Building a Holder 20 Fleet
This is a very difficult task. Unfortunately, there are only a limited number of these unique little boats so building fleet is problematic. While I enjoy one design racing the most I have resigned myself that if I want to race most of it will be PHRF racing. We have a bunch of holder 20’s in the upper mid-west but that was not always the case. I believe I brought the first one to Minnesota in late 84. There was a Minnesota dealer who brought in boat 222 in '85 but the owner lived in North Dakota.
When I brought my Holder to Minnesota I began racing it against J-24s, Lindenberg 22 and 26s, S-2 6.9s and 7.9s, Capri 25s and a couple of other quicker boats. The Holder was very competitive and noticed. Being a little boat no one thought we would be up front in the races. My friend and former competitor, Rod, decided to get one so now we were two. This led us to finding and buying a couple of other Holder 20s and bringing them to Minnesota. Through these efforts and others seeing the boats at regattas our numbers increased. We traveled to Wisconsin and found other Holder 20s to race against. I recently sold my original Holder #172 and bought #222 the only boat sold in Minnesota.
Our strategy seemed to work as we have over a dozen Holder 20s in Minnesota and a number in Wisconsin. Well, it has sort of worked. We have boats here but getting five together for a days racing would be wildly successful. We still need to get boats to the start line and I am unsure exactly how to do this. A nearby sailing club has a huge fleet of Capri 25s, the largest fleet in the country. I was never particularly impressed with the Capri 25 as the Holder 20 routinely beats them boat for boat. Back to the point! It has been the social component that built that Capri 25 fleet. Unlike other fleets that race there and go home at the end of the day the Capri 25 sailors socialized together. Seems like I am getting a firm grasp of the obvious, yes, having a social component to fleet building is important.
The title of this article should have ended with a question mark. If I knew how to build a Holder 20 fleet I would be sailing in one. I know that:
1. Going to races and giving the boat exposure leads to other getting into the boat. Now a couple of Holder 20 owners can travel together to events with the hope of growing the class.
2. Having boats in an area does not mean an active group. Boats in the area and boats at a start line are different.
3. Having fun with an active social group of Holder 20 sailors really matters.
When promoting the Holder it is important to include:
1. Bang for the Buck as one of the first sport boats it is a bargain.
2. It is portable. I pulled one over the Rockies with a Camry and it’s not expensive to tow.
3. It handles like a dinghy (responsive) and still extremely stable.
Makes me wonder why everyone is not out racing a Holder 20.
Let’s build the fleet and have some fun!