Photos by Paul Todd/Outside Images

The Northeast classic yacht racing season kicked off on a blustery weekend as the New York Yacht Club hosted the Robert H. Tiedemann Classics Regatta out of their Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, RI on June 26 & 27. Members of the classic yacht community from Maine to New York came together to compete in three races on Narragansett Bay in winds that occasionally gusted close to the regatta’s 25-knot limit.


Relishing the fresh breeze, Jesse Terry’s Alden Abigail placed second in the Classic Division.   © Paul Todd/Outside Images


Ron Zarella’s Taylor 49 Blackfish (foreground) chases Dan Litchfield’s Nielsen Sloop Hound.   © Paul Todd/Outside Images

The undeterred fleet of almost thirty boats showed that age is just a number (several boats built prior to 1930). On Saturday, the fleet embarked on a foggy race around Conanicut Island with 10-15 knots of breeze. Despite a stubborn ebb tide that stretched out the run up the West Passage, the 12 Metres were able to complete the 18-nautical mile navigator’s course around government buoys in about two-and-a-half to three hours. The time for smaller boats approached four hours. All classes finished within twenty minutes on corrected time using the Classic Rating Formula. Jack Curtin’s 12 Metre, two-time America’s Cup winner Intrepid (US 22; Toronto, ON; defender in 1967 and ‘70), took the win for the day.

Sunday brought sportier conditions, with winds hovering in the high teens and frequently gusting in the low twenties. The fleet sailed a morning and afternoon race on shorter courses. Many of these beauties have two masts and can put up four or five sails. It keeps the crew busy raising and lowering multiple sails, not to mention figuring out all the lines, on up- and downwind

The older boats showed their stuff, with Onawa (1928 12 Metre), Marilee (1926 Herreshoff New York 40), and Dorade (1929 Sparkman & Stephens yawl) taking first, second and third, respectively. Onawa was pronounced the overall winner of the nine-boat Vintage class.

“Racing in the bay on Sunday in a strong breeze made for a ‘Chamber of Commerce day,” said Ken Colburn, skipper of Marilee and event Vice Chair. “The competition in the Vintage class was incredibly tight – even small mistakes cost you finish places. A great event to open the Classic Yacht Owners Association Championship Series!”

First run in 2007, the Robert H. Tiedemann Classics Regatta honors the memory of the man famed for bringing the 12 Metres back to Newport and helping to solidify the city as the yachting capital of America. “The spirit of Bob’s work was felt all weekend long,” said event chair Jesse Terry, “through bringing together majestic classic yachts, owners and crew from around New England to not only compete on the water but to also share history and friendship off the water.”

A weekend highlight occurred when the Don Glassie Award (named in honor of the founder of the regatta) was given to first-time participant Dame, Joshua Goldberg’s Concordia 39 yawl (New York, NY and representing Oysterville Yacht Club) for the crew’s convivial spirit and yachting passion – defining characteristics of The Tiedemann.

On a final note, Nathanael Herreshoff must have been smiling above, with nearly a third of the fleet designed by the Wizard of Bristol. The Herreshoff Award, in honor of the Herreshoff Marine Museum & America’s Cup Hall of Fame 50th anniversary Jubilee, was presented to Marilee. ■

Fred Roy’s Surprise topped the five-boat Herreshoff S Class fleet.   © Paul Todd/Outside Images


Finishing second in Vintage Non-Spinnaker (and claiming the unofficial Brigitte Bardot Prize as editor’s choice for loveliest craft in the regatta) was the 8 Metre Angelita.   © Paul Todd/Outside Images

Special thanks to Stuart Streuli, New York Yacht Club Director of Communications, and Stuart Wemple, NYYC summer intern, for contributions to this report.


Results – 2021 Robert H. Tiedemann Classics Regatta

Place, Yacht Name, Type, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points

Vintage (CRF MkII – 9 Boats)

1. Onawa, 12 Metre, Mark Watson/Steve Gewirz, Newport, RI 1-1-2.5 4.5

2. Marilee, NY 40, Ken Colburn, Boston, MA 3-2-1 6

3. Dorade, S&S 52, Matt Brooks, Fremont, CA 5-3-2.5 10.5

Modern Classic/Spirit of Tradition (CRF MkII – 5 Boats)

1. Intrepid, 12 Metre, Jack Curtin, Toronto, ON, CAN 1-1-1 3

2. Blackfish, Taylor 49, Ron Zarrella, Rochester, NY 2-2-2 6

3. Hound, K. Aage Nielsen Sloop, Dan Litchfield, Newport 3-3-3 9

Vintage Non-Spin (CRF MkII – 4 Boats)

1. Fortune, Schooner, John Taft/Tom Glassie, Newport 2-1-1 4

2. Angelita, 8 Metre, Skelsey & Croll, Greenwich, CT 1-2-3 6

3. Neith, Herreshoff 53, Van Brown, Newport 3-3-2 8

Classic (CRF MkII – 4 Boats)

1. Blackwing, Stuart Knockabout, Eric Hall, Bristol, RI 1-1-1 3

2. Abigail, Alden, Jesse Terry, New York, NY 2-2-2 6

3. Odyssey, S&S, David Brodsky/Alfred Van Liew, Middletown, RI 3-3-3 9

Herreshoff S Class (One Design – 5 Boats)

1. Surprise, S Class, Fred Roy, Newport 2-2-2-1 7

2. Firefly, S Class, Alan Silken, Newton, MA 3-3-1-2 9

3. Osprey, S Class, Michael McCaffrey, Westport, MA 1-1-6-6 14

Complete results are posted at

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