wooden ships & iron men [Updated October 2002]

WSM   3 prizes Swiss Cont Heats 
 Rnd1 Heat1 18-22   
     Rnd1 Heat2 9-22
  Rnd1 Heat3 9-16 

  Rnd1 Heat1 Salon CD   Rnd1 Heat2  Rnd1 Heat3  Belmont

William Rohrbeck, NH

2002 Champion

2nd: Tim Hitchings, DE

3rd: Larry York, CA

4th: Stephen Field, IL

5th: Ed Majeski,

6th: Arthur Davis,

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

AREA Ratings

GM: William Rohrbeck

Past Winners

1991: Jim Truit - MA
1992-1993: John Boisvert, NJ

William Rohrbeck - NH

Larry York - CA

David Cross - VA
1996, 2000

David Metzger - VA

Michael Brannaman - SC

Paul Risner - FL

Curtis Dietrich - FL

sailing, sailing ...

This year's call from the Admiralty for ship captains brought 23 eager to inherit the mantle from Lord Nelson. Once outfitted with ship(s) and crew they took to the high seas to see who among them would best the enemy and the sea. The user-friendly format from previous years was continued allowing players to choose between shorter single ship actions or longer multiple ship actions. Players could play as little or as much as they wanted receiving points for the matches with the top two point getters meeting in the finals. New this year was the use of miniatures for all matches. Bill Rohrbeck bested the field winning the wood in a tense, if short, 100 point DYO final match with Tim Hitchings. His fleet of three crack French 80's proved up to the task against Tim's fleet consisting of a French 110 and two 74's. Revised Tournament Edition rules were again used cleaning up the 2nd Edition Rules as well as adding a different flavor.

Again, the high point of the tournament was the Fleet Action on Saturday using actual miniatures. Each player controlled a squadron of 2-4 ships. This year's action was based on a 1794 land/sea action between the English and the French/Spanish in the Caribbean. The English had embarked on a campaign of seizing the rich islands in the Caribbean from the French to help finance the ongoing war effort. The scenario opens with the English having landed troops on Grand Terre in the hopes of capturing Fort Fleur d'Epee. With her troops marching overland, England's escorting frigates are in position to fire on the fort in the hopes of reducing it and hence pave the way for the invasion force. Unknown to the British is the offboard arrival of a French/Spanish relief force. Thus the race is on, can the English reduce and capture the fort before the French/Spanish relief force can drive off the English fleet of frigates? And can the French/Spanish forces achieve their mission before the English reinforcement fleet's arrival? Under the command of Vice Admiral Larry York, the French/Spanish relief force entered with the plan of moving as quickly as possible against the British frigates at anchorage against the fort before the arrival of the British reinforcements. Quickly dispatching the frigates will allow the fleet to turn against the new threat posed by the British reinforcement fleet. The British under the command of Vice Admiral Stephen Fields had different ideas. The frigates would sail in line past the fort, yielding to the oncoming French/Spanish as necessary but maintaining fire on the fort to create a breach while their troops marched overland. The hope was this could be accomplished without taking too much damage before the arrival of the main British fleet. The plans for both fleets unfolded according to Hoyle, the French/Spanish moving with all speed to tackle the frigates and the frigates attempting to reduce the fort while staying out of range ofthe fleet now bearing down on them.

Of course, no plans ever survive contact with the enemy and these were no different. The British frigates simply proved unable to accomplish the task assigned to them. They were never able to reduce the fort and secure its capture. Much of this can be attributed to the pressure applied by the lead elements of the French/Spanish fleet. Of course, the French/Spanish were having problems of their own. The random arrival of the British reinforcement fleet came sooner rather than later. Further, the British frigates were proving more difficult to dispatch than hoped. Thus they were faced with the arrival of the British main fleet while still heavily engaged with the frigates. Never known for their sailing ability, the French/Spanish quickly proved why by having several ships collide and foul while attempting to maneuver into position to take on the British main fleet just arriving onboard. This created a gap between the elements of the French/Spanish forces directly engaged with the frigates and the main body moving up and now blocked by the fouled ships. The British, never shy at taking advantage of an enemy's misfortunes had their reinforcement fleet sailing for that gap, hoping to split the French/Spanish line. They never got there. First, the on-shore wind the British were enjoying as they sped towards the gap, turned and became an offshore wind, hampering their efforts to split the line as their movement slowed to a crawl. And second, a French 80 commanded by Bill Rohrbeck moved and anchored itself in the path of the on charging British. This sacrifice both bought the French/Spanish time and gave Bill Rohrbeck a ticket to the finals. To add insult to injury, the 80 exploded, causing even more damage than it had already caused to both British ships and egos. With no chance to capture the fort and now no chance to split the French/Spanish line, the battle became a slugfest as the two main bodies came to bear on each other. As time ran out, the French/Spanish emerged as the victors on the strength of sinking two frigates and a Portuguese 84 against the loss of the 80.

 GM      William Rohrbeck  [8th Year]   17 Mill St, Goffstown, NH 03045
    beck33@juno.com   NA

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