wooden ships & iron men

Updated Nov. 16, 2015

2015 WBC Report

2016 Status: pending 2016 GM commitment

Jeff Miller, PA

2015 Champion

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
2009 Derek Whipple 19
2010 Tim Hitchings 25
2011 George Deutsch 20
2012 Dale Long 22
2013 Ron Glass 27
2014 Ron Glass 37
2015 Jeff Miller 36

Laurels

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  William Rohrbeck   NH    07    116
  2.  Tim Hitchings      DE    15    111
  3.  Ron Glass          FL    15     74
  4.  Jeff Miller        PA    15     60
  5.  Evan Hitchings     DE    12     60
  6.  Keith Hunsinger    OH    07     50
  7.  Dale Long          NJ    13     44
  8.  Arthur Davis       MI    04     41
  9.  George Deutsch     MD    11     31
 10.  Derek Whipple      WA    10     28
 11.  Paul Owen          VA    13     26
 12.  Nicholas Chepaitis PA    15     24
 13.  Larry York         CA    02     20
 14.  Curtis Dietrich    FL    01     20
 15.  David Cross        NJ    06     18
 16.  Brian Stuck        FL    14     12
 17.  Wade Fowble        MD    03     12
 18.  Robert McKinney    VA    14     11
 19.  Joseph Belyeu      AL    11     10
 20.  Rob Doane          MA    08     10
 21.  Paul Risner        FL    99     10
 22.  Rod Coffey         MD    15      9
 23.  Benoit Groulx      qc    04      9
 24.  Mark McCandless    LA    03      9
 25.  Stephen Field      IL    02      9
 26.  Bill Thomson       TX    10      8
 27.  Malcolm Smith      VA    14      9
 28.  Bill Place         PA    12      6
 29.  Isaac Clizbe       VA    10      6
 30.  Joe Pabis          VA    05      6
 31.  Kevin Boles        AL    04      6
 32.  Ed Majeski         IL    02      6
 33.  Mark Sciera        NY    09      4
 34.  Kathy Hitchings    DE    08      4
 35.  Verity Hitchings   DE    05      4
 36.  Alexander Slate    MD    15      3
 37.  Michael Bergt      FL    03      3
 38.  Joseph Abrams      CT    00      3
 39.  Stuart Smart       NY    99      3
 40.  Brian Wool         DE    09      2
 41.  Keira Herzfeld     DE    08      2
 42.  Stephen Shedden    TN    07      2
 43.  Joe Doughan        NJ    05      2
 44.  Jim Jordan         MD    04      2
 45.  Francis Czawlytko  MD    01      2
2015 Laurelists Returning Laurelists: 3

Nicholas Chepaitis, PA
2nd

Ron Glass, FL
3rd

Rod Coffey, MD
4th

Tim Hitchings, DE
5th

Alexander Slate, MD
6th

Past Winners

William Rohrbeck, NH
'94, '02-03, '05-07

Larry York, CA
1995

David Cross, VA
1996, 2000

David Metzger, NY
1997

Michael Brannaman. SC
1998

Paul Risner, FL
1999

Curtis Dietrich, FL
2001

Arthur Davis, MI
2004

Evan Hitchings, DE
2008

Derek Whipple, WA
2009

Tim Hitchings, DE
2010

George Deutsch, MD
2011

Dale Long, NJ
2012

Ron Glass, FL
2013-14

Jeff Miller, PA
2015

That's a lot of boats on the pond this morning.

The WSM Fleet Action is unqiue to say the least.

Nicholas Chepaitis bests Rod Coffey in the semifinals.

GM Tim Hitchings oversees his finalists.

The Third Trip Was Charming ...

2014’s dramatic attendance increase proved to be no fluke, with 36 returning this year, only one off the 2014 record field. Together, they logged 60 games. A free form format allows players to play off and on all week, making participation in other events convenient. Players who aren’t able to spend maximum hours with Wooden Ships aren’t penalized by players who do, as only a player’s best three matches count for tournament advancement, although bonus points can also be earned by defeating players with good records. Players start with single ship matches. Upon winning one, they may advance to two-ship matches for a chance to qualify for three-ship matches. Each level earns players more tournament points.

