By now it's hardly news that Jim Brady of Annapolis put another notch on his gun and successfully defended his J/24 East Coast Championship title last weekend.
Brady, who is the current J/24 and J/22 World Champion, would have been extremely hard-pressed to beat Harwood native Terry Hutchinson, who had a substantial lead in the series after acing both of last Saturday's two races, while Brady was in sixth overall. But Hutchinson was forced over the starting line early in the first race on Sunday morning.
Hutchinson made a spectacular recovery after restarting deep in the fleet to finish eighth in that race. However, he had to accept a 20 percent penalty for PMSing and properly restarting, which added another 17 points onto his score tally and leaving him in third overall. Without the penalty, he would easily have had the top slot in the regatta with a total score of 12.5, just over seven points better than Brady's final score of 19.75.
"Terry probably deserved to win it," Brady said afterward, "but we got extremely lucky."
The annual regatta was hosted by Severn Sailing Association and J/24 Fleet 8.
Coming as it did on the heels of last year's truncated two-race, light-air drifting contest, this year's regatta was an unqualified success, with wind enough for anyone -- and a bit too much for most on Friday.
Racing had to be canceled that day in sustained 30- to 35-knot air with heavier gusts.
The sailors were able to console themselves for the lost day of racing with a Friday evening party, including dinner from Bayside Bull and free-flowing libations from Labatt's Beer, a regatta sponsor.
Trophies for performance were awarded to the top nine finishers, while the top three received Patagonia foul weather suits for their full crews and trophies from Marmaduke's Pub in Eastport for the helmsmen. Several special awards were also given.
The North Sails Trophy for top performance by an amateur sailor from J/24 District 6 went to Tim Mowry, of Annapolis, and co-helmsman Stewart Spettel, of Alexandria, Va., on Latent Defect in sixth place overall.
Sailing with them were local sailors John Ericson and Jim Meade, and Steve Ulian from North Sails Marblehead.
Mowry, who said before the regatta that winning the trophy was his goal, said afterward that he was pleased to have achieved it.
"I feel very good," he said. "We sailed the best regatta we've ever sailed. We sailed very smart, and had good boat handling. All in all it was a very rewarding experience."
The Sobstad Sailmakers Trophy for most improved performance went to Washington sailor Tony Parker on Bangor Packet for finishing 10th overall, gaining 39 places over his last year's position.
The Shore Sails Sportsmanship Trophy went to Annapolitans Sandy Grosvenor, Joanne Schram and the crew of Twisted Sisters for dropping out of Sunday's first race to assist in the rescue of a man overboard from another boat in chilly water, heavy air and stiff chop at the first leeward mark.
Schram was the primary regatta organizer, who worked tirelessly at keeping track of the many elements of a successful sailing event for 85 five-person teams. She also was publicly honored and recognized as the person "who made all this happen" at the post-regatta awards ceremonies.
The Hall Rigging presentation of a halyard to the team that had traveled farthest went to Waldemar Zaleski and his crew, who finished 62nd after premature starts in two of the four races in the series. The Polish team had written to J/24 District 6 Governor David Jackson, requesting an invitation to participate in the regatta.
Coincidentally, shortly after their request was received, Gov. William Donald Schaefer was traveling to Poland, where the Pride of Baltimore II had made a stop. At Jackson's request Governor Schaefer personally delivered the fleet's invitation to the Polish sailors.
They're baaaaack . . . Crazy people bundled up to the eyes, messing around out on the coooooold water in sailboats, starting this year's annual Frostbite season.
Annapolis Yacht Club's venerable two-part series begins this afternoon, with starts for two PHRF classes, MORC, and J/24s. The first half will run until just before Christmas; the separately scored second half begins just after New Year's and runs into March.
Snipe sailors should take note that the Snipe Saturday Frostbite series is gearing up, too. Plans are for fleet racing through November, followed by some special -- and especially interesting -- team-racing events in December.
Interclub dinghy frostbiting on Sundays will begin in a couple of weeks out of Severn Sailing Association. For more information, or to inquire about joining the local fleet, call Tim Mowry, 280-2281.
Nancy Noyes is a member of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association and has been racing on the bay for about five years. Her Sailing column appears every Wednesday and Sunday in The Anne Arundel County Sun.