The Queen of the Bay Race

The Queen of the Bay Race is one of the oldest events on Great South Bay.This traditional twelve mile long event began when P and Q class yachts of varying size started at the same time and raced the same course, with the winner determined by the best corrected time. Howard Arthur Gibbs’ Bonnie Doon won the first trophy on record in 1893. Defiance owner Charles Baker won the 1896 trophy. Regis H. Post of Penataquit Corinthian Yacht Club in Bay Shore had Constance built in 1899 and won the trophy that year. The Suffolk County News quoted baymen about Constance "as the smartest thing that ever sailed". Post donated a sterling silver, two feet high, Queen of the Bay Loving Cup in 1900 and his Constance won it at Penataquit Corinthian Yacht Club. The 1901 trophy was won by Wynnabust sailed by Charles D. Brower of Shinnecock Yacht Club. Post’s Constance won again in 1902 and eventually retired the trophy by wining it three times. Charles R. Brower' Frontinac won in 1905, and Harry O. Havemeyer's Toby won in 1906.

After GSBYRA was formed handicaps were calculated by a GSBYRA Handicap Chairman, and the boat’s owner had to belong to a GSBYRA club and had to race the boat on the bay. The next recorded winner was Horace Havemeyer’s Electra in 1908, followed by J. E. Rudolf’s Q class Dixie in 1909, W. R. Simmons’ Surprise in 1910, Post’s Constance again in 1911, J. E. Rudolf’s Eagle in 1912, C. F. Westin’s Dixie in 1913, W. C. Kramer’s Challenger in 1914, Gilbert Douglas’ Q class Invader in 1915 and 1916. The 1916 race was decided after an appeal by Douglas against Belle Baruch sailing Miladi, a Bellport Bay One Design and the first boat on corrected time over the twelve mile course, not to mention first time a woman would have won. Miladi was disqualified after the measurer confirmed that the BB class boats, now with jib booms added, sagged and sat lower in the water, which changed thier handicap rating. C. F. Westin’s Dixie skippered by Captain Jim Zegel of West Sayville won the trophy in 1917, then later Dick and Bud Ludeman’s Dixie in 1919, 1920,1921, and 1922, retiring two sterling silver Queen of the Bay Loving Cups. Charlie McGrafly’s P2 won the trophy in 1924, followed by W. M. Cranes’ Avis in 1925, Gilbert Douglas’ Invader in 1926, Northam Warren’s Constance in 1927, Crane’s Avis in 1928, J. Phillips' Q class Stranger in 1929, Northam Warren’s P class Edna in 1930, and Bayard Dod’s Windward II, a Q class scow in 1931, 1932, and 1933 retired yet another trophy. Duncan Arnold’s R boat Querida won in 1934 and 1935, and H, Lebaire’s Q class Scandal in 1936, 1937, and 1938 retired another trophy. GSBYRA is not in possession of these older trophies.

In 1939, a bowl donated by GSBYRA in memory of Harry Growtage was awarded to the first yacht, Duncan C. Arnold's R class Querida on corrected time. William Bonyon's Interclub Typhoon won in 1940. James R. Topping's R class Hurricane won in 1941. Arnold's Querida won again in 1942. No races were sailed during World War II from 1943 through 1945. Thereafter winners are recorded on the trophy page.

Captain John T. Tuthill, publisher of the Patchogue Advance newspaper donated a second trophy in 1956, the Patchogue Advance Trophy for the first yacht to finish on corrected time. That Patchogue Advance Trophy was eventually retired after being won three times and Tuthill replaced it with the Great South Bay Handicap Bowl.

Ted Everitt, a former Commodore of Bellport Bay Yacht Club and a Past President of GSBYRA donated a third trophy in 1962 to quell the controversy when the first multihull boat raced and finished first. The Everitt Trophy was awarded to the first yacht to finish regardless of type of hull or rig, and the Growtage Bowl was redesignated for the first conventional, single hull, yacht to finish. Multihull enthusiasts, the Jerome Laviano family, donated the fourth trophy in 1972, the Gallina Cup to be awarded to the first multihull to finish on corrected time.

Periodic reviews established changes in how boats qualified to race Queen of the Bay. At one time yachts had to compete in a percentage of GSBYRA Invitational Regattas. Eventually Portsmouth Numbers replaced local bay handicaps. For the Queen of the Bay race the start and the finish consistently remain exciting as boats jockey for best position, and heavy or light air takes its toll over a lengthy course!