A brief history...
In the early 1930s, a committee formed by Hampton Yacht Club members sought to find or create a small, nimble sloop that would successfully race and navigate the shallow waters of the Chesapeake Bay. The winning design was created by a local Hampton builder, Vincent Serio. "Pappy" Serio built some 500 Hamptons, beginning with HOD 1 in 1934. She cost $325. Racing started among the HODs in 1935 and in 1938, the Hampton One Design Class Racing Association was formed. By that time, over 70 HODs actively raced. Popularity of the little sloop grew and soon HODs were found at regattas all up and down the Chesapeake.
Over time, the class modified its rules to permit a crew trapeze, a flexible aluminum mast, and fiberglass construction. The fiberglass HOD was pioneered by BOW marine in the 1960s, leading to a fleet of self-bailing, low maintenance competitors. Although interest in one-design racing slowed in the 70s and early 80s, the class enjoyed a renaissance, beginning in the early 90s, which continues today. Old boats are being rebuilt and the molds for the fiberglass HOD have been purchased from BOW marine
and transferred to a new builder, Mathews Brothers of St. Michaels, Maryland, who have crafted many recent class champions. These new boats have been rigged by Eddie Williams, one of the original owners of BOW marine and a past champion himself.
There has also been a rebirth of the wooden Hampton, pioneered by Latane Montague, who brought the design to master boat builder David Judson. It worked out well for Latane, who won the 75th national championship in 727, a beautiful plywood boat.
The Hampton Class has been active on the Chesapeake for over 75 years. It boasts a rich tradition of both spirited competition and lifelong friendships. It is a testament to the wonderful design of the Hampton and to good management by the class's leadership that older boats compete successfully with their wooden and fiberglass sisters and that sailors return season after season to test their racing skills. There is a very active racing schedule on both the upper and lower Chesapeake Bay and large, growing fleets in Hampton & Norfolk, Virginia, as well as Washington, D.C.