A Story Of The 1932 Internationals - Two Round Eddie
Report from the 1933 Star Class Log
Young Eddie Fink came out of the West and of all the fleet Stars his Mist was the best. And so it came to pass that Edward Fink, of Long Beach, California, is now the 1932 International champion of the Star Class, having defeated a record breaking field of twenty-eight entries, in the most International of all Internationals ever sailed.
Eddie's record, in the face of many difficulties, is one that should inspire those who have become discouraged in their annual quest for the golden star. Always a clean sailor and a real sportsman, he made his International debut as a substitute skipper for Judge B. Rey Schauer, at Newport Harbor, California, in 1928. The following year he represented his Fleet at New Orleans, working his way down and back on a tramp steamer, only to be eliminated in the first race, from which he withdrew, believing that he had wrongfully forced Fleet Star to alter her course. He spent the next year in helping to reorganize the rapidly waning Los Angeles Fleet into our present Long Beach Harbor Fleet. In 1931 he put aside his brick layers' trowel to again take up the tiller. He might well have been crowned champion of the Star Class a year sooner, had he not failed to read his instructions and started to sail home at the end of the second round of a three round race. In spite of this incident, which caused him to be christened "Two Round Eddie," he sailed his Zoa to a tie for second place but was defeated by the British challenger Joy in the sail‑off.
Today "Two Round Eddie" has just cause to be proud of that name, but for a far different reason. Sailing in a boat that was strange to him and being forced to use two different substitute crews, he entered the last race of the 1932 Series four points behind the leader. At the end of the first round Mist was hopelessly down in the ruck with no more windward work ahead. Undaunted by these many handicaps, the valiant little Californian turned almost certain defeat into victory on the second and last round of that last race. From seventeenth place, he made that Mist run and reach through almost the entire field, passing one boat after another, and finally finishing second, which gave him enough points to win the Series and realize the ambition of his life.
VETERANS RUN TRUE TO FORM
A different yacht won every race, as has been the ease for the last three years. In spite of the fluky winds, which affected every race to some extent, the veterans, with few exceptions, lived up to expectations. It is interesting, in fact, to note how consistent their performance really was. Fink, Pflug, and Bradley, who finished first, second, and third respectively, placed third, fourth, and fifth in 1931, that is in exactly the same order. The Defender, Colleen, did not get the breaks but at that McHugh placed fifth. Joy was the only one of the leaders of 1931 that really showed a marked reversal of form. The 1932 Series did, however, differ from that of the previous year in one respect. A year ago it was a hard battle between a dozen or more of the entries, with the result in doubt up until the very last race. In the 1932 Series it became evident quite early in the proceedings that the eventual winner must be either Laura G. Wings, Mist or Bandit. Fleet Star III, Thistle, Colleen, Juno, and Flapper for a time, were conceded to have an outside chance, but they had all met with early reverses and that chance depended upon an accident or disqualification among the ranks of the four leaders.
The most remarkable performance among those new to the Internationals was that of Patsey Raskob, an eleven year old school girl, who handled her Ripple like a veteran in all weather and who wound have finished well up among the leaders had she not disqualified herself in the first race. To Lounes Johnson, the "Little Buzzard," goes the credit of having developed this child marvel, and it is also to his credit that he is instilling into his pupils a true spirit of sportsmanship as well as skill. Hayward and Dickinson also made an impressive showing for their first appearance in the big leagues. Among the Europeans, Herbulot and Peytel brought glory to France. These three just mentioned won the special trophies, the First Challenge, District Fleet, and Invaders Trophies respectively. Of the German entry it must be said, if this be any consolation to the skipper and crew, that they had a remarkably fine and well conditioned boat and that they made a better showing than any foreign entry has ever made before in its first attempt. Swedish Star also showed bursts of speed, but her record was marred by two disqualifications.
