By Peter Reyburn
I first joined on as a participant in at least some part of the Interclub Series in the early 60’s sailing with Dr. Kemble on board Caprice.
At the time all he did was the race to Dover and then as far as Maitland. From there it was a cruise back to Dover and then into Inner Bay and stopping at the Long Point Club. I jumped ship for my first complete circuit with Bill Ambro’s on Vixen. The crew members I recall were Bill, his sons Dave and Eric, Gail Guerrin and John Schuler. This too was in the 60’s and included a stop at Colborne.
This was also the last time the race stopped at Colborne for quite a few years. The story was that one of the Interclub boat Captains had invited the commodore’s wife on board and when the commodore came along side to retrieve her, she did not want to go. Being the gentlemen they were, they certainly would not force a lady do anything she did not want to do. So they “politely” turned the wife retrieval offer down. The crew, being true and loyal, repelled boarders. The commodore was not suitably prepared to make a serious onslaught so he and his entourage beat a retreat for shore. The talk at the bar was “as long as I am alive there will never be another Interclub stopping here.” And I guess it held.
Doc Kemble eventually joined the circuit. Crew of the Caprice then was Ray Lohr, John Downey, Don Robbins, Doc, my dad Nat and myself. There was one race that started in either Maitland or Dunkirk to finish in Buffalo. We were ghosting along the Canadian shore when the wind died and the haze rolled in. All visual contact with the fleet was lost. There was nothing to see or do so we set upon making ice cream. Don had brought the wooden bucket complete with ice cream making accoutrements. We all took turns at the crank and then set the process aside while we went for a swim. Swim over we dined on the best ice cream you could ever imagine. As we were cleaning up from this fine repast, a breeze sprang up. The haze was still there so we had no idea where any of the fleet lay. Doc did the navigating using compass, log, and the RDF. No shore…no fleet. On we went in a freshening breeze only stopping when through the haze the finish line hove into sight. It was later we learned we had won the race.
I am still looking for the year but anyone on it has to remember the Long Point Bay race that started in good air but ran into the strongest blow to ever hit the fleet. It came during the first leg from Dover to Turkey Point. One thing I will always remember about Doc Kemble was an unerring sense about weather. The storm struck from astern and blew up to around 80 mph. True to his nature Caprice was only under a small storm jib when it struck. The radio was heavy with calls but other than hearing of a boat being driven aground I don’t recall any serious incidents. The storm had blown through by the time we got off the sleigh ride and turned back to the east. That afternoon the fleet at the PDYC look like one huge laundry line. The lads on Constance always were good for a story about Captain John Wolford. On one of those occasional drifters between Erie and Dover, John was getting mighty thirsty. He reached for a beer can and took a healthy gulp. What he failed to notice was the can was being used by one of his son’s to spit smokeless tobacco juice in. Aw the memories!!!