This brief synopsis is based upon articles by former CR 914 Class Secretary Chuck Winder that appeared in issue 121 of Model Yachting ("Fall, 2000") and issue 16 (Jan-Feb 1999) of CR 914 NEWS. The interested reader will find many more details in those original sources.
The idea behind the CR 914 originated in 1983 in Osaka, Japan when a “Super Mini America’s Cup Regatta” was held using 500 mm (about 19 ½ inch) models of the 12-Meter Class which were then still used for the America’s Cup. In 1986, the late Kazuo Takei, a naval architect in Osaka, designed a 36 inch boat based on the International America’s Cup Class yacht that had replaced the 12-Meter by then. This design evolved into the CR 914 of today. Osaka’s AG Ajikawa Corporation began to manufacture the first 914 kits shortly after that, and in 1990 the first ones were imported to the United States, where the Redmond, Washington division of AG Industries served as the distributor.
SECOND SUPER MINI AMERICA'S CUP
To help promote the CR 914, AG Industries sponsored another Super Mini America’s Cup Regatta during the trials before the 1992 America’s Cup Regatta in San Diego. Twenty-one international RC challengers, from England, Sweden, Germany, Japan, the Philippines and the United States entered the event, in which Graham Bantock from England defeated the defender, Canadian Bob Sterne.
AG INDUSTRIES AND WORTH MARINE
The new CR 914’s suggested retail price of $350.00 without electronics did not go over well in the hobby store market for which it was intended, and AGI-Redmond, which has been very successful marketing its Whitewings line of paper airplanes but had no experience with model boats, rather quickly lost interest in its CR 914 project. Fortunately, at about this same time Greg Worth in Marblehead, Massachusetts had begun to look for a boat that he could sell to people who did not want to spend what it cost to buy the high-tech Marblehead Class RC boat that his Worth Marine store sold.
Equally fortunately, at the same time (1992) Joel White from Marblehead was serving as a member of Bill Koch’s America Cubed syndicate that defended the America’s Cup in San Diego. White returned home to Marblehead with a CR 914 he purchased in San Diego (#23, which is still going strong and won the Region 1 Championship in 2005). When White took the boat to Greg Worth for some repairs. Worth realized that this might be the boat he was looking for, based on a marketing survey he had conducted: a high performance, inexpensive, one-design kit model that was easy to build and looked pretty.
The following year Worth made several design improvements, and Worth Marine started stocking the kit in the summer of 1993. Greg sold five 914s at a boat show that year and another 45 or 50 out of his shop in Marblehead. Then at Sail Expo in Atlantic City in 1994 he sold 25 more. He knew he had something good.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE PRESENT DAY CR 914
In 1994 AGI made Worth Marine the sole CR 914 distributor in the United States. Worth designed an upgrade package to correct a weakness in the hull and add several important improvements, rewrote the assembly instructions and added full electronics to the kit (“everything but sandpaper, paint, batteries and water”) and began to sell what is essentially today’s CR 914 kit later that year. The original price was $450, which held firm until increasing costs necessitated a $25 increase in the price 10 years later.
In 1998, marine architect, boat model and half-hull builder, and graphic artist Dave Ramos founded Chesapeake Performance Models in Stevensville, Maryland (just across the Bay from Annapolis) and became the U.S. distributor of the CR 914. Ramos further improved the assembly instructions and continued Worth’s policy of selling kits, building finished boats, and providing custom graphics at his shop in Maryland. As Worth did before him, Dave also emphasizes marketing the CR 914 to full-scale (“peopleboat”) sailors at boat shows all over the country, where sailors can try their hand at sailing and racing CR 914s in a breeze created by giant fans at the windward end of the Chesapeake Performance Models pool. In 2010 Chesapeake Performance Models purchased the rights and tooling from AG Industries and became the sole supplier and source for the CR 914 worldwide.
