March / April 2021

The Cat Men of Quincy

The rise and decline of the D class
D Class

The popularity of the D Class is evident at the start of this race at Marblehead on August 15, 1908. Inset—D-Class champions received a variety of cups, trophies, and medals. This rare example was presented to Wallace W. Arnold, skipper of DOLLY III for his 1910 championship performance.

"Have a seat young man,” the old-timer said. “You’re here about the catboats we sailed years ago?”

“Yes,” I answered. “I never thought I’d be lucky enough to meet a man who knew them, even in Quincy, Massachusetts, which seemed to be the heart of it all.”

“Ah, well,” he nodded. “Those were some days. All gone now.”

Hanging on the walls were big, framed photographs that the old-timer had taken 60 years earlier of Boston’s T Wharf crowded with fishing schooners, of local one-designs, and, of course, catboats. C. Willis Garey still had a sharp memory when we met in 1981 and he was 88. He could well recall boats he had known, and their dimensions and features, with no problem at all. After a while, when I had wearied him with questions and prepared to leave, he said, “Hang on a minute.”

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