Summer In New England – Covid 19 edition

When Life Hands you Lemons, Make Lemonade

By: Shan McAdoo

Sailing a 2.4 Meter in front of the Iconic Marblehead Light
Doug Trees and I are both getting a little long in the tooth. Time and creeping age has forced us to give up sailing on boats that we had decades in and lots of dedication too. Our bodies simply would not let us hike, jump up for the pole or roll tack.  Thankfully we participate in  a sport that will adapt to our situation.  This is what brought us to the International 2.4 meter class.
We started sailing in the CanAm circuit a couple of years ago, but missed our weekly sailing in Marblehead. So after some thought and some luck, we ended up buying a fleet of boats (5) Norlin Mk 3 International 2.4 meter class sailboats. With these 5 boats we have been incubating new class members.   Once we got the boats, we  began the process of leveling the boats, getting them in working order and getting them on the water.  In addition to Covid, we had to find a home for the fleet and start building interest.
5 Norlin Mk3's preparing for a day of sailing
After the quarantine on organized sailing cleared in July we literally rushed our fleet to the waterfront and started sailing. We did not have a Race Committee, again no problem find a government mark, sail down wind 4/10ths of a mile and set up a line.  By mid July we had all 5 boats on the water, both Saturday and Sunday. We have been getting 5-8 races. No one is keeping score, but some of our numbers are astounding:
  • We have introduced the 2.4 meter to 14 new sailors.
  • 8 of those sailors join us on a regular basis.
  • Our youngest sailor was 19 yrs old.
  • Our oldest sailor was 80 yrs old.
  • We average 3+ different race winners on each race day.
  • At the finish the pack used be be separated by almost 1 full minute first to last, now they are seconds apart.
  • By the time we end our season we will have gotten almost 20 days on the water this summer.
  • Races were won by old, young, disabled and able bodied sailors.
We compared our activity to our friends on the Marblehead Racing Association. They only sailed 9 days, averaging 2 races a day. They cancelled 2 of their race days due to weather, we sailed those days.
By the end of summer racing got pretty tight
Lessons Learned
Fleet building is hard!  We made it as easy as we could for new comers we provided identical boats good sails, easy access and even water when they were thirsty.  Finding people interested in trying the boat was not hard. Finding people that wanted to come out more than once and improve was also not that hard.  Our challenge now is to show these people that our fleet and class is and will remain active for the foreseeable future.
We are amazed at how far we have come and excited about winter sailing on Port Charlotte as well as next summer in Marblehead. We hope to have 10 or 12 2.4s at next years Marblehead NOOD.  With luck we can build a Tour de New England with stops in Newport and Marblehead.
More Photos of our summer can be found here