THE CLANS GATHER
There is something about those days just before an International Series that grips one. The arrival of each yacht by truck, steamer, sail, or under tow, causes a little thrill in itself. Each is inspected and commented upon, as its crew adds the last finishing touches to an already perfectly conditioned hull. Little groups gather to watch the measuring of sails, which goes on continually for two days. Every hour rings in more contestants, spectators, and officials. Even those new to the Internationals are known by name or reputation and soon feel that they are the life long friends of every one else present. As the time draws near the undercurrent of excitement increases. Officials dash madly about trying to attend to every last little detail of the intricate machinery necessary to run this gigantic event. In every corner of the Club, little groups can be found discussing the coming Series and the chances of the different entries. So it is each year and yet there is something about this scene that is just as inspiring and impressive, no matter how many times you may have witnessed it.
On the eve of the 1932 Internationals, there was every indication that the Series would be sailed during the annual equinoctial storm. A cold rain, driven before a Northeasterly gale, pelted against the little clubhouse and lashed the Sound into a white fury. Inside an open fire blazed merrily, before which racing crews dried their sodden clothes. The ominous weather did not deter the spectators, who kept pouring in to greet old friends and inspect the great array of daily and series prizes, soaring above which was the International Series Trophy, the huge cup, that like a magnet, attracts these people each year from the far corners of the world.
Nor did the elements affect the attendance at the annual meeting held that Friday evening at the Stratfield Hotel. If it was wet without it was equally wet within, thanks to Wilder Gutterson, prince of all entertainment committee chairmen. There was no less than two hundred happy and enthusiastic members present when Mayor Buckingham addressed the assembled multitude and presented them with the key to his fair City. Had he only known it, that wild eyed gathering needed no key, they had already broken in. The Secretary called the roll and for the next three hours those present devoted themselves to the serious task of discussing the affairs of the Association.
The wind did not abate during the night, but it shifted to the Northwest, and the morning brought with it clear skies. It was one of those crisp sparkling fall days, in which distant objects stand out in bold relief. The flags of many nationals, each on its separate pole stood out straight and stiff in the strong wind, with the little white frame clubhouse as a background. The harbor was congested with yachts of every description, tied up stem and stern, and practically every one of them had dressed ship for the occasion. The green slopes of the Westerly bank were black with people and automobiles from neighboring towns, who had gathered to see the trim little racing craft wind their way down the narrow channel and out upon the turbulent waters of the Sound to compete in the first race of this great Series. It is difficult to conceive of a more picturesque and stirring sight than Southport Harbor presented on that Saturday morning.
September 17th, 1932
The course selected was to windward and leeward, twice around, a total distance of ten nautical miles. It would be difficult to say which of the twenty‑eight yachts crossed the line first. They were well bunched, practically all of them hit the line with the gun, but there were no premature starts. Conditions were almost identical to those that existed on the first day the previous year, even to the Kittiwake again crashing into the Committee Boat.
Bandit took the lead and rounded the weather mark 45 seconds ahead of Wings. Laura G right behind her, and Joy about half a minute later with a good lead over Dice and the rest of the field. Down the wind they came, bows running under the following curling seas, booms dipped one moment and almost goosewinging the next. It was blowing hard, a good twenty miles or more, but the Northwester was shifty and it was difficult to know on which side to carry the boom or to keep from jibing at times. Mist was back in 15th place but Eddie did not forget that there was still another round to be sailed.
There was no change among the positions of the leaders on the run but after the yachts had once more close hauled, things began happen. Bandit's sail slipped and she began to fall off. Steve Vanderveer, crew and father of the skipper, had neglected to take enough turns on the cleat and before he could get the sail up again, Bandit had lost three places. Pflug got Wings going on this second round, was leading by a big margin at the weather mark, and brought the Moriches Bay yacht home a winner by more than three minutes, duplicating his victory on the first day of 1931. Ralph Bradley held his second place, and this was something of a surprise, as the Illinois River skipper wasn’t expected to show much in rough weather. Ratsey brought Joy across 13 seconds later for third prize, while "Two Round Eddie" made the most of the second round to come up into 4th place, with Dave Atwater also staging a come back and coming up from 11th to 5th. Colleen, the Defender, was 17th, and Oh, how the mighty had fallen. But it had been a great race, a real he man's race, with lee rails awash throughout and both skippers and crews drenched to the skin, the one and the only real race of the 1932 Series.
