BLUE HILL — With sea smoke rising from the harbor in sub-zero temperatures Monday morning, it was hard to think about summer plans. But on Sunday, members of the Kollegewidgwok Yacht Club got a reminder that summer is just around the corner.
Come August, the club will host the 2017 National Championship regatta for Atlantic Class sloops. The event is scheduled for Aug. 20 through Aug. 26. KYC members received emails over the weekend asking for volunteers to provide housing for the visiting Atlantic sailors.
Last year’s Nationals were hosted by the Niantic Bay Yacht Club and sailed on Long Island Sound off the Connecticut shore. With 21 boats entered, more than 80 sailors took part in the regatta.
Representing KYC, Bill Barton repeated his 2013 win, sailing One 4 All with his crew of Peter Smith, Peter Duncan and Tom Blackwell. Another KYC sailor, Ian Evans, won the event in 2011.
The Atlantic Class Association was formed in 1929 and has sailed a national championship regatta every year since then. KYC hosted its first Nationals in 2008. Until then, every championship regatta had been sailed on Long Island Sound, where most of the boats registered in the class are located.
KYC also hosted the Nationals in 2012.
Five yacht clubs, four of them based on the sound, have Atlantic fleets. Before 1940, only one boat from each fleet could participate in the championship series. Beginning in 1940, the series became a five-race “free for all,” with multiple entries from each club.
The Atlantics have a colorful history.
In the summer of 1928, W. Starling Burgess, designer of Ranger and two other J Boats that defended the America’s Cup, sailed from yacht club to yacht club on Long Island Sound in a 30-foot prototype sloop he called the Atlantic Coast One Design. The boat was aimed at promoting a class of fast boats that were identical for racing and could be daysailed as well.
Orders for 80 boats were placed that summer, and the wooden hulls were built in production-line style at the German shipbuilding firm of Abeking and Rasmussen.
Another 20 boats were ordered during the summer of 1929. After that, no new boats were built until the first fiberglass Atlantic was launched in 1954. It wasn’t until 1962 that a boat with a sail number higher than 100 appeared. Hull number 101 was the first of a third generation of Atlantics, of which nearly 50 new boats have been built.