The Central Adirondack Sailing Association (CASA), which opened its season over the July 4th weekend, and holds 17 races throughout the summer, held its final event of the season on Saturday, August 20.
Race events include a three-race regatta dedicated in memory of long-time member George Blakeman, as well as an end of the year party that was held on Saturday, August 27.
The creation of The Central Adirondack Sailing Association can be credited to Dave Palmer of Palmer Point Boats who, in 1965, placed an advertisement in the Labor Day issue of the newspaper requesting that the community join him for a revival of sailing on the Fulton Chain of Lakes.
According to long-time CASA member Tom McCabe, sailing on the Fulton Chain first began with Native Americans utilizing deer hides attached to their canoes as make-shift sails which allowed them to take advantage of the prevailing east to west blowing winds, thereby allowing for faster travel throughout the area.
However, the tradition of sailing as it is envisioned today did not gain popularity in the area until the 1930’s and 1940’s.
In the 1950’s and early 1960’s, sailing on the lakes had lost some of its popularity, thereby prompting Palmer to offer out his boats to any interested parties, just in the hopes of having someone to race.
According to McCabe, the 1965 Labor Day Regatta consisted of a hodgepodge of 10 or so boats, mostly made up of wooden snipes.
The following summer, Palmer, with the help of McCabe and Blakeman, organized a series of Saturday races as well as races for beginners on Wednesday afternoons.
In 1970, CASA became an official dues-collecting organization and with a membership consisting of Blakeman; McCabe and his father, Tom Sr.; Palmer and his wife, Karen; Dick Rettig, Leroy Jones, Tom Poyer, Bob Salsbury and Phil Sanzone the organization quickly gained popularity in the area.
In the beginning, McCabe said the races consisted of a mixed fleet of 10 to 12 boats per race which included Snipes, Flying Scots, Rhodes Bantons, and Hobe Cats in the Hull Division; and smaller boats like Sunfish and Scorpions in the Board Division.
They would use the hotel docks as their race markers.
“Every Saturday was an event. We would race off of Rocky Point, Foley’s North Woods Inn, Holl’s Inn, Cohasset Inn, the Mohawk Hotel, and Daiker’s,” McCade said.
“The hotels would actually announce to their guests that we were racing and everyone would come down and cheer us on and stay at the end for some laughs and a few beers,” he added.
Today, CASA races typically consist of seven to ten boats manned by two or three people each.
Over the summer members can compete in anywhere between seven and 17 races with the scores being added and tallied from the best seven scores from each team.
At the end of the 17 races, the team with the lowest number of points is considered the overall winner.
According to 15-year member and CASA Commodore, Paul Willsey, each day of racing consists of two races in which all competitors typically use the same style sailboat to compete.
The sailboats most commonly used in the Hull Division by CASA are 19-foot long Flying Scots, which were first designed by Gordon K. (Sandy) Douglass in 1957.
The Flying Scot is a one-design boat that is noted for its ease of handling and durability.
Because it is a one-design boat, all Flying Scot boats are built to the same specifications and thus have equal chances in winning a race, regardless of when the boat was built.
This type of boat is popular amongst sailboat racing associations because this type of construction helps to eliminate all other variables other than the skill of the crew.
The final results for the season based on the cumulative score of the seven best races were:
1st place – Team Zornow; 2nd place – Carey Lorraine and Tom McCabe; and 3rd place – the team of Willsey and Hartsig.
Congratulations also to the teams of Stanton and Belknap, Cowles and McCabe, Smith, Steigerwald and Jeffrey, Menz, and Mandia who received fourth through ninth place, respectively.
CASA would like to thank the race committee of Doug Smith, Steve Mandia and Mark Steigerwald for their efforts in setting up a great course.
Those seeking more information about the Central Adirondack Sailing Association can contact CASA Commodore Willsey at (315) 357-6060.