Captain Ed Marill, Marathon, Florida 33050 siesta2000@yahoo.com

CSY 44 Kahlua Cup Race Winner:

Imagine That!

Cleopatra’s Barge Wins Kahlua Cup (reprinted from Ron Sheridan’s CSY MEMORY ROSE blog)

CSY wooped the pants off of a number of quality boats of the day, during several Florida races, one right after another! A decal was made to celebrate the win at the Kahlua Cup. 

Besides humorous bragging rights, for anyone thinking of someday selling their boat, this might add positive thoughts, knowing the CSY cruiser has a bit of racing pedegree…. 

Note from Captain Ed Marill, SIESTA owner:  the Kahlua Cup is the yearly Ft. Lauderdale to Key West race. This race was, at that time, the feeder race for all the boats participating in the SORC racing circuit). I happened to be in this race in 1980 as crew on BRYNI, a traditional Morgan 41 center-boarder (designed after Charlie Morgan’s SORC winner “Paper Tiger”), not the Morgan Out Island ’41. Most of the crew was sick as soon as the race started. In order to race south against anortherly Gulfstream current, one had to stay close to the reef line, in less than 50 feet of water, before the age of Sat-Nav’s and GPS devices. You could hear the waves breaking on the reefs at night. One boat was lost, and several others badly-damaged on the reef during that race, which coincided with a front coming through. The famous sailboat “Ticonderoga”, with famous singer Jimmy Buffett as crew, made it safely to Key West, in time for some Margaritaville festivities.

The material below was scanned and OCR’ed from a CSY advertising flyer, published in 1980:

“What? Cleopatra’s Barge, the boat that can’t sail out of its own wake, that incredible hulk, the Tampa Tub, just won the Kahlua Cup?”

We’re not kidding … but they thought we were, when we first entered the race. She won First 0verall, First in Class and First in Division.

Who is she, this wonder craft? A 12-meter terror? A new, custom racer? No, she’s an ordinary (well, not so ordinary) cruising yacht. The incredible CSY Mid-cockpit 44.

Yes, folks. That same “overbuilt icebreaker” took on a Custom Frers 46, a Swan 411, a Morgan 1-ton, a Tartan 37, a Valiant 40 and 34 others, and trounced the hell out of all of them.

Breezing along in the 20-30 knot winds, she hit speeds in excess of 12 knots and generally had a wonderful time. Her amateur crew (some factory workers and a dentist who’d never raced before) did everything they could to keep up appearances -like waving to the fanatics on the other yachts as they passed by -but it was no contest.

To the competition’s chagrin. 60 of the 100 starters dropped out (in 25 knot winds???).

On to the finish.

When the race was done, and the full 161 miles (210 miles over the bottom) had been traversed, it was red faces in the sunset. World-beaters came across like egg-beaters, and a lot of old racing salts had their tails peppered by “the fat 44″ and her less than glorious crew. Not that we intend to demean them, but there were so many award winners in the race sailing so many “go-fast” boats … ah, well, ours is not to reason why … but it happened.

Victory was particularly sweet for the winning 44, a standard CSY cutter, with optional tall rig, and performance package. She sailed across the finish line on the same hull on which the Pilot House Ketch and new walk-through are built, with the same handsome interior, enormous sea-going kitchen and live-aboard luxuries that are found on all CSY’s. No stripped-down racing version this, just a good ‘ole cruising boat with a lot of heart.

After she won it, there was a certain air of gloom as the mighty meekly moped back to port.

The award ceremony was low key – somehow the competition never got into the spirit of things. Wonder why?

And you probably won’t be reading a whole lot about CSY’s victory in the papers. For some reason the hot shots who delight in taking pot shots have been strangely silent. And it’s about time.

Old myths (like”it’s heavy”, it won’t sail well) die hard.

Gloat? Us? Well, maybe just a little. After all, we’ve been taking a lot of crap about our hull weight for a lot of years.

Was it a fluke? Well, two weeks later, the same CSY 44, with the same motley crew, (and a spinnaker this time), won the 121-mile St. Pete-to Naples race, taking First Overall and First in Class.

So now, if you please, we’ll just bask in our glory for a while.

Anybody out there want to cruise?