Saturday's Hospice Cup Race featured a brisk breeze of 15 to 18 knots and better and 86 boats starting in seven Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association-sanctioned handicap classes.
That made the ninth annual event "probably one of the best Hospice Cup Races we've ever held," said Howard Kluttz, chairman of the Shearwater Sailing Club's Race Committee, host of the program. "We had strong winds and a very challenging race."
The event also had 10 teams on the line in the new non-sanctioned Hospice Class for cruising sailors.
The Hospice Cup Races are becoming increasingly popular with racing sailors, who have the chance to enjoy their sport while working for a worthwhile cause. The event traditionally features an impressive spectator fleet of luxury yachts -- which provide first-class accommodations and ring-side seats for race sponsors and their guests -- and a gala dinner and awards party following the race at "Summerwind," the Crab Creek waterfront home of Jim and Shirley Foote.
The non-profit event raised money to help provide quality care for the terminally ill and their families through six hospice programs. Proceeds will benefit Arundel Hospice, Hospice of Anne Arundel Medical Center, Calvert Hospice, Hospice Care of the District of Columbia, Montgomery County Hospice Society and Hospice of Northern Virginia.
Contributions this year are "still dribbling in," but are expected to reach at least $200,000, said Jean Kluttz, who assisted her husband in organizing the race.
The sanctioned classes sailed on a 13.5-mile six-legged Olympic triangle course spanning the bay around drop marks and starting about a quarter-mile from the north end of the Measured Mile off Kent Island. The Hospice Class sailors completed a separate, nearly 10-mile circuit around government marks, which took them up to C "1" off Hackett's Point and back.
The John Parker Hills Memorial Trophy for best overall performance in PHRF went to Eastport Yacht Club members John and Karen Yeigh on Fast Track. They took the gun in their 15-boat PHRF-B class over Ron Peterson on his J/30 Valkyrie. Their corrected-time margin of victory over Peterson proved to be the closest posted between first- and second-placers in the division.
The new trophy, a full model of a Beetle Cat with a mounted half-model as a keeper, was particularly meaningful to John Yeigh, who began his sailing career as a child in his grandfather's Beetle Cat. Similarly, the prestigious Van Metre Running Tide Trophy for best overall in IMS went to Annapolis sailor David Dodge on his new Tripp 36 Privateer, who beat Mack Latz on his Express 34 The Knife in IMS II by two minutes 41 seconds. Dodge also was the first in his class to cross the finish line.
With the strong breeze and no light-air holes to slow them, the biggest boats with the smallest handicaps did well in both divisions, posting the most dramatically superior corrected times in each as well as speeding around the course substantially ahead of their nearest competition.
In PHRF-A, the St. Mary's College team aboard their 51-foot Intuition took the gun more than 17 minutes ahead of Will Keyworth's second-place finish on his J/35 Moonbeam. St Mary's held its advantage after correction by more than six minutes; Keyworth bested what amounted to a one-design class of J/35s, making up the rest of the top half of the class.
In IMS I, Jack King and his newly-revamped Frers 62 Merrythought was in 16 minutes ahead of Jim Allsopp on his Holland 51 Ichiban, and 18 minutes ahead of last year's winner Ben Michaelson on his J/44 Quintessence. Ichiban corrected to third behind Pen Alexander on his Express 37 Once Upon A Time, Quintessence fell to sixth and Merrythought remained first with a corrected time more than four minutes better than Alexander's.
The Ralph A. Beeton Memorial Trophy for excellence in helmsmanship by a Naval Academy midshipman went to Midshipman First Class Garron Morris, skipper of the Navy 44 Fearless, who also acted as helmsman for the race. Despite damaging their jib and main in the stiff breeze during the race, Morris and his team were sixth over the finish line in IMS I, and corrected into fifth in that class only 40 seconds behind the BFSS&W Syndicate's Yellow Jacket.
PHRF-C sailor Michael Bay on his Chesapeake 30 Babe earned the new Hospice Cup Trophy for consistently excellent performance over three years; his second place this year was combined with aces in 1988 and '89. He was bested this year by the team of Bob Muller and Carsten Nell on Nell's recently-purchased Carter 3/4-Tonner Caper. Caper campaigned locally many years ago by Steve Hiltabidle and recently returned to the Annapolis racing scene after several years in Solomons.
The new Martin F. McCarthy Trophy for top dog in the cruising-boat Hospice Class went to Dick Kreitzer of Crownsville on Friend, first of the eight finishers in his class by three minutes over Pennsylvania sailor Leo Oswald on Carousel in second.