Oxford RC Laser Fleet
In 2005, Jim Karr, of Easton, Maryland, had an old friend, Steve Lang, visit him. Steve and Jim were former business associates back in the ’70’s. Steve’s visit to Jim in 2005 centered on Steve’s racing in an R/C regatta in Annapolis with 914’s. Jim went along to see the races. After the regatta, as Steve was leaving Easton, he offered an RC Laser to Jim to give it a try. Jim quickly became a dealer and in turn sold boats to Jim Reynolds, John Devlin, Dave Pulzone and Bill Wolf. Thus began the formation of the Oxford RC Laser Fleet.
Over the next three years, Jim sold 30 more RC Lasers to his friends in the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake area. The majority were Tred Avon Yacht Club members like Charlie Webb, who became Commodore of TAYC, and he gave the fleet great support in the early days and the R/C Laser Oxford fleet became the largest one design fleet at TAYC.
Jim’s wife Paula was our first score keeper. She passed on her skills to Bonnie Richards and eventually Bonnie has taught Elaine Hepkin and Jeannie Henkel to help with scoring. Bubbles Shattuck was our first PRO and after a few years he retired the position to Tot O’Meara. Both the score keepers and PRO’s are essential to our success and it is terrific that we have so many volunteers to help with buoys, scoring, communications, awards and a year end awards party. Jim Karr and Dave Pulzone were the first to program the results and post them to our emails. Dick Richards took over as commodore of the fleet from Jim Karr, and Dick was followed by Joe Hartmeyer and Claude Maechling in 2008. Dave Branning and Margy Robfogel took over in 2009. Currently, in 2010, our commodores are Dave Branning and Harry Henkel. Dave is also the RC Laser North American Class Secretary. We do collect dues and have used the revenue to purchase spare parts, a new countdown timer and small pewter cup prizes for our two seasonal racing series.
Generally we have 12-14 boats at any one night on the starting line even though we have over 25 boat owners. Some owners just like to enjoy their boats on their own and do not race regularly. Our fleet races two seasonal series every Wednesday night at 5pm in the Spring and Fall. We divide up the fleet into two fleets …an A fleet and B fleet so we spread out the recognition and we get to race against similar skill levels. We move people up to A as they get more competitive. We add new members every year to the fleet. Currently the Oxford RC Laser Fleet is probably the largest fleet in North America and we send a large contingent to major regattas in North America. Many of our members sail other one design and big boats during the summer and the grass or jelly fish in the Tred Avon River conflict with RC Lasers in the summer as well. We look for inland ponds during the summer months and do pick up casual racing at TAYC during the winter months if the weather permits on the weekend.
We have hosted 2 North American Championships in 2007 and 2009 and have added another fleet sponsored open regatta on Tilghman Island, MD. In October 2010 we will be hosting the RC Laser Regional Championship at the Tred Avon Yacht Club. Our consistent fleet champion, Roger Vaughan has won every fleet series since inception as well as placing high in two North American Championships.
Dick Richards, Dave Branning RC Laser Class Secretary, Pete Bailey, Schuyler Benson, Rob Roe, Peter Colket, Mike Epprecht, Harry Henkel, Jim Karr, Drew Kellogg, Tom Lucke, Dave Pulzone, Margy and Jim Robfogel, Roger Vaughan, Charlie Webb, Roger Baldwin, Yank Brame, Joe Hartmeyer, Claude Maechling, Hall Palmer, Gib Snow, Polly Cox, Jack Devine and Don Baker.
Roger Vaughan & Bob Roe