also, Jim Magee, Mark Boerkamp and Hadley Jackson from Dover and countless racers from the Buffalo area. The Interclub had dwindled to about 20 boats in the early 80’s when a young kid named Jim McBrier became as active on the organization side as he was on the race course. Jim’s hard work and dedication to the Interclub has helped to grow it to the world class event that it is today. Through the efforts of all of the past chairmen and all those that have given back to the Interclub throughout the years, it remains a true Corinthian yachting event. The friendships I have made by virtue of this organization are the greatest treasure that sailing has ever given me.