The 2021 Hampton One Design National Championship was held on the Rappahannock River on Aug. 13-15. Photo Courtesy of Latane Montague.

National One-Design Race Draws Sailing Teams to Urbanna

It’s an inspired winners’ prize for a national sporting event: whichever team wins the championship gets to host the next year’s national competition.

That’s exactly how it works in the Hampton One Design National sailing regatta, and thanks to last year’s winner, the 2021 championship was held in Urbanna, Va. on the Rappahannock River on Aug. 13-15.

The three day regatta brought 16 teams from all over the U.S. to Virginia’s Middle Peninsula, with sailors ranging in age from 14 to 85 years old. And the tradition runs deep in Virginia for this boat design.

The Hampton One sailboat was the boat design chosen by a Hampton Yacht Club (HYC) committee that was formed in the early 1930s to select a sloop design for competitive racing on Chesapeake Bay. It was designed in the Hampton, Va. area by Vincent Serio in 1934. It quickly became one of the most popular small craft racing sailboats on the Chesapeake with active fleets ranging from Norfolk to Annapolis.

The 1948 National Hampton One Design races in Urbanna, Va. show committee boat
Nighthawk (black-hulled, with sails down) was the
committee boat, which marked one end of the start or finish line.
Sailing yacht Quail (white-hulled, with sails up ) helped with the races.
Photo: C. C. Chowning collection

The Town of Urbanna has a long history with Hampton One Design racing. The Urbanna Yacht Club, founded in 1939, hosted the third Hampton One Design National Championships in 1948. The club moved in 1949 to Deltaville and was renamed Fishing Bay Yacht Club (FBYC).

Urbanna Yacht Club member Lloyd Emory won the championship trophy in 1947 at the HYC races in Hampton, which brought the championships to Urbanna the next year. The tradition remains to this day of holding the national meet the next year on the winner’s home waters. The 2021 national event was held in Urbanna because Latane Montague of Urbanna won the 2020 championship in Norfolk last August. FBYC sailor Reed McCallister crewed with Montague in the 2020 championship win.

The championships have been held every year since 1935, with the exception of 1942 when it was suspended during World II. Since 1948, the national championship has been held on the Rappahannock River a half-dozen times. The last time was in 2008 after Montague won the championship in 2007.

The 2021 regatta featured five races, two each on Friday and Saturday and one on Sunday as weather forced cancellation of a sixth race on Sunday. Gordon and Sandy Wolcott from Norfolk sailing out of Norfolk Yacht and Country Club in the boat Superfreak were the winners.

Scores are figured over five races where first place in each race gets one point, second gets two, and so on for each race. Sailors with low score over the three days wins. Normally, there are six races and each crew can drop their highest race score.

Jackson Montague of Urbanna and crew member Alex Jacob of Alexandria finished second in White Lightning. Latane
Montague, the 2020 national champion, finished third in Super G III, with crew member Stephanie Pert from New Jersey—a doctoral student at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Sailors came from as far away as San Diego, Calif. and Brooklyn, N. Y. Chesapeake Bay sailors came from Annapolis and Bethesda, Md., Washington D.C., Norfolk, Hampton, Deltaville, and Urbanna.

The Hurst Trophy was awarded to Finn Cisznewski from Deltaville’s FBYC. The trophy is awarded for the highest placing novice, which is defined as a new comer to the fleet who has not won a sanctioned regatta before. Cisznewski will be a freshman at Old Dominion University and will compete on their intercollegiate sailing team in the fall.

-Larry Chowning