2015 Fort Stoakes Down River Race

This year’s Fort Stoakes Down River Race, hosted by Roger and Rosemary Baldwin at their Chesapeake Bay home, was another historic event for the RC Laser Class. Skippers and chase boat drivers, a total of sixteen boats arrived to take part in the opening ceremony and luncheon provided by Roger, Rosemary and the regatta staff. Soon after, it was down to the boats and on to the river for this grand event. The course is about a mile and a half down river to a turning marker, then back to Roger and Rosemary’s for the finish. Each RC Laser has or is provided a chase boat for the skipper to sail from. Chase boat skippers are chosen for their local knowledge and seamanship skills. The chase boats can be as small as an outboard powered canoe to a 25′ cruising type power boat.

Jim Flach, with starter in one hand and camera in the other, started the sixteen boat fleet for an up-wind first leg. Roger Vaughan with chase boat skipper Larry Murray took the lead, with Nick Mortgu and his chase boat skipper Gugi Irving close behind. A mile and a half later Jamey and Luke Betz were leading the fleet with Dave Ramos and Skip Hall, Harry Mote and Elizabeth Wainwright, and Roger Vaughan and Larry Murray close behind. The rest of the fleet was caught up the creek with little or no wind.

After the top four boats rounded the turning mark, the tide and very light winds carried them up to the finish. The rest of the fleet found themselves caught just past the turning mark with the tide changing against them, and no wind. At a mile and a half to go with no wind and against the tide three boats dropped out and the remaining boats in the fleet were finished in place. Not without some grumbling of who was in front of who when the race was called.

The top four boats, the only finishers, were awarded prizes for both Skipper and chase boat driver. Congratulations to winner Jamey & Luke Betz and dog Archer, Dave Ramos & Skip Hall second, third and fourth were Harry Mote & Elizabeth Wainwright and Roger Vaughan & Larry Murray.


1 Jamey and Luke Betz
2 Dave Ramos and Skip Hall
3 Harry Mote and Elizabeth Wainwright
4 Roger Vaughan and Larry Murray

Finished in place
5 David and Lisa Brawner and Mark Rinehart
6 Bob Roe and Dave Brooks
7 Danny Thomas and Victor Oberg
8 Dave Branning and Elaine Hepkin
9 Rocky and MaryLee Cale and Stuart Parnes and Brad Cale
10 Roger and Rosemary Baldwin and Dave Littleton
11 Fred and Mary Beth DeSantis
12 Don and Clare Barker
13 Claude Maechling and Gib Snow

Did Not Finish
14 Nick Mortgu and Gugi Irving
15 Dave and Deborah Pulzone
16 Harry Henkel and JL Mulikin