To many, the Virginia Tidewater is a relaxed---and relaxing---place where life moves at a slightly slower pace and history and water are all around. But in an unused commercial space off the main street in Urbanna, VA., an ambitious group of people are working on a project involving speed and competition as they hustle to complete seven new Cocktail Class Racers on a deadline.

The Urbanna Creek Cocktail Class Racing Association's big build began in earnest in late January, with six boats laid up the first weekend and the seventh a week behind. "In the shop space we have, that's about the limit," says Chris Riddick, one of the nascent fleet's sparkplugs. With signs posted in the windows describing what's going on within and an active Facebook page, the project's been drawing a lot of attention locally. "People have been coming in and asking questions," Chris says.

Their goal is to have as many of the boats as possible ready to race in the club's first invitational regatta in Urbanna on May 18. "We're expecting at least 30 boats to come in for the regatta," Chris says. "It's a great way to promote our club, and to promote the town."

Even with ongoing help from Cocktail Class veteran builder Lee Edmonds, who has been making the trek south to the Tidewater each weekend to assist, Chris admits that the timetable is ambitious. He thinks it's not unrealistic, however, though he says he expects that one or two of the seven boats under construction now may not be completely ready in time. The Urbanna boatbuilders have been putting in evening hours as well as full days each weekend on their projects, as a team and individually. Chris says that despite the fact that they're all pretty competitive folks, there's a lot of cooperation going on, too. "If there are still a couple of boats that aren't finished [by the start of the regatta], we'll just use each other's boats," he said.

"My goal is to have my boat ready for painting and varnish by the end of the month, and ready for rigging by the end of March," says Chris. "After that, there's still a lot to do to get it really ready to race, but I think we'll make it."


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