Fred Murphy and his crew and schooner Ishmael were a top winner in the annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race, held late last month. The 48-foot schooner from Vineyard Haven received a first place in her class. There were four classes. The schooner won the Michelob Chesapeake Bay Challenge Trophy for having the best corrected time at Windmill Point of 16 hours, two minutes and six seconds.
“Our strategy was to win our class, and we won fourth overall, on corrected time,” said Mr. Murphy.
The 127-mile race was from Baltimore to Portsmouth, Va. There were 37 boats. They came from as far north as Maine and as far south as Florida. The race started on Thursday, Oct. 11 and included overnight sailing. Mr. Murphy said he had a good idea he was doing well. Sailors could check online using a cell phone. The race finished Friday.
Mr. Murphy’s Vineyard crew were Jim Lobdell, Myles Thurlow, Patrick Cassidy, along with Greg Watson of Pennsylvania. Liz Packer of Vineyard Haven helped sail the boat down to the start of the race in Baltimore.
Mr. Murphy also won the Howdy Bailey Buckl for an overall lapsed time of 20 hours, 23 minutes and 30 seconds.
“We had a wonderful sail back to the Vineyard,” he said. In 12 days of sailing, the vessel logged over 1,000 miles. Mr. Murphy is a retired merchant marine captain. While he spent a career commanding big steel ships, his personal boat is a 1929 wooden schooner.
In addition to his crew, Mr. Murphy credits part of the success in the race to work done on the boat last winter. Mr. Thurlow replaced the bottom of the vessel with tropical hardwoods including angelique and wana.
In 2011 Ishmael won the pursuit race in the Vineyard Cup, held off East and West Chop.