Fishers Island Yacht Club Sailors Sweep IOD Worlds

by Jane Ahrens
A start of one of the qualifying races last Monday, with Charlie Van Voorhis leading off the left end of the starting line. Photo credit: John Burnham
A start of one of the qualifying races last Monday, with Charlie Van Voorhis leading off the left end of the starting line. Photo credit: John Burnham

Charlie Van Voorhis wins IOD Class Championship

By John Burnham
Published on September 10th, 2016

Charlie Van Voorhis, of Fishers Island, NY, sailed to a convincing win at the 2016 International One-Design Class Championship, a six-day regatta held September 5-10 on San Francisco Bay. The fleet included teams representing Norway, Sweden, Bermuda, and the U.S. Charlie Van Voorhis’s crew was comprised of his son Lyon, Neal Fowler, Todd Wake and Jim Thompson.

In winning the title for the fourth time, Van Voorhis easily finished first in a six-race qualifying series, which split the 11 teams into gold and silver fleets of six and five boats, respectively. Van Voorhis then won four of the six races in the final series. After the racing concluded, his margin of victory was reduced 3 points by a jury penalty for adding ballast water in the bilge before the penultimate race, which he subsequently sailed and won without the water.

The defending champion, Jonathan Farrar, also from Fishers Island, scored consistent top finishes and took second overall, one point behind Van Voorhis. Another Fishers Island team, skippered by John Burnham, won the final race to beat Nantucket’s Roy Weedon and San Francisco’s Rich Pearce for third, making it a sweep of the top positions for Fishers Island. Farrar’s crew included Kevin Wypchoski, Richard Feeny, Mike McNamara, and Kevin Gilman. Burnham’s included Charlton Rugg, Brad Gibbs, Beth Scholle, Peter Rugg and Frank Alexander.

The event was sailed from San Francisco Yacht Club in Tiburon, with races taking place just west of Alcatraz Island in consistent 12-18 knot winds and typically flooding tide, which kept the Bay’s often choppy sea state moderate. Finishing ahead in the Silver fleet and 7th overall was Rob Van Alen of Northeast Harbor, Maine.

The 33-foot IODs racing in the event were originally designed in the mid-1930s by Norwegian designer Bjarne Aas and as in many IOD fleets include wood and fiberglass hulls built in the 80 years since. Sailors in the event qualified for the regatta in their home fleets and then sailed in borrowed boats generously loaned by members of the local San Francisco fleet. Putting some of the older and less-used boats in shape to sail in the regatta was a significant volunteer effort by several members of the local fleet.

Under the leadership of regatta chair Paul Zupan, the event used an experimental format intended to make it possible for smaller fleets to host the championship with the same borrowed-boat format. Eight boats were sailed in three races per day; each team competed in two races daily and received a bye in the third during the first three days of the regatta. At that point, the fleet was split into gold and silver divisions for three more days of racing, with the gold competing for the overall title. Silver fleet sailors chose to sail only one day and then by consensus spent the last two days sight-seeing while the gold fleet carried on racing. A total of 17 races were run by principal race officer Forrest Gay and his San Francisco Yacht Club team.

Umpires were also employed for the first time at a class championship, with chief umpire Luca Babini leading an international team of officials. Some on-water penalties were meted out, typically requiring a 360-degree turn by the boat found guilty. Both the split-fleet format and the use of umpires will be reviewed by the IOD World Class Association and the IOD fleets to consider whether to use and/or modify the systems for use at future championships.

Both San Francisco IOD Fleet and San Francisco Yacht Club members provided housing for many of the visiting sailors, a class tradition that stretches back to the early days of the regatta, which was first run in 1959.

Normally, the event includes one and sometimes two representatives of any single fleet, but Fishers Island was in the unusual position of having three teams racing because Farrar won 2015 title and thereby received an automatic invitation. In 2017, Van Voorhis will receive the defending champion invitation to the next class championship, scheduled for Northeast Harbor, Maine, in August.

Above, images and video by John Navas from the International One Design Championships, sailed from the San Francisco Yacht Club, CA, USA 2016.

September 12, 2016

Dear FIYC Members and the Fishers Island Community,

I’m sure each of you will join the Flags and the Board of Governors in offering our most hearty congratulations to Charlie Van Voorhis, Jonathan Farrar and John Burnham for taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishes, respectively, in the IOD World Championship that concluded yesterday in San Francisco.

IOD Sailing@IntlOneDesign on Twitter reported “Van Voorhis wins 4th IOD class title; Fishers Is. takes 1-2-3.”

We believe this may be the first time that a single yacht club has swept first, second and third places in the IOD Worlds.

We understand that yesterday the FIYC banner proudly was hung on the San Francisco Yacht Club flagpole.

After a very competitive week of racing against participants from fleets around the world [including competitors from Nantucket, San Francisco, Marblehead, Northeast Harbor, Bermuda, Norway and Sweden] our sailors prevailed in stunning displays of racing excellence.

Again, congratulations to our IOD sailors. They are a credit to FIYC and its strong and burgeoning reputation as a sailing powerhouse.

The Flags


The International One-Design Class was conceived to build, maintain and race a fleet of “One-Design Yachts, distinctive in appearance and performance, using one-design racing, and especially to develop the competitive capacities of both helmsmen and crews under the fairest and most equal conditions.

The design of the International One-Design was inspired by a Six Metre created by the famous Norwegian architect and builder Bjarne Aas, in 1935. Cornelius Shields, Sr., impressed by her beauty and handling qualities, initiated action for an entire Class similar in design and appearance, but with a loftier rig and a short shelter and storage cabin. Aas submitted plans and specifications in 1936 and a syndicate was formed.

In late 1936, twenty-five International One-Designs yachts were delivered from Norway and commenced racing on Long Island Sound. Since that time, other fleets have formed in Norway, the UK, Bermuda, Canada and the United States.

With 12 fleets in 5 countries and over 150 yachts actively racing, the International One Design was the first class to be recognized by ISAF as a “Classic” One Design Class.

2011 marked the 75th anniversary of the International One Design Class.  We celebrated with a grand regatta in Marblehead, MA where we were proud to have some of the original 25 hulls racing alongside newer fiberglass versions and brand new wooden models all aligned as International One Designs and committed to testing the skill of the helmsperson and her crew.

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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