Early Model Yachting

In the latter 1800s, models of all types and sizes were being raced in increasing numbers on Redd's Pond, leading to the formation of the Marblehead Midget Yacht Club in 1892. Although an informal group of young sailors, the club selected Redd's Pond as their racing site and a 24-inch model that resembled the gaff-rigged yachts of that era.

Later, upon the introduction of the Marconi rig (triangular sails) for large craft, the club adapted this sail plan to its models. Even in these beginning years, members showed a willingness to change their models to improve sailing performance. In the early 1900s, with Marblehead considered the greatest yacht center in the world, model yachting became just as active through its organized activities.

Local businesses also flourished that catered to model yachtsmen, such as Marblehead Model Yachts, Nutting's Marblehead Workshop and Clough & Woods. These enterprising businessmen and the Hennessey Marine Classes for model building held summer regattas for youths at Redd's Pond. The 1923 regatta, for instance, had five scow and Marconi model classes with 36 novice skippers.

With these events attracting a growing number of participants and spectators, the Marblehead Messenger newspaper decided to sponsor a Labor Day race. The resulting publicity and widespread promotion by merchants established this regatta as an annual tradition for youngsters in Marblehead.

The report of the first Labor Day regatta in 1925 documents the level of popularity reached by model yachting. This was considered the largest event of its kind in the world: 175 boats entered in seven classes of 12- to 48-inch models. The audience was just as impressive with over a thousand people lining the shores of Redd's Pond.

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