Anyone driving across the Bridge coming into the historic Tidewater village of Urbanna gets the feel of the water and the flavor of what lies ahead pretty quickly. First-time visitors usually slow down just to have a little more time to enjoy the view after being welcomed by the pair of ospreys that nest every year right under the bridge. Sailboats in slips and on moorings, power boats coming and going, kayaks and canoes under paddle all offer up a sense of space and relaxation which most folks find intoxicating.
When we think of Tidewater, and Urbanna, we think of the water, our famous oysters, the creek, the Rappahannock and the essence that is the Chesapeake Bay. On May 18th, Urbanna’s famous harbor will be the site of a whole new kind of boating experience. The newly formed Urbanna Creek Cocktail Class Boating Association, co-chaired by local residents Chris Riddick and John Milby, will be hosting its first national racing event under the auspices of the National Cocktail Class Wooden Racing Association (CCWBRA). I asked Chris how he found these boats and became involved in racing them. This is what he told me: “Last July CCWBRA had an exhibition of the boats in Urbanna, and I was hooked as soon as I saw the little boats racing around the harbor. The people from the national club were enthusiastic, great to talk with, and even let me jump in one of the boats for a trial run. They knew that Urbanna and its perfect harbor were the ideal places to have these kinds of events, and I was right on board from the start. That August, I drove to Rock Hall, Maryland, for the Cocktail Class National Championships and was fortunate to be able to borrow a boat to race. I came home with a 2nd place trophy in my class. That did it for me. I couldn’t wait to get back home to help develop our own chapter.”
The Cocktail Class boats are hand-made and can be constructed from simple plans or from a newly developed pre-cut kit. After completion they measure 8 feet long, weigh under 100 pounds and are powered by 6 to 8 HP outboard motors. The Urbanna contingent ordered 7 kits and is now in the final phases of the building process.
Four more boats are being built by a Richmond family with a weekend home in Middlesex and Bill Curtis of Kilmer’s Point is hard at work on the kit he took delivery on in March. That makes 12 boats with more participants expected to arrive in Urbanna from Maine, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland in May.
All the amenities will be in place at the waterfront in Urbanna, including the arrival of Smith Island Crab Skiffs which will have their own race as a special bonus. Beginning Friday, May 17th from 4 pm until 7pm early registration will be held at the town marina. Get ready to experience the great southern hospitality Urbanna has become famous for. Regatta day will include local food, wine and beer under the tents, exhibits, walking tours of Urbanna’s historic places and “Music under the Stars” to enjoy at end of the day at Taber Park sponsored by the Urbanna Business Association. Shops, restaurants and the community’s famous Visitor Center at the Old Tobacco Warehouse will welcome all with open doors. Visit www.urbanna.com, on Facebook at Urbanna Creek Cocktail Class Boating Association, www.ccwbra.com, the National web site, and www.vimeo.com/30987190 to watch a video of these gorgeous little boats in action. You can call 804/758-1606 for all questions and information or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to volunteer? Race? Contribute? Please contact us.