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Dyer-bolical Fun at the Dyer Dhow Derby!

The colorful Dyer Dhow Derby at Mystic Seaport. Photo: Mystic Seaport Museum website

By David Seabrook

On Saturday, October 5th, a team of IHYC Dyer Dhow racers drove to Stonington, CT to compete in what has to be one of the most colorful regattas in the northeast: the Annual Dyer Dhow Derby, hosted by Mystic Seaport Museum.

Double-handed? No problem! Note the white-sailed boat of an IHYC team in a controlling position. Photo: Ariadne Spahr

We went expecting a rather casual regatta—after all, the sailing instructions specified a “compulsory $1000 donation” before filing any protests—so we were a little surprised to find some pretty hotshot sailors. Competitors came from as far away as the Bronx, and some strong sailors from New York Yacht Club, Fishers Island Yacht Club and many other clubs came to compete. The format was three adult races, three junior races (during which the adults drank beer), three “quarter ton” races, and then more beer. In the quarter-ton race, the weight of the competitors was supposed to add up to 500 lb. The Dyer Dhow was designed as a lifeboat specified for six people, so 900 lb. should have been no problem. Sadly, no team pushed the limit, even after all the beer. The most we saw was three in one boat, but that was pretty good (kudos to Karen Lau!)

As the scoring records were far from immaculate, we are not sure how our team did, but we estimate that we came in the top third. To really contend, we will need to bring tricked-out boats next time; one of the competitors showed up with the most immaculate Dyer Dhow I have seen. 

The best part of the event was the beautiful setting at Mystic Seaport and the good-natured camaraderie between sailors of all ages. And, of course, the fabulous experience of sailing in the indomitable Dyer Dhow! 

Team IHYC: Deborah Wressell, David Seabrook, Roger van Loveren, Ariadne Spahr, Karen Lau. Photo: Rosemary Spahr

You can try this fun little boat right here at IHYC! The winter sailors are holding an open clinic on Saturday, November 9th, 1330-1530. Contact David Seabrook or John Cutting to find out more!