This year, in addition to scenarios in which each player has the same ship(s), historical scenarios were added, providing some asymmetry to some matches. The historicals included French vs. British single ship pairings, one with ships of the line and one with frigates, a British vs. Dutch match with two frigates per side, and a British vs. French battle with three French SOLs against two British SOLs and a frigate. As always, metal miniature ships provided a look of authenticity. This year, gun hit location dice and miniature marines were introduced as player aids.

One of the earliest matches of the week pitted 2014 finalists Jeff Miller as the Russian vs Ron Glass as the Turks. At the start, they joked about shaking hands, calling it a draw and going for a drink. At the end, it was a draw; they could have saved two and a half hours!

Alex Slate set some sort of record for close matches during the tournament. He earned a draw with Nick Chepaitis, each player scoring 19 damage points. He edged Andy Davison 44 to 42 and tied Jeff Miller when both players’ ships struck simultaneously!

Saturday’s annual Fleet Action featured a showdown inspired by the 1756 Battle of Minorca between the French battle fleet covering their invasion and a scratch British fleet attempting to reinforce Fort St. Philip at Port Mahon. After the traditional issuance of ship’s biscuit, six players began the battle with two more sailing on as reinforcements

Admiral Jeff Miller deployed the French fleet a petit bit too close to the map edge. Unlike the cautious British in the actual battle, this allowed the British to plow into the French line, led by their fireship, ably guided by Admiral Nick Chepaitis. The flaming vessel fouled Jeff’s flagship, the Foudroyant. Jeff was not about to surrender. Instead of trying to disengage, he boarded the fireship with crew from both the Foudroyant and the Lion, intending to fight the fire. It didn’t turn out that way. Before they could douse the flames, the fireship exploded, sending hundreds of men into the air for a fabulous view of the Mediterranean. Alex Slate entertained the willing and the unwilling with his tortured French accent, all the while ably maneuvering his ships and blasting British opponents.

Not to be outdone, Nick Chepaitis’ Ramillies and Kingston engaged ships commanded by GM Tim Hitchings. There was a rumor that one of the players in the Fleet Action fell asleep during a combat phase. However, as the GM did not see this occur, the rumor remains unconfirmed. The best captain awards went to Alex Slate for the French and Nick Chepaitis for the British.

While the identity of the final four was clear by Saturday morning, the Fleet Action results determined the pairings, with Nick Chepaitis entering the semifinals with a tournament point total of 103.

The semifinals offered each player a choice of two American elite 44 gun frigates, three British crack 38 gun frigates, or four French frigates, three 40s and a 38, average for gunnery but crack for offensive boarding parties. The most anticipated match was between Ron Glass and Jeff Miller. Ron and Jeff had faced each other in the finals the previous two years, with Ron emerging with the title twice. This time, Jeff made good use of the Yanks’ superior firepower to outfight the greater number of Ron’s Brits, denying Ron the hat trick.

The other bracket paired Nick Chepaitis and Rod Coffey, each in his first playoff appearance. Both players chose the British squadron. While Rod fought well, Nick took advantage of a favorable wind change and waterline damage to advance.

All semifinalists were awarded two miniature ships in recognition of their performance. A new set of ship selections was offered for the Final, with squadrons of British, French, Russians, and Dutch available. Unbeknownst to each other, both Nick and Jeff chose the Dutch squadron of a 76, and 74 and two 68 gun ships of the line, all with crack crews.

Ships were deployed by secret hex designation, allowing for a more varied opening. Surprisingly, these two skillful sailors smashed into each other early in the match and slugged it out for three hours. His third trip to the Final proved the charm for Jeff, as he prevailed by defeating two of Nick’s ships to one of his, unlike recent years which were decided on damage points.

Nick was the youngest finalist in the history of the tournament - a force to be reckoned with in years to come. Jeff played 14 games during the week: 11 wins, one draw, and two losses (including his curious performance in the Fleet Action). While only his three best matches counted for tournament points, the extra experience paid off in skill and good times.

Interested parties may request a copy of the scenarios, tournament rules, and the Naval Gazette newsletter by emailing GM Tim Hitchings at hitchings@juno.com.

GM Tim Hitchings [14th Year] 330 Kemper Dr, Newark, DE 19702
hitchings@juno.com 302-593-4404

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