In a virtual repeat of the one-day December series, the February J/22 Frostbite Series became a one-day, three-race affair after frigid cold and brisk winds prevented the fleet from competing last Saturday,the scheduled second week of the series.
"There was no race on Saturday," said race organizer Paul Mikulski of Crusader Yacht Sales. "It was really survival conditions. The wind chill was like 40 below. The week before it was gorgeous. We had perfect -- just absolutely perfect -- conditions, with about 10 to 12 knots out of the northwest."
In those ideal conditions, the four-boat fleet sailed one three-legged and two five-legged windward-leeward races on the Severn River,with the top slot going cleanly to Annapolitan Dave Scott on Bart, the victor by a narrow margin in each of the three races.
"The finishes were fairly close in all three races," Mikulski said. "It was pretty good competition."
Scott and several of his fellow Annapolis-area J/22 sailors already have hitched up their trailers and high-tailed it off to St. Petersburg, Fla., where the wind and temperature certainly will be kinder, to take part in the J/22 Midwinter Championship Regatta, beginning tomorrow.
The J/22 Frostbite series will resume in March, with race days set for Saturday, March 9 and 16, competition beginning at 11 a.m. To register, or for more information, callMikulski at 269-0939.
J/22 Frostbite Series results -- February 1) Dave Scott, Annapolis, 2.25 pts. (1-1-1); 2) Michael Higgins, Annapolis, 7 pts. (2-2-3); 3) Jim Hayes, Annapolis, 8 pts. (3-3-2).
Annapolitan Donald E. Zinn Jr. has been appointed director of sponsorship acquisition for Venture USA, a new Florida-based entry in the 1993-1994 Whitbread Round-The-World Race.
Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the U.S. port of call for the Whitbread fleet, the Venture USA team is headed by skipper/president Gerald Bagwell, a veteran sailboat racer and yacht captain. The team plans to compete in the new 60-foot class, sailing a J/60 on the 33,000-mile circumnavigatoryrace.
"We believe the 60-foot class will attract a higher level of media interest because of its newness, which will provide an advantage to our sponsors," Bagwell said. "With a field of entirely new, innovative 60-foot yacht designs, we also feel the class will be more challenging and exciting."
The Venture USA team has reserved Hull No. 2 of the new J/60 line, which still is being prototyped. The boatis designed to accommodate the new Whitbread 60-foot class rule.
Bagwell said that in addition to J/Boats' strong reputation for designing highly competitive boats, and builder Tillotson-Pearson's proventrack record, an important reason for selecting the J/60 was to keepall aspects of the project, from design to completion, within the United State.
Crew selection will begin later this year and continuethroughout the campaign, Bagwell said. "We're looking for seasoned offshore racers who offer experience that will give us a competitive advantage."
Once the boat is built and the team selected, the Venture USA team intends to participate in numerous races in the United States, Europe and the Caribbean.
"The enthusiasm generated by the Whitbread stopover in Fort Lauderdale motivated us to create this syndicate," Bagwell said. "We're organizing a team of experienced professionals to handle the business aspects of the syndicate as well as thepromotions and publicity. Our syndicate is structured for success and we're involving the highest level of personnel, from our managementteam to our crew."
Of course, one of the most grueling parts of aWhitbread campaign begins long before that first starting gun in theSolent off of Southampton, England. That's the search for sponsorship, without which there's no boat, no team, no race. Finding that all-important sponsorship for Venture USA is Zinn's job.
Zinn said that 21 teams already have declared their intentions to enter the 60-foot class in the next Whitbread, along with 19 in the Maxi class, including Annapolitan Nance Frank's U.S. Women's Challenge and Teddy Turner's Challenge America syndicate, and seven additional syndicates remain undecided. To date, Venture USA is the only U.S. team entered in the 60-foot class.
In addition to promoting its still-sought major sponsor, the Venture USA team also intends to promote youth sailing, Zinn said.
The syndicate currently is preparing sponsorship presentations and planning fund-raising events in the Fort Lauderdale area,then expanded to other parts of the country. There also will be a membership program for contributors.
For more information on the Venture USA syndicate, write Venture USA Team Yachting Inc., 1525 S. Andrews Ave., Suite 228, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 33316, or phone (305) 767-0138.
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 ArundelCounty Sun.