The first half of the Annapolis Yacht Club's popular Sunday afternoon Frostbite Series came to a close last weekend, after a virtually perfect seven-week schedule that began Nov. 4.
With about 90 boats registered in the six-class series, 13 of a possible 14 races were completed by the time the half ended Dec. 16.
"We were lucky this year," said Special Events Race Committee chairman Dan Spadone, who manages the annual series. "We got in just about all of the races, and we had just about everything in terms of wind. We had some days when the wind was over 20, even up to about 28, and other days when it was a nice, light, 6- to 12-knot range. It was a good series."
After a brief break for the holidays, the separately scored second half will begin Jan. 6.
Because so many races were completed before the half ended, each team's series score will be adjusted before final positions are assigned by throwing out the two worst scores. In most classes, this adjustment will not affect standings among the top finishers, but in a couple of divisions the final corrections will see some upsets.
For the team of Annapolitan Elliott Oldak and Midshipman Tom Fugelstad in the Naval Academy's New York 36 Thunderbolt, dropping an expensive 18-point fifth-race disqualification and a poor finish in the eighth race put them solidly at the top of the 17-boat PHRF 2 fleet. The pair lead Sherwood Forest sailor Steve Bardelman on his J/30 Valhalla by almost seven points -- almost the same lead he had over the academy boat before the corrections.
Going into the final day of racing, either boat could have prevailed in the series. Oldak and Fugelstad had worse scores to throw out but were rallying as the series progressed, finishing second by only seconds in the final day's two races and acing five races to Bardelman's three. But Bardelman had sailed a bit more consistently early in the series, leaving him with a 10-point sixth-race ace with 50 percent penalty and an 11th-race fifth as his drops.
"It came down to the wire with the last couple of races," Oldak said.
"It really was close, and it was the last day that did it for us."
In the 27-boat PHRF 3 division, the fight was for second between the O'Toole/Bonney team on Alice May and the Felde/Young team on Flitzer.
The Annapolis team of Dave Scott and Stevie MacLaughlin on their J/22 Bart were clear winners in the class, with eight bullets and a staggering 51-point lead over their rivals, tied for second.
Everyone in PHRF 3 class had only one throw-out for all practical purposes, because the entire group of boats competing in the fifth race was disqualified for failure to respond to a general recall. A disqualification (DSQ) is worth the same as a "did not compete" (DNC) -- one point more than the total number of boats registered in a class -- so this fifth-race score was everyone's first throw-out.
Things got interesting with the second throw-out. A tie for second materialized between uncorrected second-place finishers O'Toole and Bonney and uncorrected fifth-placers Felde and Young, who narrowly vaulted over the Eubanks/Husar team on Chicken Little and the Baxter/Becker team on Finesse.
The tie will probably break in favor of the Flitzer team, which beat the Alice May team seven times to five.
In the 10-boat J/24 class, where veteran Don Delorme on No Smoking has done it again with an impressive string of seven bullets, corrections nudged the unadjusted second-place Kyle/Barr team on Sail No. 2548 into third, behind the team headed by J/24 fleet newcomer Ben Capuco on Show Dog. In fact, the Capuco/Rutsch team sailed somewhat more strongly than their rivals, so that after throwing out a pair of DNCs from the second week of the series, it was more than five points ahead of the Kyle/Barr team.
Impressive strings of seven bullets each also went to Pearson 30 veteran winner Art Holmes on Sherlock and Bob Muller in MORC, who was sailing his newly purchased Nelson-Marek 28 Sting Ray. Holmes' sailing was remarkably consistent -- his worst-race throw-outs were a third and a fourth -- while Muller threw out only thirds, demonstrating that he has the ability to get into a new boat and win, just as he had with his old Lindenberg 26 Max Fun.
"I was very pleased with the response and the great attitude from all the participants," chairman Spadone said. "We had an excellent turnout, a lot of good racing and excellent wind all season. We work at it, so it's nice to know we're appreciated. Really, it's been great, and I'm looking forward to the second half."
* AYC Frostbite Series 1st half preliminary results
PHRF 1 (14 entries): 1) Frequent Flyer, Bill Malin, Severna Park, 24.5 points (39.5) (2-1-5-1-1-(8)-1-1-6-2-(7)-5-1); 2) Lightfoot, Hunt/Leocha, Centreville, 30 points (43) (4-2-3-2-2-2-4- 3-3-3- (6)-2-(7)); 3) Sweet Agnes, Glenn Housley, Annapolis, 32.5 points (55.25) (3-3-6-6-(3*)-(DSQ)-2-5-1-1-2-1-3).