Martin 242 – One Design in the Pacific Northwest

SinC Martin 242 Fleet Profile

April 19, 2023

The small but mighty Martin 242 Fleet was 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 8th to 12th Overall in the 2022 Round Bowen Island Race with well over 100 registrants, all on one start. This continued a pattern of dominance for the past 5 or so events in 2023.

The Martin 242 class is the largest One Design racing keelboat class in the Pacific Northwest at 90 boats, with another 25 boats nearby in Los Angeles. The class motto is: “Fun, Fast, Social, and Affordable Racing: One Design Sailing at Its Best!” Thirty active volunteers in the Pacific Northwest Region help keep everything running smoothly.

The regional Martin 242 Class has top racers in Canada and the USA including past National Sailing Team members, National and North American champions in various classes, and top PHRF competitors. Some of the top current and past M242 racers in the region include:

  • Michael Clements: 4-time North American Champion and 4-time RVYC One Design Boat of the Year, who in other Classes won numerous Canadian Championships and was on the National Sailing Team for 10 years in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s racing Lasers and Stars
  • Alex Fox: accomplished sailor and writer, 2-time North American Champion, winner of the Canadian Championships, and manager of Trotac Marine in Victoria
  • Matt & Marina Alexander, racing with Rob Cullen, who won the M242 NA’s 4 times (once with Michael Clements on board as Tactician)
  • Todd Pearce: 3-time North American Champion, plus twice racing with Steve Hunter
  • Phil Cragg (2-time North American Champion) racing with Reto Corfu: 2nd in the 2022 North Americans and 3-time RVYC One Design Season Champion and Boat of the Year; this team have also enjoyed great success locally and internationally in the International 505 class
  • Other 2-time NA’s winners such as: Steve Kinsey; Randy Vogel & Ben Mumford; and Dave Higgs & Ross MacDonald

And let’s not forget Don Martin, designer and builder, who won the North Americans 7 times. Time will tell if his record stands, but it’s early days yet.

The biggest and best competitive keelboat racing in the Pacific Northwest region is in the Martin 242 class.  We have about 100 races per year, ranging from local Wednesday and Thursday night racing to regional and international regattas. We regularly see 15 or more boats on the start line for Wednesday night races in Vancouver, and about 6-7 on Orcas Island and 4-5 in Victoria. Regional weekend regattas can draw anywhere from 10-25 boats. There are lots of fun social events and seminars throughout the year, which make the M242 Class the most fun and competitive fleet in the region.

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It’s also one of the most enjoyable boats to sail on the market today and is extremely competitive against all types of PHRF boats in almost all conditions. This has been proven time and time again at the Round Bowen race, despite two recent PHRF rating reductions, where M242s regularly sweep most of the top-10 spots. The boats are quick, manoeuvrable, easily sailed by 2 and raced by 3-4.

The oldest boats in the fleet are still just as competitive as the newer boats! Examples include hull #’s 2, 5, 8, 11, 13, and 23, to name a few, all of which are about 40+ years old and still winning races. Very few One Design classes can say the same about their oldest boats – most are completely non-competitive.

M242 owners enjoy very cost-effective racing:

  • Class restriction on purchases of no more than 2 new sails per year; with most crews needing 1 sail or less per year to be competitive
  • Relatively maintenance-free
  • Economical deck, navigation, and rigging systems.

Most M242s can undertake a racing program for less than $5,000 per year including moorage, insurance, entry fees, sails, and repairs: a very affordable figure. In contrast, some larger race boats in Metro Vancouver and elsewhere can spend many times that amount on just one sail.

As an international boat, the Class has active racing Fleets in: Alberta (Sylvan Lake), BC (Vancouver, Nanaimo & Comox, Victoria, the Gulf Islands, Kootenay Lake Region), Ontario (various locations), Washington State (Orcas Island, Bellingham, Anacortes, Gig Harbor), Oregon (Portland & Hood River), California (Los Angeles – Marina del Rey & King Harbor Yacht Club), and southern Japan, which gives members the opportunity to compete in many other locations. Washington State, Vancouver Island, and the Kootenay Lake Region are the current higher-growth areas in the Pacific Northwest. With the low barrier to entry and competitive racing, the class also acts as a feeder class in the PNW region for some of larger international classes.

The two regional fleets (Fleets 1 and 2) also invest in shared resources that all members can enjoy: 3 digital scales (Vancouver, Victoria, Orcas Island), 5 spare masts, 3 spare spinnaker poles, 5 sets of measuring tools, a speaker system for social events, a fleet torque wrench for keelbolts, and other spare equipment.

In the past 6 ¼ years we’ve had 62 boats change hands in the Pacific Northwest, as more top-notch competitive racers in BC and Washington State have joined the class and activated some underutilized boats:

  • Bob Britten – Thunderbird World Champion, 1999 and 2nd in 2007; Melges24 Corinthian World Champion (2018); North American M242 Champion (Tactician, 1998 & 2016); Canadian Champion in Fireballs (1980 & 1981), Thunderbirds (2000), Laser Masters (2017), Melges24 Corinthians (2018); Star District 6 Championships 2nd (2006), etc.
  • Phil Leitch – Former owner Leitch & McBride Sails; North American Champion in Fireballs (1977)
  • Peter Grimm – Current DragonForce 65 Canadian Champion
  • Tim Knight – Former owner, UK Sails Victoria
  • Gord Galbraith – 6th Overall and 3rd Corinthian Melges 24 North Americans (2017); 5th Corinthian Melges 24 Worlds (2018); 3rd Star District 6 Championships (2010); 1st Whidbey IRW Melges 24 Class (2011)

The next Canadian Championships will be held in 2023 at the Cowichan Bay Regatta in early August, which is also the site of the 2024 North American Championships, so come and join the class and participate in the fun and top-level racing. Check out our regional website at www.m242fleetone.org or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Martin242FleetOneFleetTwo.

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