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Cocktail Class Wooden Boat Racing: The closest race of the day

Robert Edmonds (#070) challenges leader Zach Ditmars (#67) in a “Classic” 6-horsepower heavyweight heat race of the Urbanna Cup Cocktail Class Wooden Boat Races. In their three heat races, Edmonds won two heats, while Ditmars won one. Edmonds won the class, 4-5 (the low score wins). It was the closest winning margin of the regatta. See full results on page A12. See more photos at (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

by Tom Chillemi

Driver skill, along with some luck, was a big factor in one of the best heat races of the 2nd Annual Urbanna Cup Cocktail Class Wooden Boat Races held Saturday, May 17, on Urbanna Creek.

In the “Classic” 6-horsepower heavyweights, Zach Ditmars (#67) in Molotov Cocktail carried plenty of momentum to the flying start. Although he wasn’t first across the starting line he soon was leading the field. At the start, Robert Edmonds (#70), piloting Shaken Not Stirred, was four deep in the pack that chased Ditmars, who stretched his lead to the first mark.

Ditmars and Edmonds had battled close in the first heat. The second heat was no different.

Edmonds made up ground and, as they approached the second buoy, trailed Ditmars by two boat lengths. Edmonds approached the turn wide with an eye towards cutting tight under Ditmars. Luck intervened.

Ditmars’ bow was high out of the water, but in the next second it plowed into a wave—breaking his momentum, nearly stopping his boat and giving Edmonds a chance to get even.

They raced neck and neck to Buoy 3, with Ditmars holding a slim advantage.

Down the home stretch they came with Ditmars leading. With the finish line getting closer, Edmonds was inching up. Edmonds pulled alongside Ditmars—the race would be decided in the last 90 feet.

Edmonds dropped his body low and got flat to cut wind resistance and turned his head to watch Ditmars. Edmonds shifted his weight to the stern, which brought up the bow, reducing water resistance.

Ditmars continued to stretch his body forward trying to keep the bow down.

At the wire, Edmonds’ bow lifted and only his prop and about two feet of his boat were in the water as he took the heat race win.

Ditmars finished second by about a boat length.

In their three heat races Edmonds finished first twice and second once, while Ditmars was second twice and first once. Low score wins, so Edmonds won overall with 4 points to Ditmars’ 5. It was the closest winning margin of the meet.

Boat Races from Ned Rennolds on Vimeo.

Even the weather was perfect

by Curt Bluefeld
Race Director and CCWBRA Past Commodore

It would seem like a tall order to better last year’s inaugural Urbanna Cup but the Town of Urbanna and the Urbanna Creek Cocktail Class Boat Association did just that on Saturday, May 17, when they held the 2nd Annual Urbanna Cup.

In just two years they have firmly established the Urbanna Cup as one of the premier events for Cocktail Class Wooden Boat Racing Association (CCWBRA) and made Urbanna Creek a favorite racing destination.

More than 30 boats and 40 drivers competed in Saturday’s event. Owners of boats registered from as far away as Connecticut, Georgia and Tennessee and traveled hours to race in Urbanna.

Even the weather was perfect for racing on the creek, enjoying the waterfront, and exploring the wonderful Town of Urbanna. 

More than 200 spectators lined the town docks, visited the pits and launching beach, photographed boats, and queried drivers and pit crews for stories, insights and tips.

On the race course, seasoned CCWBRA racers had their hands full fending off this year’s crop of new drivers and boats. Experience, well-maintained boats and finely-tuned engines proved their worth, however, as CCWBRA’s most veteran drivers, Russ Bowler, Robert Edmonds, Chase Bishop, Tara Carew, Keith Carew and Kenleighe Longest, continued their stranglehold on first-place finishes.

Nevertheless, newcomers Marie Schacht and Danae Turchyn turned in impressive performances, both making it to the championship heat for the women’s 6-HP Post-1979 class. Schacht also scored a well-deserved third place finish in the Women’s Classic 6-HP event. 

“Bootlegger” Races

Although the formal races ended Saturday evening, diehard CCWBRA racers and fans continued Sunday morning with the first CCWBRA “Bootlegger” races. An offshoot of the Urbanna Cup, the Bootlegger races offered an informal continuation of the weekend festivities with relay races, river runs and course racing for stock and non-stock boats and engines.

