M. (Ding) Schoonmaker, who earlier this year won the North American
Championship, climaxed a 25 year career in the Star Class by capturing
the 1975 Gold Star in Chicago with Jerry Ford crewing. In a fleet of 73
boats, a record surpassed only in 1966 at Kiel. Ding beat the reigning
Blackaller, by 5 points and Peter Wright by 9, after each had dropped
his worst race, which for Dingo was remarkably high, a seventh. The contestants
met a variety of weather conditions but no races were washed out, all
being completed without a double header. All courses were "O",
with lines well set by Gary Comer's race committee. Guns were fired from
a boat that hovered to windward of the middle of the line and then quietly
stole away after the start. Power of recall from both ends of the line
and loud hailers on all three boats kept the huge fleet under control."
What follows is a crew's eye view, written for the LOG by the winning crew of each race except the second.
- Misty, John Ahlquist
We reached the first mark in fifth place following Bill Parks, Pete Bennett, Pete Wright, and Bob Ferguson. Reynolds, Nixdorf, Duplin, Burnham, and Knowles rounded out the first ten. Two reaching legs later the order of the first ten was unchanged as one might expect in steady moderate air.
During the second weather leg the wind freshened slightly and we had mini-hiking conditions for the first time. We sailed this leg tacking on small shifts but never going to the edges of the course. We arrived at the weather mark second to Parks and closely followed by Wright, Reynolds, and Knowles. John Cram made an appearance, rounding the mark in sixth place.
On the run there were
some minor changes in position among the first five, but no new faces
appeared as we rounded. It was Parks, Allen, Knowles, Reynolds, and Wright,
while Barton Beek (7) and Dave Peterson (10) joined the top ten for the
- Dingo, Jerry Ford
Just as we were about to jibe, we saw Gene McCarthy (just off our weather quarter) go head to wind. He was determined to make the line on starboard tack and when he went up he put the brakes on the whole fleet. He opened up a four-boat-length hole at the leeward end and we took advantage of it, tacked with clear air and shot out, port tacking the whole fleet. We were moving at top speed while everyone else was fighting to get over the line. Ding asked me to call out compass readings, but I was so excited over our start it took me five minutes to stop shaking. We were out and away and two minutes after the start were seventy five yards ahead. We led all the way around and won it by three minutes and forty seconds. Blackaller, who was about twelfth at the weather mark the first time up, made a great recovery finishing second, with Bill Gerard third and Wright sixth.
- Virgo, William Wright
- Virgo, William Wright
With this finish, Pete was leading the World's Championship by one point. Unbelievable!
- Dingo, Jerry Ford
We got out to the starting line one hour early so we could get a good feel for the boat in the heavy weather. As we reached up and down the line, ourselves and Blackaller were giving each other the hawkeye, trying to psyche each other out. Tom was happy with this breeze and we were looking forward to sailing a strong race. We started at the weather end just below Blackaller, and immediately knew we had speed. We came off the blocks two to one on everyone around us. We looked back and we had Tom on our starboard quarter and he wasn't going at all. We couldn't find Wright anywhere so we figured he was buried somewhere at the leeward end of the line. By the time we got to the weather mark, we were in fourth place and as soon as we were around the mark we blew right through Pete Bennett and Bill Gerard's lee, riding on a beautiful ten foot sea. At the first reaching pin, we didn't quite have an overlap on Jim Allsopp, who was leading the race so we rounded behind him. Half way down the second reaching leg we got a good blast of wind and a big wave all at once and sailed over Allsopp for the lead. From this point on we continued to increase our lead. We rounded the weather mark the second time and flew downwind, riding those big seas and really feeling good. At the leeward pin, we had about a hundred yards on Allsopp and noticed that Blackaller was sailing through the pack. We were very much at ease though, because we knew Tom would have to put four boats in between us to win and that didn't look as if it was going to happen.
So we came across
the line in the rain and wind, wet and cold and happy to be World Champions.