HOW THE 210 CLASS WAS STARTED
In the Fall of 1945, a meeting was called of representatives of the various Yacht Clubs in Massachusetts Bay to consider the possibility of establishing a one-design class in the various clubs so that inter-club racing would be possible. The meeting was held in the office of E. Sohier Welch, and the following were present:
Francis Welch Manchester Yacht Club
A.N. (Bob) Winslow Eastern Point Yacht Club
Philip Benson Cohasset Yacht Club
Frank Munro Corinthian Yacht Club
Lincoln Davis, Jr. Eastern Yacht Club
Myron Hutchinson Boston Yacht Club
At that meeting, the following was read by Philip Benson:
After the first war we wanted the type of boat to be the first consideration. Every body has his own ideas of the perfect ship (or if he hasn’t his own ideas, the com peting Yacht Designers find it for him), and so we had the R’s and the S’s and the Triangles and the 17′s and the MB’s and the Internationals and the 30 Squares, the 22 Squares, the Adams One Designs, the Boardman 18′s, the Yankees, etc. Usually one class was started to be an improvement on another, and usually it was not. Remember the high hopes of the group who started the Triangles because they were prettier than the S Boats, and the MB’s because they were more modern and faster than the 17′s, and both of which they were not, etc.
The result of all these classes was that the best sailors were separated in different classes, boats lost their resale value, and the great sport of inter-club racing where local champs met and new friendships are born was not possible. Sailing in local waters against the same competition year after year became a bore for the best sailors who lacked the top competition they might have had by interclub racing. This resulted in a loss of interest by the best sailors, and when they lose interest a class goes to pieces.
If we are to get a class that is rated by the best men in the various clubs, we must first decide, I believe, that competition is what we want above anything else. If it is what we want first, we must be willing to make concessions on the type of boat we choose, because no two groups will ever agree on the perfect ship.
If we feel the boat comes first, we will be back where we were in 1920 and I guess there is nothing we can do about it. If we do want inter-club racing above everything else, I think we should go about selecting a boat in some such way as this:
‘Consider First — The maximum boat that ALL clubs can afford. ‘Second — A boat that is pleasant for day sailing as well as racing. ‘Third – A boat that will always be uniform so that it cannot be out-built. ‘Fourth — A boat that is modern and can be kept so.’
After reading the above, the meeting agreed that inter-club racing was what we wanted above everything else, and each club was asked what cost of boat he thought his club could support. One of the, clubs said that nothing above $1500.00 could be promoted in his club, and so that figure became the basis of selecting the boat. A committee was appointed to report at the next meeting just what boats were available in that price range, and because Ray Hunt’s proposed “210″ was more boat than any other we could find for the money, we adopted it.
Many of us had our fingers crossed when we picked this boat. A thirty footer made of plywood was something new, but we had all sailed in the experimental “210″ that Ray Hunt had built in the Spring, and we all liked it.
Each representative of each club sold the idea to his own club, and the fleets followed rapidly. When the new boats were delivered early in 1946, they exceeded our highest expectations, and of course the fact that they were such an interesting craft to sail has a lot to do with the continued expansion of the class.
A meeting of all boat owners was held at the Boston Yacht Club in April 1946 at which time officers of the Association were elected and instructions given to them to have By-Laws and a Constitution drawn up for consideration at a later meeting. This was done, and the present organization is the result.”
INTERNATIONAL 210 ASSOCIATION
Edwin A. Hills, Secretary
40 Wormwood St.
at “A” St.
Boston 10, Mass.
A list of prospective owners was displayed at the New England Sportsman Show in February 1946 included the names of Charles Francis Adams, Philip Benson, F. Gregg Bemis, Lincoln Davis, Jr., C. McGregory Wells, Briggs Cunningham, Clinton McKimm and other well-known skippers.
By the summer of 1946, there were fleets at Marblehead, Cohasset, and Eastern Point. The Class grew by leaps and soon spread to other areas. Fleets were chartered. By-Laws were written, and builders licensed.
The Association has three trophies which are sailed for annually. The Championship Trophy, first raced for at Wianno in 1948, is usually sailed for in the home waters of the defender. The contestants qualify within their own fleets. The number of contestants per fleet is determined by the size of the fleet. There have been as many as twenty-seven contestants.
