The Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association's overwhelming success with last year's series of technical seminars has generated a second season.
The four-week series, which begins next weekend in the Naval Academy's Rickover and Michelson halls, will feature some of the region's top sailing authorities.
"Last year was kind of a pilot program," association President David Blessing said. "We didn't think it would turn out to be as successful as it was, so we did have some problems with overcrowding and sold-out weeks, having to turn people away.
"This year the space we've got is big enough that we should be able to accommodate anybody who wishes to come. We're very grateful to the Naval Academy for makingthe space available for us this year."
Another new wrinkle is thehigh proportion of classes directed at the general sailing population, including gunkholers and other cruisers often overlooked by organizations such as CBYRA, whose primary focus is obviously on racing sailors. At least three of the seven seminars will be aimed in that direction.
Specifically, these are:
* A presentation by Bill Band of the Maryland Pilots Association on "Commercial Shipping: A View From the Other Side," Saturday morning.
* A discussion by Arnie Gay, one of this area's most distinguished veteran sailors, with extensiveoffshore and bay experience, on "Heavy Weather Sailing and How to Cruise in Comfort," March 16.
* Weather expert and successful racingsailor Rob Mairs on "Fine-Tuning the Weather Predictions for Local Bay Conditions," March 30.
Repeating the format of last year's series, the morning sessions will begin at 10 a.m., and the afternoon sessions at 1 p.m.
Blessing said he thought Band's presentation will be particularly exciting and has perhaps the greatest general value to racing and cruising sailors alike.
"It will be especially usefulto hear from a bay pilot the answers to concerns about our interactions with commercial shipping, such as'How do we best stay out of their way?' and 'What do they expect from us?' It's very valuable cooperation in an increasingly complex environment," he said.
Other sessions, aimed at the performance- and race-oriented crowd, will include:
* "Upwind Sail Trim and Tactics," by North sailmaker and top racer Bruce Nairn, Saturday afternoon.
* "Tuning Your Rigging," by Rick Crowlock of Annapolis Yacht Systems, the afternoon of March 9.
*"The Wednesday Night Sailor -- How to Find and Train Crew," by Haarstick sailmaker and world-class sailor Jim Cullen, morning March 16.
* "Downwind Sailing and Tactics," by veteran instructor and racer Dave Flynn of Doyle-Allan Sails, afternoon March 30.
"I have to give a lot of credit to Will Keyworth, who helped me assemble this program and personally lined up all of the speakers," Blessing said. "All of the speakers are fine sailors in our environment and are experts on their topics. All of the sessions, especially the sessions I'm particularly excited about, are by locals whose topics and experiences are specifically keyed to sailing on the Chesapeake Bay."
Sailors ofany skill level are welcome at any of the seminars, although the morning sessions generally will be aimed at beginning racers, and the afternoon sessions will be directed to sailors with more experience.
"The line between seminars for beginners and the advanced level seminars got a little more blurred this year than it was last year," Blessing said, explaining that each of the seven will be useful to sailors of any level of experience.
"It's nice to think that CBYRA can be helpful to cruising sailors, too, especially with the commercial shipping, weather prediction, and heavy weather/cruising seminars," Blessing said.
All seminars will be in Room 102 of Rickover Hall, except for Cullen's and Gay's March 16 presentations, which are set for Room 103 of Michelson Hall. Both buildings are close to the water, near Dewey Field.
Parking on the Naval Academy grounds is very limited; pedestrians for the seminars may use either Gate 1 at King Georgeand Randall streets or Gate 3 off Maryland Avenue for a shorter walkto the buildings. Because of stepped-up security at the Academy, seminar attendees may want to check with the Visitors' Hot Line, 267-3109, for a recorded message as to what, if any, restrictions will apply.
Participants can sign up for individual seminars or the entire series of seven. Cost to CBYRA members is $10 per seminar or $60 for the series; non-members will be charged $15 per seminar or $90 for theseries. Midshipmen will be admitted free.
Registration is not required for the seminars, and participants can sign up at the door, although, Blessing said, "We'd prefer people signing up in advance, especially if they want to take the whole series."
Registration applications are available from the association, 612 Third St., Suite 201, in the Eastport section of Annapolis, or by calling 269-1194.
Blessing said CBYRA volunteers are still needed to help out with admission and hospitality at the seminars. Volunteers will be admitted to theseminars at which they assist free of charge.
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.