About the WH-15 Fleet

The WH-15 Fleet holds races Wednesday and Saturdays during the season. Saturday races typically have 13 to 16 boats on the line, and Wednesday evening races usually attract six to 10. 

Our fleet consists of 25 fiberglass boats in total, the mainstay of our racing program still intact, one hundred years after the original design. Two of the 1922-23 880-class fleet sailing from Watch Hill, and they are joined by a third 880 class from Noank for our holiday races. Nine of the original 880-class survive including, of course, HMC 880, Josephine, aka Firefly.


In September 1922, 11 members of the Watch Hill Yacht Club commissioned Nathaniel Herreshoff to design and build a fleet of small sloops well-suited for sailing and racing on Little Narragansett Bay and Fishers Island Sound. Herreshoff Manufacturing Company (HMCo.) made minor modifications to the 1898 Buzzards Bay 15 hull design and converted the rig from gaff to marconi. The prototype, HMCo. #880, named Josephine, was launched and trial sailed in December 1922. Following the trial sail, the mast was shortened three feet and the remaining 10 boats were built for delivery in the spring of 1923.

HMCo. #880, having changed names at five times, sailed in the Watch Hill Yacht Club fleet until 1993. It is believed that HMCo. #880 which, was hull number one, received sail number three in 1923 when the 11 owners drew lots for their new boats. In 1968, HMCo. #880 was loaned by her then-owner, David M. Pugh, to create the mold for a fleet of fiberglass sloops that would be built to replenish the aging, diminished Watch Hill Herreshoff fleet. The first of the fiberglass boats was launched in 1969 and the fleet had grown to twenty-five by 1994.

When Firefly's co-owner and skipper, Herman G. Muenchinger died, his co-owner and brother Charlton G. Muenchinger along with son Charles G. Muenchinger, donated Firefly to the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, RI. Funds for Firefly's restoration were provided by James M. (Ding) Schoonmaker. The restoration was completed in June 1997 and Firefly was accepted into the Herreshoff Marine Museum’s collection by Nathaniel Herreshoff's grandson, Halsey C. Herreshoff, at a special ceremony at the Watch Hill Yacht Club on July 5, 1997.

If you are interested in sailing or owning a WH15, email Fleet Captain Peter Evans.