60th Ancient Mariner Regatta: Goal Setting & Strategy Tips

The 60th Ancient Mariner Regatta will be held over Memorial Day Weekend on the USS Hornet in Alameda, California.

Sea Scouts from across California, Oregon and for the first time, Hawaii will compete for the honor of earning a Clipper. One Ship may go home with the Great Republic.

Goal Planning:

Determine your goals for the Regatta. Is it to earn a Clipper? Is it to come in First Place in a specific event? Is it to earn the Great Republic? Is your goal to compete in each event to be a Resolute Mariner?

After determining your goals, study the Regatta Events. What events do you need to learn? Which events can you practice? Which ones do you have equipment for practice? If you do not have the equipment, is there another Ship that has the equipment?

Regatta Events:

There are two types of competitive events at AMR: Ship events, which everyone must compete in, and Team events, which require a specific number of Sea Scouts.

The AMR Class Awards are determined on the following Scores from Ship & Team Events:

Ship Events

Ship events require the participation of all eligible Scouts including the Coxswain.

The Ship Events are: 1 Heaving Line; 2 Knots; 3 Quiz; 4 Ring Buoy;  5 Compass & Relative Bearings; and 6 Swimming.

Classes are assigned to each ship for its average ship Events score, as follows:

Clipper: 75% and above

Schooner: 60% -­‐   74%

Sloop: 50% -­‐   59%

Catboat: 30% -­‐   49%

Team Events

Team Events require a specific number of Scouts to compete in a particular Event.

The Team Events are: 1 Pulling Boat Race; 2 Flotilla Drill; 3 Hoisting the Scuttlebutt; 4 Marlinspike Seamanship; 5 Drill; 6 Bosun’s Chair; 7 Radio Communication; 8 Team Swimming; 9 Mystery Event; 10 Obstacle Course; 11 Breeches Buoy; 12 Sailing; 13 Rope Climb; 14 Piloting; 15 Team Knots; 16 First Aid; 17 Rules of the Road & Aids to Navigation; 18 International Code Flags; and 19 Semaphore.

Classes are assigned to each ship based on the total number of team events in which that ship scored satisfactory. The classes are as follows:

Clipper: 9 Satisfactory

Schooner: 7 Satisfactory

Sloop:  5 Satisfactory

Catboat: 3 Satisfactory

The Great Republic:

The Great Republic Award is awarded to the Ship attaining top honors at the Regatta. To qualify for the Great Republic, a Ship must complete all Required Events, qualify in all Ship and Team Events, receive an overall Clipper Class award and receive no demerits.

From all the Ships that qualify for the Great Republic, the top Ship will be selected by awarding points to each Ship based on that Ship’s place in each event. A Ship will receive one point for each first place, two points for each second place and so on.  The ship receiving the lowest point total will be awarded the Great Republic.  If no ship qualifies as outlined above, then the Great Republic will not be awarded that year.

The Great Republic Award is so named for the Clipper Ship Great Republic. Christened on October 4th, 1853 in Boston Massachusetts, the Great Republic holds the distinction of being the largest wooden clipper ship ever built.

Sea Scout Ship Challenger and the Great Republic.

Regatta Strategy Tips:

If you have never attended the Ancient Mariner Regatta before, here are tips for success:


Create a Regatta Practice Schedule for each of your weekly meetings. Communicate the schedule to all members of your Ship, so everyone knows what is happening at each meeting.

Ship Events have more scoring value than Team Events. Every member of your Ship must compete in the Ship Events. Knots, Quiz and Compass Points/Relative Bearings can be practiced at any meeting, regardless of the weather or time of day. Plan to practice Heaving Line and Ring Buoy at any weekend or outdoor meeting.


There are many events that take time and others known for long lines on Sunday. Be prepared and think very hard about your regatta strategy.

Drill is only on Saturday; Obstacle Course is on Saturday and only Sunday morning. Be aware of these time limitations in planning your competition schedule.

Many of the Regatta Team Events are for 4 or 6 person teams.  Consider having different crewmembers on different teams, so you can maximize your ability to complete all 25-regatta events by dividing and competing in more than one event at a time.

For example, half of the crew can do Code Flags while the other half does Semaphore. One team can go compete in Piloting while the other goes to Radio.

Here are a few events that are known for long lines on Sunday:



International Code Flags




Since these events generally are slow on Saturday, consider completing them on Saturday before there is a rush on Sunday.

Swimming, Team Swimming and Ring Buoy are all off the USS Hornet at the pool. Finishing all three can take time and crews must watch their schedule. The Whaleboat events also can take significant time.

If you have a small crew, focus your practice on every Ship Event and the Team Events that match the size of your crew. There are six Team Events requiring a team of four Sea Scouts and another six Team Events requiring a team of six. It is possible for a crew of six Sea Scouts to qualify with an average score of 75% in Ship Events and 9 Team Events to earn a Clipper.

With that said, do not stop recruiting efforts. Try to recruit new Sea Scouts, so your Ship can compete in all of the Regatta Events.

The Ancient Mariner Regatta is about endurance and strategy. Last year, over half the Ships completed all of the Regatta events to earn Resolute Mariner. Five Ships were only one qualifying event away from earning the Great Republic. Three of the five were only a few points away. Two of the five could have earned the Great Republic if they had protested an event that was run incorrectly (an error that has now been corrected).

Even if you have never attended the Ancient Mariner Regatta before, you can complete and qualify in enough events to earn one of the higher Class Awards. Study the events, practice with dedication and be positive.

There are many ways to practice and prepare for the Ancient Mariner Regatta. These are just a few strategies. The important thing to remember is to set your goals; plan how you will achieve your goals; practice; and do your best.

Good luck and see you on the USS Hornet.


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