The T37 Class has grown to 1300 boats. Some of the boats built recently are absolutely gorgeous with splendid detail being added with exotic veneers and perfect paint and varnish jobs.
The Regional Championships were sponsored by the Seattle Yacht Club on April 23. Twenty boats lined up for the starting signal. The top 6 finishers are all big boat skippers. Bill Jones who sails on the 40 foot Ion, took first place. Peter Shorett who sails his own 40 foot Karma in Puget Sound races took second place. Will Lesh who sails his own 34 foot boat took third place. Chuck and Duane Emnott who each race their own 26 foot Thunderbirds on the Sound took fourth and fifth place, and Carl Buchan, an Olympic Gold Medal Winner in the Flying Dutchman Class, took sixth place.
Carl Buchan sailed with Jonathan McKee to win the Gold Medal. Jonathan McKee also races his T37 actively. The week after Jonathan returned from winning the Melges 24 World Championship in Corpus Christi Texas where he sailed on the Italian boat, he was racing T37's with the Pacific Northwest Model Yacht Club fleet. It was impressive. He took a series of 7 firsts in 9 races. His boat speed was excellent and his boat was pointing very high and he was always in the right position for the next lift. It was my goal to try to beat Jonathan in one race and in the seventh race I was able to beat him by about 3/4 of an inch. Gone are the days when sailing a flawless race is a guarantee of a first place finish. It takes a brilliant race now to get a first place finish in the T37 Class.
Throuhout the summer, racing has taken place every couple of weeks between all of the lakes in the Seattle area and in Bellingham. The turnout is very regular with ten to twelve boats at each event. Commodore Allan Van Ness runs a tight ship with an annual calendar being prepared well in advance and lots of events scheduled. What a great group of people to get together with for racing and socialising.
There was a good turnout of T37 skippers at the Seattle Wooden Boat Festival to sail in the sailing pond that was just opened last fall. The festival takes place in the park surrounding the pond with the pond as the central feature so the exposure was wonderful. The common dialogue is "What sort of motor do they have?" "There isn't any motor." "Then what makes them go so fast?" There are several new T37 owners and members of the PNMYC now because of the show.
A T37 club is starting to form in British Columbia around Vancouver, and another T37 club is getting started in Lawrence, Kansas. If you have a T37 and are interested in being appointed Commodore of a local T37 club in your area, call me or send me an email and I will send you the list of the other T37 owners in your state. It is easy to start a club. All you need is a place to sail and a set of racing buoys and at least one other T37 and you can get started. T37 groups tend to grow quickly due to the appeal of getting to build your own boat and the attraction of building a wooden boat, as well as the impressive performance of the T37 and the affordable cost of the basic kit. At $265, for the T37 kit which includes the RC gear, it is an easy sport to get started with.
We are looking forward to the T37 National Championships sponsored by the Seattle Yacht Club on October 8. There should be a very strong turnout with some truly incredible competition!
Will Lesh, T37 Class Secretary