The WRCRA started in 1989 as the Supercat Fleet 15. Sponsored by Steamboat Landing, the Fleet was a product of Roger Holmes' desire to bring weeknight style racing to Galesville with a twist - beach catamarans. Roger is the local dealer for Supercat Catamarans (now Aquarius or ARC), and Chesapeake Supercat became the title sponsor for the Fleet with the goal of getting 15 boats on the line. Thus the name - Supercat Fleet 15. Through the years the goal of the Fleet has been to expand the sport of catamaran racing and welcome newcomers both to sailing and catamarans. As such, the name was changed to the West River Catamaran Racing Association.
Now sponsored by Thursday's at Steamboat Landing restaurant, the Fleet had been sailing from a waterfront lot in Galesville for about fifteen years. In 2007 the County decided we had to go, and in 2008 saw to it that we were evicted. Now the majority of our boats are stored at the WRSC and other locations. But the WRCRA continues to conduct Tuesday night races from the beginning of May through the end of November. The Fleet also has a tight bond with the Catamaran Racing Association of the Chesapeake (CRAC), and runs some invitational races in conjunction with CRAC, most notably the Icebreaker, Lighthouse, and C-100 races.
Joining a Fleet and getting into the racing thing can be an intimidating thing. The Fleet prides itself on bringing newcomers into the fold and bringing them up to speed. Nobody is too busy to help out a newcomer, either with rigging advice or encouragement. As a result the Fleet and its influence have grown. At one time getting 15 boats on the line was a dream, now it is a reality. The Fleet provided the momentum for the creation of the A-Cat fleet at the WRSC, and the Fleet provides a home base for many of the sailors racing in CRAC. Also, sailors who have competed in the Worrell 1000, Tybee 500, and Outer Banks 500 call the WRCRA home. The Fleet now boasts a large number of NACRA/Inter-20s, so the possibility of a new spin-off one-design fleet may be on the horizon.
The face of the Fleet has changed through the years - the boats have become more technical and the speeds have increased. But through it all the motive of the sailors hasn't changed - to be serious enough to make the racing interesting, to stay light hearted enough to keep it fun. The rewards are many, from the friendship to skills acquired through racing every week. But at the end of the year the reward is the Fleet Awards Party, where the Fleet gathers, eats, drinks, and tells tales. It's a great party, and the skippers who prevailed in the season received beautiful handmade trophy plaques made by the commodore himself. The perpetual all series champion trophy gets taken home by the top dog, only to be turned over to the new winner the next year. That trophy is a beautiful replica of a Supercat/ARC-22, again handmade by the commodore himself.
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