The Dickerson Rendezvous
The Dickerson Rendezvous has been a big part of my life for several years. Since 1998, I've been crewing for my friend Bruce Franz aboard his beautiful Dickerson 41, Hemisphere Dancer. Every year, a dozen or so boats make the pilgrimage long or short to the Chesapeake for the annual rendezvous.
The Rendezvous is traditionally held Father's Day weekend and for the last several years has been at Oxford, MD, just a few miles down the Choptank River from where they were built on LaTrappe Creek. Some of the boats have been around the world, others are currently out cruising full time and still others are nurtured and cherished by their owners as they squeeze precious sailing time in between their work-a-day lives.
Always careful to never actually win the race, Bruce, Bryan Twigg and I with other occasional crew, had a pretty good streak going. From 1999 to 2004 we were first in class with Hemisphere Dancer. In 1998, we got screwed by a mid-race course change that bumped us down from a commanding lead to 5th place or we would likely have won that race, as well.
In 2004, we screwed up royally and took first overall. So, Bruce had to assume the mantle of Commodore for the 2005 rendezvous and race. And, we didn't get to race as a result. (Commodore acts as committee boat) Our streak was broken. But, we hope to return next year and reclaim our honor as the fastest Dickerson 41 in the world. But certainly not the fastest Dickerson in the world, if we can help it.
Bruce, as usual, executed his tenure as Commodore with panache. Since his boat was being worked on, he begged, connived and pleaded with Dave Thatcher until Dave agreed to host us aboard his beautiful Old Dad for our tenure as Committee Boat. And, what a lovely day on the water it was for us. The racers suffered in hot still air. Well, the ones that didn't go swimming did, anyway. But, we aboard the committee boat motored around taking pics of the fleet and more importantly maintained an apparent wind, remaining cool and comfortable on a fine summer's day.
It has been an interesting journey for me, as I watch my friend cavort and carouse with the other Dickerson owners. Never much of a joiner myself, I've gone deep into observer mode on these outings, soaking in the deep love and commitment these folks have for their lovely boats. It's been fun. And over the years, despite my boat being something other than a Dickerson, I've been sucked into their camaraderie and fellowship. Albeit, as a suspect member, since I haven't yet seen fit to sell that other boat and buy a Dickerson. But, they always have hope I'll trade up to a proper yacht...