The family racing award went to Jack Pettigrew and his grandson Jack Pusser, who led the first leg of the relay races. Jack was the first entrant in the new youth racing program. Mike and Dave Johnson both raced their family’s 1950s vintage Mercury Hurricane outboard, leaving everyone in their wake and validating the many stories and myths that have grown up around these engines. Robert Edmonds and Kim Granbery showcased modified propellers and keels, testing them against the best stock boats and engines in the fleet. All who tried them were awed by their potential. 

As the weekend closed Sunday afternoon and the boats, drivers and crews headed for the highways, plans and ideas were already being mulled over for the Urbanna Cup 2015.

There are still Urbanna Cup T-shirts and commemorative cocktail glasses available.  Contact the CCWBRA secretary at for prices, sizes and availability.

Photo by Stephen Blue

Don’t forget to check out the Official photo gallery by Jenny M. Photography!

Results of the 2014 Urbanna Cup
6HP Mixed Post-1979: 1st, Russ Bowler, #40, The Flying Kiwi, 4 points; 2nd, Chris Riddick, #73, The Urbanna Oyster Shooter, 8 points; 3rd, Ian Millington, #1776, The Virginia Gentleman, 11 points; 4th, Tom Kerr, #46, Rajic, 13 points; 5th, Lawrence Fuccella, #101, Brass Monkey, 16 points; 6th, John Milby, #91, Old Fashioned, 18 points.

6HP Heavy Post-1979: 1st, Keith Carew, #41, Dram, 7 points; 2nd, Jim Schmicker, #214, River Madness, 8 points; 3rd, Todd Steffes, #20, Hot Toddy, 13 points; 4th, Zach Ditmars, #67, Molotov, 14 points; 5th, Robert Edmonds, #70, Shaken Knot Stirred, 15 points; 6th, Lee Edmonds, #83, Sundowner, 18 points.

6HP Women’s Post-1979: 1st, Kenleighe Longest, #1776, The Virginia Gentleman, 13 points; 2nd, Tara Carew, #41, Dram, 13 points; 3rd, Shannon Haley, #666, Pickled Tink, 16 points; 4th, Danae Turchyn, #70, Shaken Knot Stirred, 18 points; 5th, Marie Schacht, #133, Skittles, 20 points; 6th, Gretchen Granbery, #83, Sundowner, 21 points.

8HP Mixed: 1st, Chase Bishop, #211, Double Cross, 4 points; 2nd, Russ Bowler, #40, The Flying Kiwi, 8 points; 3rd, Todd Steffes, #20, Hot Toddy, 9 points; 4th, Robert Edmonds, #70, Shaken Knot Stirred, 12 points; 5th, Kim Granbery, #7, Clicquot, 12 points; 6th, Rich Faulkner, #14, Boulevardier, 19 points.

6HP Mixed Classic: 1st, Russ Bowler, #40, The Flying Kiwi, 3 points; 2nd, Fred Allerton, #28, Swamp Rocket, 6 points; 3rd, Kim Granbery, #7, Clicquot, 9 points; 4th, Brendan Toone, #88, Gin & Toonic, 13 points; 5th, Michael Johnson, #79, Sea Squirt, 15 points; 6th, Chris Riddick, #211, Double Cross, 23 points.

6HP Heavy Classic: 1st, Robert Edmonds, #70, Shaken Knot Stirred, 4 points; 2nd, Zach Ditmars, #67, Molotov, 5 points; 3rd Jim Schmicker, #214, River Madness, 9 points; 4th, Morgan Friday, #133, Skittles, 13 points; 5th, Bob Wallace, #100, Con-Con, 14 points; 6th, Don Johnson, #79, Sea Squirt, 18 points.

6HP Women’s Classic: 1st, Tara Carew, #81, Blue Hawaiian, 3 points; 2nd, Gretchen Granbery, #7, Clicquot, 6 points; 3rd, Marie Schacht, #133, Skittles, 9 points; 4th, Monica Munoz, #79, Sea Squirt, 12 points.

posted 05.21.2014

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