THE CR 914 CLASS ORGANIZATION
In 1994 Greg Worth and several other 914 owners including the first CR 914 Class Secretary, Budd Conner from West Southport, Maine, wrote the initial version of the class rules, which became effective August 24, 1994.
Shortly thereafter Conner became seriously ill, and Ralph Peter from Minneapolis handled the Secretary job for several months, setting up and running the first CR 914 Nationals in 1995. When Peter was unable to continue later that year, Conner again became Secretary until he appointed Chuck Winder from Marblehead to the office on October 1, 1996. Winder then served in that capacity for eight years, during which the class grew rapidly in size and stature thanks to Chuck’s effort and dedicated leadership, becoming recognized as one of the best in the American Model Yachting Association.
Chuck published the first issue of our unique class newsletter, as the CR 914 NEWS, in November, 1996, and over the next eight years he published 41 more issues before retiring in 2004. This was Chuck’s third most important contribution to the class, incidentally, albeit only slightly less valuable than his overall leadership in setting the tone for the intense but friendly and fair competition we 914ers enjoy, and his careful shepherding of the evolution of the CR 914 class one-design rules. Amendments to the rules were approved by class votes in 1997, 1998, and 2000, since when no further changes have been required. Of nearly equal importance have been Chuck’s wise interpretations of the rules, assisted by the class Advisory Committee which Chuck appointed in 1999 (these published interpretations are comparable in importance and force of law to Supreme Court rulings in the case of the U.S. Constitution). Chuck retired from his position as Class Secretary in 2004, but he remains a member of the Advisory Committee and now serves as Class Measurer, in which role he will continue to be the principle interpreter of the class rules as new questions about them arise.
In 2004 Dick Martin from Columbia, Missouri, a former full-scale dinghy and keelboat class national champion became class secretary, and in 2009 one of the pioneers of the class and a three-time winner of the Super Mini America's Cup (the Japanese equivalent of the U.S. CR 914 national championship), Rick Martin from Westport, Wisconsin took the helm.The current class secretary, David Graves from Bronxville, New York took office in September, 2011. Ernest Freeland became Class Secretary in 2013.
|Year||Location||Champion||Sail #||Home town|
|1995||Minneapolis, MN||Tony Johnson||#77||Excelsior, MN|
|1996||Stowe, VT||Greg Worth||#181||Marblehead, MA|
|1997||Xenia, OH||Kevin Dooley||#97||Marblehead, MA|
|1998||Marblehead, MA||Kevin Dooley||#97||Marblehead, MA|
|1999||Larchmont, NY||Dave Ramos||#238||Arnold, MD|
|2000||Annapolis, MD||David Van Cleef||#737||Annapolis, MD|
|2001||Evergreen, CO||Craig Mackey||#541||Seattle, WA|
|2002||Larchmont, NY||Geoff Becker||#1001||Annapolis, MD|
|2003||San Diego, CA||Geoff Becker||#1001||Annapolis, MD|
|2004||Annapolis, MD||David Van Cleef||#737||Annapolis, MD|
|2005||Marblehead, MA||Bob Twombly||#54||Marblehead, MA|
|2006||San Diego, CA||Chuck Luscomb||#661||Deep River, CT|
|2007||Deep River, CT||Dave Ramos||#238||Arnold, MD|
|2008||Marblehead, MA||Dave Ramos||#238||Arnold, MD|
|2009||San Diego, CA||Brian Jobson||#1386||Wolcott, CT|
|2010||Annapolis, MD||David Ryan||#973||San Diego,CA|
|2011||Pembroke Pines, FL||Dave Ramos||#238||Arnold, MD|
|2012||San Diego, CA||George Szabo||#1700||San Diego, CA|
|2013||Marblehead, MA||Alex Ramos||#1239||Arnold, MD|
|2014||Tulsa, OK||Dave Ramos||#238||Arnold, MD|
|2015||San Diego, CA||George Szabo||#1700||San Diego, CA|