The Black Rock Yacht Club entertained the Starmen that night with a dinner dance. It had been a hard race, this first race, and it was a hard night ashore, the second of that gala week of endless excitement and pleasure, which reduces the waist lines of those who have sufficient strength to carry on until the end.
THE SECOND RACE
This time it was the Lone Star, from Texas, that first reached the weather mark, 15 seconds ahead of Bandit, with Flapper another 15 seconds astern. On the reach Vanderveer passed the Texan but otherwise there was no change. On the reach home, however, it was another story, for the wind still shifty, began to die out. Mist soon went into the lead and was first to round the home mark. Flapper passed the Lone Star. Moonshine came up into 4th place and Laura G to 5th. Bandit had fallen back to 7th. And then came the rest all in a bunch. From every angle they seemed to converge on that stakeboat at once, practically the entire field rounding within less than a minute and a hale, and it becoming any ones race again.
Mist held her lead on the wind with Flapper and Lone Star, Bradley moved up to 4th and Thistle to 5th, but Moonshine, Bandit, and Joy picked the wrong tuck and were down below 20th place. Wings, however, which had been back in 21st place, trying to be consistent with her 1931 record, snapped out of it and was back in the running again in 7th position.
It was on the next reach that Flapper, from old Virginia, felt her oats. Garland Miller began to make that Flapper flap her wings and he went sliding past the California entry and held her lead on the last leg to win by better than half a minute, and so, after his many attempts and his many disappointments, and his many threats never sail a Star again, Garland Miller won his first International race since he first entered the annual classic back in 1927. Laura G passed Lone Star on the last leg for third place. Juno placed 5th and Win crept up one more place to finish 6th. Laura G was leading the Series with 53 points, 2 points ahead of Wings and 4 points ahead of Mist.
The second session of the annual meeting occupied the attention of the members that evening.
THE THIRD RACE
It took Flapper one hour and six minutes to beat to the first mark with a favoring tide, with Bandit just one second astern, and Laura was right there in third place. Both Bandit and Laura G outreach the Flapper to the next mark and these positions remained unchanged on the broad reach home.
The second beat saw Thistle work up into third place, with Mist 4th, and Fleet Star 5th. Bandit had better than a two minute lead the weather mark but she now began to pull away from her rivals amazing style. It became a fight against the time limit now. By the time Bandit rounded the next mark and set her whisker pole for the run home, she had better than a three minute lead and was steadily increasing it. Bradley was a safe second, maintaining Illinois River's lead in the Series, and Oh what a lead it would be, he would be able to sail the remaining two races blindfolded and still win - but that man's race was not yet over.
There had been a light but fairly steady breeze for some time, but now the Sound began to show glossy patches again. Could the Bandit make it? Few would have dared venture a guess. Slowly she crept nearer and nearer to that finish line, skipper and crew to leeward and not daring to move, lest they spill the slightest bit of that precious wind out of their sails. A last overshot of the dying Easterly reached them. Beyond it not a speck of wind could be seen. Bandit's sails filled to that last gust and she held into it, crossing the line with less than 13 minutes to spare. It was the last race that Bud Vanderveer was destined to sail but it was a glorious victory, a perfectly sailed boat, and a race that will long be remembered by the sailormen of the Star Class.
