A few years after Herreshoff created his design, Henry Day, and Commodore Dowse of the Wianno Yacht Club (established as an official racing club by Massachusetts in 1901) met to discuss this new concept of a one-design for their members. In the fall of 1913, these gentlemen approached H. Manley Crosby, owner of Crosby Yacht Building & Storage Company, one of six Crosby yards lining the North Bay of Osterville at that time, to come up with a one-design suitable for their needs. H. Manley used his inherited talent, skill and experience to design a 25’ gaff-rigged, self-bailing sailboat with smooth topsides; a freeboard that was higher than the average design of that time; a long end, a round-front cabin trunk; and carrying a keel/centerboard. During that first winter, fourteen boats were built, including one for H. Manley, and all were sold to the Wianno Yacht Club racing crowd for $600 each.
The boat was originally referred to as the “Crosby 17-1/2” or the “Class P”. The name “Wianno Senior” did not come about until 1922 with the introduction of the “Wianno Junior” as a training boat for the younger sailors in the fleet. In the sport of sailboat racing, the summer residents of Wianno saw that it was the perfect venue for their children, both sons and daughters, to learn to “play fair”; to navigate, so to speak, the lessons and challenges of life such as, respect, manners, responsibility, etc. So began the century-long institution of generations of a family sailing their “Senior”, passing it on to the son and daughter, who pass it on to theirs…upgrading through refits or replacement of hulls and/or rigs along the way.
A record book belonging to the Edgartown Yacht Club disclosed that in the early 1930’s that the Wianno Senior had extended its reach in Nantucket Sound to include Vineyard Haven, Bass River, Hyannis Port, Quisset, Woods Hole and Edgartown.
In 1946, with more than 100 boats populating Nantucket Sound, organization and standardization deemed prudent and the Wianno Senior Class Committee was formed *(see the Wianno Senior Class Association below) . This group of a broad spectrum of 15 Senior enthusiasts prepared class rules and, in collaboration with Crosby Yacht Building and Storage Co, set out the construction specifics. Now, more than ever, success on the race course was the result of the preparation by, and the ability of, the skipper and crew.