wooden ships & iron men  

Updated 11/30/2008

2008 WBC Report     

 2009 Status: pending December Membership Trial Vote

Evan Hitchings, DE

2008 Champion

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Event History
1991    Jim Truit      23
1992    John Boisvert      29
1993    John Boisvert      36
1994    William Rohrbeck      28
1995    Larry York      21
1996    David Cross      16
1997    David Metzger      20
1998    Michael Brannaman      20
1999    Paul Risner       8
2000    David Cross     16
2001    Curtis Dietrich     26
2002    William Rohrbeck     23
2003    William Rohrbeck     27
2004     Arthur Davis     22
2005     William Rohrbeck     19
2006    William Rohrbeck     21
2007     William Rohrbeck     14
2008     Evan Hitchings     16

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  William Rohrbeck   NH    07    116
  2.  Tim Hitchings      DE    08     63
  3.  Keith Hunsinger    OH    07     50
  4.  Arthur Davis       MI    04     41
  5.  Evan Hitchings     DE    08     20
  6.  Larry York         CA    02     20
  7.  Curtis Dietrich    FL    01     20
  8.  David Cross        NJ    06     18
  9.  Dale Long          NC    08     16
 10.  Wade Fowble        MD    03     12
 11.  George Deutsch     MD    07     11
 12.  Rob Doane          MA    08     10
 13.  Paul Risner        FL    99     10
 14.  Mark McCandless    LA    03      9
 15.  Stephen Field      IL    02      9
 16.  Kevin Boles        AL    04      9
 17.  Benoit Groulx      QC    04      8
 18.  Bill Thomson       TX    06      6
 19.  Joe Pabis          VA    05      6
 20.  Ed Majeski         IL    02      6
 21.  Ron Glass          FL    00      6
 22. Katherine Hitchings DE    08      4
 23.  Verity Hitchings   DE    05      4
 24.  Michael Bergt      FL    03      3
 25.  Joseph Abrams      CT    00      3
 26.  Stuart Smart       NY    99      3
 27.  Keira Herzfeld     DE    08      2
 28.  Stephen Shedden    TN    07      2
 29.  Joe Doughan        NJ    05      2
 30.  Jim Jordan         MD    04      2
 31.  Frank CZawlytko    MD    01      2

2008 Laurelists                                             Repeating Laurelists:

Dale Long, NC

Rob Doane, MA

Tim Hitchings, DE

Katherine Hitchings, DE

Keira Herzfeld, DE

Past Winners

'91: Jim Truit, MA
'92-93: John Boisvert, NJ

William Rohrbeck, NH
1994, 2002-03, 2005-07

Larry York .CA

David Cross, VA
1996, 2000

David Metzger, NY

Michael Brannaman. SC

Paul Risner, FL

Curtis Dietrich, FL

Arthur Davis, MI

Evan Hitchings, DE

Nathan Peterson and Dale Long exchange broadsides.

A bit of father-son action as Tim and Evan Hitchings unfurl the sails.

luck over pluck ...

16 hearty sailors shoved off in the latest version of the Wooden Ships tournament.  Notice:  it's sailors, not seamen, as three of the crew were women.  That's the modern navy for you. The event's ranks also were noticeably younger than usual with at least half a dozen under the age of 30.

The most startling game of the event was the semi-final match between Evan Hitchings and his dad, GM Tim Hitchings.  This was Evan's first Wooden Ships and Iron Men tournament in eight years and the only one in which he played more than one match.  While most of his earlier games were against less experienced players, he proved his mettle against his dad, who first played the game six years before Evan was born.

The players met each other with two ships-of-the-line each, broadside for broadside, until Evan stealthily allowed one of his ships to drift into a raking position against one of his dad's sterns.  Not to be back-sided by his own son, Tim grappled and meleed, unwisely breaking off contact when he should have captured  Evan's ship for double points. 

The ensuing bombardment finished off Evan's ship.  However, several hundred yards away, Evan's other vessel did the same to Tim's remaining ship.  Due to the severe crew carnage Tim had suffered in the earlier melee, Evan took the match on points.

Evan's victory set up a grudge match in the Final against Dale "Dan" Long.  Dan had returned to the tournament from an impressive third place finish in 2007 as the man to beat.  In the preliminaries, Dan had handed Evan his only defeat.

In the Final, Evan and Dan opted to play a single ship sudden death face off rather than a more grueling squadron engagement.  The pair seemed evenly matched -- Evan, the precocious upstart, versus Dan, the solid veteran. 

The rivals went right to work, maneuvering their frigates into close quarters for effective gunnery.  Broadside answered broadside until Dan landed a critical hull hit, demoralizing Evan's crew from crack to average.  Such a blow should have been a portent of Evan's demise, as a weaker crew is unable to fire as effectively.  However, Evan persisted until he landed his own critical hit, setting Dan's ship afire.

Dan was forced to make the most crucial decision of the game -- does he fight the fire or gamble on gunnery?  If he assigned crew to fight the fire, the effectiveness of his gunnery would be diminished; if he didn't fight the fire, his ship would slowly burn to the waterline.

Dan chose to let the fire blaze away and gamble that his gunnery would finish off Evan before the fire took its fearsome toll. 

Evan was forced to maneuver his best to deny Dan the best fields of fire and to maximize his own.  As he did so, he continued to pour shot after shot into Dan's hull.  The ever-roaring fire on Dan's ship, aided by Dan's horrendous die rolls, enabled Evan to even the damage on the two ships.  When Evan finally finished off Dan's hull, Dan could have finished Evan off simultaneously -- if he could roll a 6 (How we all sympathize!).  The players (and the GM) were spared having to re-fight the action when Dan didn't make the roll he needed. 

It was agreed by Evan and the GM that Dan's gutsy decision to let his fire burn was the right one, despite the eventual result.  Huzzah to Dan for his pluck!  Huzzah to Evan for his luck!

 GM      Tim Hitchings  [7th Year]   330 Kemper Dr, Newark, DE 19702 
    hitchings@juno.com   302 836-3088

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