The new Saturday J/22 Frostbite Series got off to a truncated start this month, with three races completed on the first day's sailing Dec. 8. The second day of competition, Dec. 15, was canceled in the face of pouring cold rain and very little wind.
Although the fleet consisted of only five boats and spinnakers were disallowed in the gusty 15- to 18-knot air that greeted the fleet when it met on the Severn River, racing was exciting and competitive. When it was all over, the clear winner was Annapolis sailor Jim Hayes and his team on Cheap Seats, with three straight bullets.
"I'm still not quite sure what that's attributable to," Hayes said, "except that I had great crew, and maybe also that some of the hot people with a lot of experience in the boats weren't out there."
Hayes, who entered the J/22 class last spring when he purchased a used boat, was joined by former -Tonner Leda partner Kin Yellott of Baltimore.
Yellott has gained fame as two-time Team Baltimore skipper in the Cadillac Columbus Cup Regatta on top of several years of championship-level Laser sailing. The crew was completed by Annapolitan Wayne Speight.
"The wind was kind of up and down and very shifty," Hayes explained.
"Kin was really up to speed on that kind of thing from all of his match-racing, and that really helped."
After the committee boat broke down and could not leave the dock, the three short windward-leeward-windward races began with rabbit starts, in which one competitor, designated the "rabbit," sails away from the starting mark while the others, on the opposite tack, must cross the line created between the rabbit and the pin end.
"We always had pretty decent starts and just kept on scooting from there," Hayes said. "On the last race, we were the rabbit, but we ended up not going quite the right way on the first windward leg. And another guy (series organizer Paul Mikulski on Crusader Rabbit) got ahead of us, and there was a big wind shift. But on the second leg we were able to play the shifts a little better and squeak out ahead."
J/22 Frostbite December Series Results 1) Jim Hayes, Annapolis, 2.25 points (1-1-1); 2) Shane Zwingleberg, Baltimore, 8 points. (2-2-4); 3) Michael Higgins, Annapolis, 9 points.
* Adopted Annapolitan Jim Brady recently added three more regatta victories to an impressive and virtually unbroken 1990 string of national and international wins.
His victories include J/22 and J/24 World Championships, overall domination of Kiel Week in Germany, and outstanding work toward Olympic gold with teammates Kevin Mahaney and Doug Kern in Solings.
Brady's recent travels took him to Tel Aviv, Israel, where he won the Osem Cup Match Race against top Israeli sailor Roger Tordjman and taught a clinic for Israeli sailors. He also traveled to Sanford, Fla., where he won the famed Red Lobster Cup's Celebrity class.
The Red Lobster Regatta, with 46 classes and approximately 600 boats taking part, is the largest inland regatta in the world.
Brady won the invitational Celebrity Division, in which seven teams of top sailors sailed a five-race series in new Hunter 23s. Participants included Olympic gold medalists Allison Jolly and Lynn Jewell, U.S. Olympic team coach Gordy Bowers, versatile one-design champion Greg Fisher, Snipe and Sunfish world champion Dave Chapin (who took second in the regatta) and 1989 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Larry Klein (in third).
Brady also recently visited the Bitter End Yacht Club in the British Virgin Islands, where he dominated an exciting match-race series, beating the likes of Peter Isler, Ed Baird, John Kostecki, Mark Ploch, Peter Holmberg and Ken Read.
Brady, who is associated with North Sails, is a member of the top-ranked U.S. Soling team under skipper Mahaney. Mahaney and his crew, including Brady and Kern, have been nominated by the U.S. Olympic Yachting Committee as Olympic Athletes of the Year.
"Other than the J/24 North Americans, we've won every regatta since May," Brady said. "It's been a good one."
* Annapolis area sailing "insiders" have long known about, and anxiously awaited, the annual December Warehouse Sale at Line Seven.
Little-publicized, the event is normally announced by word of mouth but still draws hundreds of bargain-seeking sailors looking for -- and snatching up -- terrific deals on the world-famous foul-weather gear, jackets, duffels and a wide range of other useful goodies.
Discounts have been known to go as deep as 80 percent or more, and the wholesale warehouse showroom is lined with cartons of great stuff for as little as $15 or $20.
Last weekend's two-day event was no exception, but with additional overstocks, seconds and odds-and-ends still on hand, the company has decided to replay the sale this Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. only.
"The sale last weekend was a wonderful success," Line Seven spokesman Jean Keck said. "But we still have jackets, sweaters, foul-weather gear, duffel bags and some of everything left."
Serious sailors take note: this is a true opportunity to take home first-class gear at ridiculously low prices, for yourself or for a fellow sailor's Christmas.
If you missed it the first time around, don't miss this special repeat.
The Line Seven warehouse is located at 1811 Virginia St. off Chinquapin Round Road in Annapolis. For more information, call 268-8182.
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.