So intent had everyone become in watching this struggle with the time limit, including Bradley, that they had failed to notice that dark patch forming along the Long Island shore. It was the mooring breeze, the long expected Southwester. Those astern of Bradley had not failed to notice it, however, and had headed out to meet it. Too late, the skipper of Laura G became aware of this shift of wind. He tried desperately to get over to the new wind but long before it reached him the others had jibed and caught it, and with whisker‑poles set and all sails drawing, they swept past him. Seeadler leading and Flapper right behind her. How the I.R.C. was able to take the times and get them accurately, is hard to say. Boat after boat crossed the line overlapping. The Chairman's whistle blew steadily without hardly an interruption until the last boat had crossed. When it was at last unscrambled, it was found that Laura G. in spite of finishing 13th, still led the Series with 69 points and that Wings, in spite of finishing 14th, was still second with 66 points, and that Mist, in spite of finishing 15th, was tied with Flapper for 3rd place with 63 points. Bandit had once again come within reach of the leaders and had a total of 61 points for 5th place.
THE DAY OF REST
That evening all hands motored to Dorlans at South Norwalk to enjoy a shore dinner. The festivities came to an abrupt halt, however, when it became known that Bud Vanderveer had met with a fatal automobile accident and that his three companions, Phil Singer, W.G. Waterhouse, and Edwin Thorne had been injured and were in the hospital. The entertainment program was at once canceled and a short business meeting brought to a close the saddest of all Star gatherings.
THE FOURTH RACE
The Series was now nearing its final stages and the contestants were inclined to take greater chances. Juno, Wings, and Thistle made premature starts, in the light Southeasterly breeze, and were recalled. Once again the I.R.C. selected a triangle, it offering less chance of a merry‑go‑round in that sort of questionable weather. Mist took an early lead and was never headed throughout the entire race. Slade Dale was a close second at the first weather mark with Dave Atwater third. They were unable to hold their positions, however, on the next reach and Colleen moved up to second place with Spray back in third, and these relative positions were unchanged when the yachts completed the first round.
On the next beat, Tim Parkman gave a great exhibition and was second to round the windward mark. Ralph Bradley worked up from 10th to third place. Wings, however, moved up to 4th to hold her second place in the Series. Flapper had fallen back to 19th and Hampton Road's chances were blasted. Laura G had increased her lead and now had 95 points. Mist had tied Wings with 91 points each. Fleet Star was next with 83, while the Defender had 81.
A day of activity had done much to dispel the gloom and by the time every one had gathered at Fred Bedford's home for the stag dinner, all hands were once more in high spirits. It was a comparatively small gathering consisting of contestants and officials but one that will long be remembered. Left to their own devices, the Star gang provided their own brand of entertainment and never before did such songs resound throughout the great halls of the Bedford mansion as those led by Dave Atwater and Bill Medcalf. Doc Pflug, Bill McHugh and all the Star talent performed and a great time was had by all.
THE FIFTH RACE
The start was close, many a bow being within inches of the line as the gun sent them away. Only one boat, Lone Star, made a premature start, however, and had to be recalled. The wind was not only light but very fluky and the lead changed rapidly. For a time Fouah Lieh and Hula Star, Laura Dowsett sailing as substitute crew on latter, were out in front. Then this group was left almost motionless as Lone Wolf picked up a favorable slant and rounded the weather mark far ahead of the pack. Joy was second and Juno third. On reach, Swedish Star moved up into third place with Moonshine right her wake. They rounded the mark so close together that Moonshine struck the Swedish boat and the mark at approximately the same time. They crept towards the home mark, Lone Wolf increasing her already great lead but scarcely moving. Lone Wolf made it just 4 seconds short of half the time limit. Joy had retained her place and Moonshine had moved up to third. Three Star had nosed out Juno for fifth. Wings was 7th, Mist 10th and Laura G was 12th.
With matters as they stood, and the wind had now hauled into the South with no more windward work ahead, Wings would win by single point. Pflug, however, had dropped back from 4th to 7th on those last two reaches and Bradley had proven his ability to out‑reach the Moriches Bay boat in light going many times before. What many lost sight of was that Eddie Fink had reached up from 17th at the weather mark to 10th at the end of the round.