The Wells Bowl, donated by C. McGregory Wells in 1948, and the Graves Plaque, given by E. Selman Graves in 1959, are sailed for each year at different locations in an “open regatta” as defined in the Yearbook. As many as fifty-nine entrants have raced in these inter-club competitions. The well-known Manhasset Bay Challenge Cup has been sailed for in “210′s” on many occasions.
With so many top competitors vying for honors in the new class, it was inevitable that all kinds of innovations began to appear. A policy was wisely established keeping the boats simple and making it possible for a standard boat, right off the production line, to race with anyone on equal terms.
Under the leadership of Philip Benson, Greg Wells, Gregg Bemis, Howard Dickinson and others, the Association continued to “ride herd” on the would be rule beaters.
Problems arose with the original bent frame construction, shroud anchorage, mast step, leaky chines, etc. Some of these conditions were eased by improvements engineered by Graves — mainly bridging at the mast area. (See By-Laws, ART. XIII(32).)
About 1952, Ray Hunt was most cooperative in redesigning the boats for sawn frame construction, taking great care to assure that no weight was added or subtracted and that the center of gravity remained the same. Much credit should be given to Fenwick Williams and Arthur Martin for the work they did on the revision of the drawings. Today, the bent frame boats and the sawn frame boats are highly competitive. It was a bent frame that Norman Cressy sailed to win the Class Championship in 1970.
Gradually throughout the years, ARTICLE XIII of the By-Laws has been modified -restrictions added – definitionsreworded for greater clarity — all this has been done to strengthen the meaning of ARTICLE XIII (l)’s last sentence “. . . shall bear in mind at all times the basic principle of the specifications which is to maintain the International 210 Class as a one design class.”
From the mid 50′s to the early 60′s, the Association continued to grow and to expand into areas other than Massachusetts Bay. Fleets were chartered in Agamenticus (York Harbor), Maine; Southern Lake Michigan, Detroit, Mich.; Narrangnsett Bay, R.I.; Western Long Island Sound, Hawaii, Manila, P.I., Boston Bay, San Francisco Bay, Manchester, Mass., Falmouth, Mass., Provincetown, Mass., Milford, Conn., Muskegon, Mich., Gull Lake, Mich., Hingham. Mass. Milwaukee Bay,Wisconsin, Penobscot Bay, Maine and Scituate, Mass.
In 1964, the growth rate dropped surprisingly, and a selling campsign was put on by President Robert W. Danforth andV.P. Richard A. Kimball. They made an arrangement with Graves Yacht Yards and Norman Cressy, Sailmaker; whereby if there could be ten new boats ordered before mid October there could be a saving of more than 12%. This was done; so theclass showed a reasonable gain for 1965.
During the later part of the 1950′s, fiber-glass hulls were being thought of, but, at the time, it was said “it couldn’t be done”. In the winter of 1965, a group headed by Richard A. Sullivan invested in a fiber-glass mold for the 210. A prototype was built in 1966. This boat was sailed by many skippers in many different areas from Eastern Point to W.L.I.S.With a few minor deck and interior changes, the fiber-glass 210 became a reality in 1967. The first fiber-glass boats were ofthe laid-up type of construction and these were found to be heavy on both ends.
The class then changed to Balsa Core and using the same mold, (first Duplin Marine, then Rogers marine), producedhulls comparable to the bent & sawn frame boats with respect to inertia and center of gravity. This mold willeventually become the property of the Association.
In 1971 a prototype aluminum mast and boom were used and found to need more en gineering.
With a re-engineered section, a new aluminum mast and boom was used and adopted as an alternate to the wooden mast and boom, and by 1973 they made their appearance in most fleets.
Ray Hunt introduced in the fall of 1973, the “Tall Rig” experimental design of the 210. Basic differences in the R.H.X.were:
1) An additional four feet to the preset mast.
2) A working jib for ease in tacking.
3) A larger spinnaker for better off-wind performance. .By a positive Vote at the annual meeting, the class voted to experiment with this new idea.
A “Tall Rig” Committee was formed and with many hours of work throughout the winter. Chairman Doug MacGregor was able to put three ‘RHX’ boats in the water at Marblehead in mid-April 1974.
During the Nationals in 1974 the “Tall Rig Committee” recommended’to the Governing Board to drop furtherconsideration of the ‘RHX’ because their committee found no overwhelming advantages to warrant the changes.
Things settled down once again and owners seem satisfied with present boats, spars, and sails. In 1975 and again in1976. Boat ^378 won the championship. This now completes the triangle. Every different type of boat construction in the class has now won the championship.