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Model sailboat skippers scope out Hagerstown's City Park

A small regatta might be held Aug. 18, but it might just be another showcasing event

June 05, 2013|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Ducks swim between remote-controlled sailboats Wednesday at Hagerstown City Park lake.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

A group of remote-controlled model sailboats raced around a marked course on the lake in Hagerstown’s City Park Wednesday as members of area model yacht clubs tested the waters for future regattas.

Seven skippers from the White Rose Model Yacht Club in York, Pa., the State College Model Yacht Club in State College, Pa., and the Maryland Model Yacht Club in Columbia, showed up to see if the lake could be used for races.

“We are in Region 2 of the American Model Yachting Association, and we need a nice-sized venue that would be available to hold championship regattas,” said Mike Cavanaugh, event organizer and a White Rose Model Yacht Club member.

The race course was marked by a set of buoys, with a recovery boat provided for any model sailboat that needed it among the seven skippers participating.

The model sailboats have no motors, propellers or engines, and are made and controlled by the skippers, Cavanaugh said. They weigh about 23 pounds, with 6-foot aluminum masts and Mylar sails.

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Cavanaugh said he contacted the skippers about City Park after he was approached by Heather Holman, president of the Historic City Park Neighborhoods, to see how the model sailboats would fare in the park’s lake.

Skipper Jim Hermann, a member of the State College Model Yacht Club, said City Park is a “very nice area” for model sailboat racing.

“I like the fact that a lot of people can see it and could use it,” he said. “Even if they didn’t sail, they could benefit by just watching, because they’re beautiful boats.”

Hermann said the shallowness of the water is “the only negative.”

“If there was about 4 inches more water, we’d all be in fine shape,” he said. “There’s a lot of areas we can’t go to, and many of us have been grounded right here by the start line.”

Cavanaugh also said the water was a little too shallow in spots.

“It would be better if it were about 6 inches deeper,” he said.

Holman pitched the idea when Historic City Park Neighborhoods partnered with the Hagerstown Parks and Recreation Department in an attempt to plan a series of events  for “Arts in the Park,” said Amy Riley, recreation promotion and service coordinator for the department.

Riley said she would like to see official regatta events eventually held at City Park, with Wednesday’s regatta a preview to see if something could be organized in the future.

“We just wanted to see logistically if we could get boats on the lake to sail, if there’d be any obstacles as far as any kind of sticks and rocks or things that may be in the way of the sailboat being able to perform,” she said.

A small regatta might be held Aug. 18, but it might just be another showcasing event, Riley said. She said if skippers are interested, annual regattas could eventually be held at City Park lake.

“We’re testing to see how well the boats do, and if there would be an interest from different skippers in the region to use City Park lake as a regatta spot,” she said. “We’d like to take more time to assess all the logistics and talk to folks, and see if it is something we could do next year bigger and better.”

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