So intent were the MeClatchy family in retaining their lead that they had failed to notice the shift of wind. The next mark at best was more than a close reach but the MeClatchys, instead of going about, closehauled and remained on the starboard tack. If a race was ever in bag, Elk River had that race all wrapped up and ready to take home, every foot that Lone Wolf stood out on that starboard tack was tjus a foot thrown away and she remained on it until Joy rounded, went about, and had overcome MeClatchy's lead. With Moonshine and Swedish Star retaining their positions, the yachts rounded what should have been the windward mark again. Three Star was now 4th but Mist had moved up to 5th. Wings had fallen back to 8th and Laura G had moved to 10th. Atwater rapidly overtook the leading Joy and her performance at this same mark on the first round with Swedish Star was again repeated with Joy, Moonshine touching both the English yacht and mark. Fink was 4th now, Pflug 7th, and Bradley still 10th.
There could be no doubt now that it would be a race. The Narragansett boat started to luff out on Joy and almost got her wind but Ratsey led away again close to the line and crossed first. Swedish Star was next to cross for third place, however, Atwater reported a foul against both Joy and the Swedish yacht. At a meeting that lasted until 3:30 A.M., it was shown that in both cases Moonshine had established her over‑lap in proper time and both Joy and Swedish Star were disqualified, giving Moonshine the race.
And now to return to the leaders, who had not yet finished, and around whom all interest was centered. The Californian ghost was next to slide across the line and whistles blew and pandemonium broke loose. Eddie Fink had won the Internationals. Juno was next, giving third place after the two disqualifications. Wings had moved up to what was eventually 4th place but it was not enough. Pflug had failed by two points. Ralph Bradley was still 10th, he had made a hard fight to come back on that last leg and had been on the verge of regaining some of his lost points, when Patsey Raskob to windward stopped him dead, while Tim Parkman to leeward, slipped past both of them and thus dealt the final blow to the long cherished hopes of the Illinois River Fleet.
THE FINAL BANQUET
Medals were then presented to the officials as follows: To the I.R.C. - G. W. Elder, Chairman, W.L.I.S.; Sampson Smith, Otsego Lake; W.C. Atwater, Moriches Bay; C.E. Lucke, Jr., Barnegat Bay; and H.M. Wharton, C.L.I.S. Course Officials - J.W.C. Bullard, C.L.I.S. and Frank Manegold, Lake Michigan. Mark Officials - Allegra Knapp, Chief, W.L.I.S.; Dartrey Lewis, C.L.I.S.; Wilder Gutterson, C.L.I.S.; and C.L. Johnson, Eastern Shore.
Then came the big moment, the moment for which all had been waiting, the moment toward which every skipper with International aspirations dreams of, the presentation of the International Series Trophy. As the band played the Star Spangled Banner and the American flag was raised behind the speakers' table, Eddie Fink stepped forward to receive his well earned reward. The ovation lasted for a quarter of an hour. Nor were those who followed overlooked. As each skipper and crew stepped forward to receive his Series prize, or the medals that were given to every entry, the band played the National anthem of that country and its flag was hoisted. A bit of humor was injected, when they played the Wearing Of The Green for Eugene Kelley of Cannes, and hoisted a large green Irish flag. Dave Atwater was greeted with How Dry I Am, and availed himself of the occasion to pay off his bet with Patsey Raskob, a lolly pop, as the youthful skipperess had beaten the mighty Dave in three out of the five races. Having run out of tunes by the time they reached the MeClatchys, the band played Yes We Have No Bananas.
The dancing continued until the early hours of the morning, then gradually, one by one, they said farewell. The Internationals of ‘32 had become history. It had been a great Series, it had its bright and its sad moments too, but it had been a Series never to be forgotten and pledging themselves to meet once more in 1933, the followers of the golden star embarked on their long journeys homeward to the various corners of the world.