sailing, sailing ...
WSM doubled its turnout over '99, attracting both new players
and returnees, despite losing its GM to a traffic accident on
the way to the conference. Fortunately, AGM Tim Hitchings was
available to take over despite the loss of much materials and
expertise to William Rohrbeck's fender bender. A user-friendly
format allowed players to drop in and out at their convenience,
choosing short, single-ship actions or longer, squadron actions.
Some favored a combination. Revised tournament rules were used,
cleaning up the 2nd Edition and adding new flavor. Free copies
are available to all participants.
Dave Cross took his second plaque, winning a single-ship action
and four squadron battles. His only loss was to runner-up Ron
Glass. Ron's record was 2-1 in squadron actions and one single-ship
Steve Shedden delivered the most devastating broadside of
all time. In a squadron battle, one of his ships fired point
blank into the enemy. His roll of 6 caused a critical hit, "magazine
may explode". The magazine did, in fact, explode. The explosion
set three adjacent ships afire, two of Steve's, plus an additional
enemy. On the enemy ship and Steve's original attacker, the fires
were out of control, leading to subsequent explosions. Steve's
remaining ship in the conflagration was finished off by cannon
fire. Thus, one broadside blew up three ships and led a fourth
to ultimate destruction. The odds of this series of die rolls
22,394.88 to 1!
The high point of the tournament was Saturday's fleet action
with metal miniatures. Two fleets were formed by players commanding
one or more ships. French Admiral Dave Cross arrayed French 80-gun
ships, a Spanish 130, and
a Turkish 100 in a line spanning a harbor behind a fort, in defense
of merchantmen and a powder magazine. British Admiral Ron Glass
led British 74's, an 80, a bomb ketch and a Russian 110 via a
narrow channel just beyond the reach of the fort.
The firepower of the anchored defenders threatened to delay
British deployment, forcing Joe Abrams' squadron to swing into
the play of the fort's guns. Joe's ships suffered rigging damage
but emerged to engage a French 74 and Spanish 130 commanded by
Jay Schlaffer. Montrealer Benoit Groulx (a French royalist commanding
British ships!) avoided sailing off the edge of the earth to
achieve a rake on the Franco-Turkish squadron of Keith Hunsinger.
Nevertheless, Keith's Turkish 100 grappled the lead ship of Brit
Larry York, leading to a nasty melee between these rivals. Tim
Hitchings sailed his bomb ketch to within range of the French
but got off only one bombardment of the powder magazine. Frenchman
Jim Miller skillfully tacked upwind and assaulted the Brits from
Time ran out before zeal; resolution of the battle was still
up for grabs. It was agreed to schedule next year's fleet action
to allow for more fighting. Prizes were awarded for the best
tournament records as well as successful skippers in the fleet