Skip to main content

ECA Logo Version 11 

Header Slideshow
Add Me To Your Mailing List
HomeFleet 5

Fleet 5
Newport Yacht Club
Newport, Rhode Island

Captain: Charles Shoemaker
Secretary/Treasurer: Scott Mason

On August 25, 2020, a microburst hit during Tuesday night racing on Narragansett Bay.  The story of the effect of that microburst on Ensign #1407 - Gusto, of Fleet 5 is posted below. Click here for the account of the microburst on Ensign #1082 - Challenger.  And here for a general account of the storm, including two boats that sank.

Tuesday 8/252020 Night Race.
By John Spohn, crew on Ensign #1407

Just like the previous Wednesday last at start, first at Windward mark.  Unlike Wednesday the wind stayed up and we had a ferocious battle with Challenger downwind.  Held her off all the way, too.  Rounding difficulties gave crafty old Charlie the window he was waiting for and he overtook us on the close reach to the finish line (wind had shifted significantly).  So we took a solid 2nd which I think gives us 2nd for the series.
BUT - as we were rounding the Leeward mark we noticed a storm had formed West of Jamestown and it was throwing the occasional bolt through the obvious downpour it was bringing.  We were glad to finish all dry but we saw the rain was over Jamestown as we crossed the line.  First droplets hit us about a third of the way to the south point of Goat Island and the prepared among us (as in all except me) put on their foulies.  I poured a celebratory glass for each of us.  Jamestown now looked a bit foggy.  Terry started repacking the chute.  I looked back again 30 seconds later and we could see neither Jamestown nor Rose Island and the wind freshened. I thought - I'm not just going to get a wet shirt out of this one - I'll leave a puddle in the seat when I get home.
THEN things moved in that peculiar way they do when shit goes wrong - in reality, very fast, but your mind slows it down:  Efrem leapt to the foredeck for us to douse the jib (we were trying to beat the storm back to the mooring - ha).  As I eased the sheet and looked up to find the halyard and noticed the water suddenly looked like a puddle in a hurricane.  Simultaneously, the jib sheet was torn from my grip and the mainsheet was torn from Scott's and that giant bucket at the Water Park dumped on us.  The gust that wrested control from the humans wasn't a gust at all but the beginning of what had to be 60kt+ wind that lasted less than five minutes. The jib was flying out in front, Efrem was still up there and we managed to get it on deck just in time for it to not matter.  Lightning was now striking in all quarters, albeit occasionally.  As Stewart (guy who took the photos) said, Lovely day for a sail.
The surf had built and a wind spike pushed us down the face of a wave while turning us to Port.  Though fully eased, the main had enough power to bury the bow and as we came beam-to the wind and waves, the gunwale and then the cockpit coaming went under, admitting a big green wave into the boat.  The spreaders went into the water as we clung to the hull and all the floorboards and gear floating out of the cabin.  GUSTO started to right, then was blown flat again.  As I pulled against the gunwale to hang on I could barely see around us, but it was chaos.  Dozens of boats all caddywumpus, sails streaming and a few others (including Dr. Shoe in CHALLENGER) were knocked over and awash.  Scott hung on in the Skipper's spot and kept shoving the flotsam back forward. Terry was on the leeward side but I couldn't see her and I sensed that Efrem was hanging on to something forward of the mast.
As quickly as it set upon us, the squall seemed to evaporate.  The keel did its job finally and Gusto was righted.  Time returned to its normal pace and we were left there blinking in the sudden calm.  I noticed her bilge pump was soldiering on, despite the immersion of the battery.  We had managed to get the main halfway down and Scott sensed that we were sailing again, heading into the Harbor, so he said to leave the main as is.  A kind bunch of young men in a HBI came out of nowhere, threw us a rope, and we wallowed over to the guest dock at Ida.  That's when the bailing began. See the attached photos.  Bailers at first, adding manual pumps then the club's electric one and finally another kind soul showed up with a truly serious AC powered one.  We removed all the sails and gear and hauled them up to Scott and Terry's house.
#1407 Before Bailing
#1407 Bailing

I don't know about the others, but I hope to get down there early enough to help get her re-rigged for tonight's final race of the Wednesday series.  This time I hope the excitement is contained to the competitive phase.

Fleet 5 Annual Report for 2016

As many sailors in the East experienced this past summer, we had a perfect run of mild dry weather after July 1st, just ideal sailing!

Six boats were registered for the Tuesday night Spring spinnaker series and all were actively competing on a weekly basis. Charlie Shoemaker took 1st place in Challenger with Bill Steel on Cydarydigo in 2nd and Triton, sailed by Randy Shore in 3rd.

In the Spring Wednesday JAM series: Bill Steel on Cydarydigo took the top honors, followed by Mike Ryan in Squall and Dave Goss in When in 3rd.

The main event for our fleet is always the Tuesday evening summer spinnaker series; July & August. We had 5-6 boats actively on the starting line every week. This series commences on July 4th and the first 3 places were hotly contested going into the last 2 weeks of racing with Challenger and Gusto tied for 1st. However, Charlie Shoemaker once again took 1st place in Challenger, Scott & Terry Mason in Gusto 2nd and Triton, sailed by Randy Shore in 3rd.

In the Wednesday night Summer “JAM” series, Triton, sailed by owner Jerry Baum scored a perfect record of  all bullets, easily taking 1st, Bill Steel sailing Cydarydigo was 2nd and Dave Goss and his “harem” were 3rd in When. Of note, was a new entry in our fleet, sailing in the Wed. JAM races, Ensign 754 Newporter, formerly Joe Slawinski’s Silent Woman, a donated boat out of Newport Yacht Club with a different “volunteer crew” each week in an effort to promote sailing and racing.

For the third year, Fleet 5 was host to the Atlantic Coast Championship with a strong turnout of 18 boats. Credit in running this event goes to Sail Newport in conjunction with their one design “Newport Regatta” in mid-July. This year, the ACC was combined with our Region II & III regionals and also conjoined Region I regionals. Also, many thanks to the local Ensigneers from Fleet 5 who helped with this event and launch visiting boats and Allan Terhune Sr. from Barnegat Bay for helping to organize a great event. Quantum Sails Newport provided seminar on and off the water. That evening all the competitors gathered for an Ensign meet and greet sponsored by Quantum. We had really spectacular weather for racing that weekend. With Sunday’s final race turning into a shortened, sun baked drifter.

The ACC Regatta was won by Buddy Brown Lorelei with Peter Heffernan Never Enz in 2nd and Robin Durrschmidt Magic in 3rd. Local Fleet 5 notable finishes were: Charlie Shoe/Challenger 10th; Masons/Gusto 11th; Dave Goss/When 12th; Bill Steel/Cydarydigo 17th, Mike Ryan/Squall 18th.

Photo Courtesy of Bill Shea, “Close racing in Newport Harbor”, Summer 2016




Helen Vaughn

David Goss
Deborah Harris
Chris Hubbard
James Harrinton
Newport Yacht Club
Dan Chekan

Charles P. Shoemaker Jr.

Mike Ryan
Barbara Barry
Julia Taylor, Efrem Bromberg
Arthur Murphy
Bruce Dunbar
Andrew Teitz
Terry & Scott Mason
Bill Steel
Jerry Baum
Jeffery Staats
Bill Buell III

Sponsor Number URL address
Sponsor 1
Sponsor 2
Sponsor 3
Sponsor 4
Sponsor 5
Sponsor 6
Sponsor 7
Sponsor 9
Sponsor 10
Sponsor 11