The Nickerson Trophy
by Caroline Zuber
A magnificent silver two handled trophy mounted on a wood base, this trophy was donated by Leon Nickerson, who served as race committee chairman of the first regatta in 1961. The first recipient in 1971 was Bruce White aboard his dad's sloop #59, Sarah Meade, named for his sister. The Race Committee originally awarded the trophy to the "youngest skipper" aboard a "winning" sloop. The recipient had to actually be in command during at least one race in which the sloop finished "in the money". This tradition continued for most of 20 years.
Because Friendship Sloops seem to stay in the same family for many years, and the birth rate of sloop owners with eligible family members was in a decline, the rules were changed in the early 1990's to the "youngest crew member aboard a racing sloop", with a year's warning given to those present at the regatta to plan any family expansion accordingly. In creating the list of winners and sloops, the "family" aspect of membership in the Friendship Sloop Society becomes apparent. Tannis holds the record for the number of times either a youngest skipper or youngest crew member was aboard.
In 1999, the first "next generation" winner was Ben Zuber, at the winning age of 6 weeks. His uncle, Bob Zuber, was a two-time winner as the youngest skipper in 1980 and 1982, while he was still a teenager. Ben was not awarded the trophy at the awards banquet in Rockland, as the previous year's winner had forgotten to bring it back. Thatcher Carter's dad personally delivered the trophy to Ben's dad, Andy Zuber, the next week. He caused quite a stir when he strode into Andy's office bearing the trophy.