Sunny skies and pleasant southerly breezes made last weekend's 42nd annual Sailing Club of the Chesapeake Spring Race another successful and enjoyable event, complete with a few truly exciting moments.
More than 70 IMS, PHRF and MORC boats took part in Saturday's 10-mile windward-leeward race, along with a new one-design class for 10 J/35s. About 65 cruising one-design boats competed in eight classes on a similar course on Sunday.
"We had almost identical conditions both days," said Race Committee Chairman Eamonn McGeady. "On Saturday especially, we were quite concerned at the beginning, but we figured it would fill in a little west of south and we got lucky -- it did just that. It built up from around seven to eight at the start to around 11 to 12 by the finish.
"We had the J/35s for the first time as a class. They stayed with and even beat some of the IMS I boats, and the first two of them finished overlapped with less than two seconds difference."
In that cliffhanger of a contest, Jeff Todd and his Hot Toddy team were the victors over rivals Sag Sagerholm and crew on Aunt Jean.
"They were leading pretty much the whole way, and we were third going into the lastleg behind Sundog. They (Aunt Jean) had to decide whether to cover us or cover Sundog. They covered us, and we caught up to them on the last leg," said Todd.
"We were pretty close to the committee boat and we came across on starboard and Aunt Jean was laying the finish onport and they had to duck us. As soon as they went under us we made our move and headed up and shot the line."
Todd said that such a close finish in the J/35 class was more the rule than the exception. "We've had a lot of races like that in the last year," he said. "The J/35 class, in general, seems to be a pretty tight pack."
Not too many events with J/35 class starts in them have been run. But the factthat all of them rate the same in PHRF means that there is frequently a kind of mini-one-design race going on among them within the larger PHRF A handicap class, as the '35s often cluster near the top of the overall heap.
About Sunday, McGeady said, "There was a major wind shift at 10:50, right before the start of the sequence. At 10:55 wereset the course without any postponement. My committee people did an outstanding job. The wind conditions did not build to quite the velocity we had on Saturday, but from our point of view it was a good weekend for racing on the Chesapeake Bay."
Scott Leonard and his crew on Sailin' Shoes must have thought so, too, when they turned their J/24 class race into a convincing victory.
"We had nice breeze," Leonard said. "We were only sailing with four people so at times we felt we were a little light (in crew weight). It was the first time we had been out this year, and we weren't even sure we had everything set up right, but we had really good speed."
Leonard estimated the wind at a pleasant eight knots, with puffs to 10 or 12, but despite having to join every member of the team on the rail periodically, he continued to extend a solid first-leg lead as the race progressed.
"It was a nice day, and kind of a nice surprise for us," he said.
Sailing Club of the Chesapeake
Saturday, May 11
IMS I (3 starters): 1) Dancer, William Steitz, Pittsburgh, Pa./Annapolis, 1:08:46 c.t.; 2) Quintessence, Ben Michaelson, Annapolis, 1:08:47c.t.; 3) Chunky, Richard Schmidtlein, Annapolis, 1:13:08 c.t.
IMSII (10 starters): 1) Bucentaur, Steven Stunda/Ian Chambers, Annapolis, 1:01:50 c.t.; 2) Crescendo, Stephen Hiltabidle, Annapolis, 1:04:19c.t.; 3) Fun, Tom Closs Sr./Tom Closs Jr., Annapolis, 1:04:35 c.t.
IMS III (13 starters): 1) Farrocious, Talbot Wilson/James Hobson, Annapolis, 1:01:24 c.t.; 2) Contraire, Steven Schaub et al., Eldersburg, 1:05:16 c.t.; 3) Uh Oh, C. R. Smith, Annapolis, 1:07:33 c.t.
PHRF A (10 starters): 1) Moonlighting, Tom French, Annapolis, 1:52:09 c.t.; 2)
Chesapeake, Seward Lawlor/Ken Saylor, Norfolk/Hampton, Va., 1:52:33 c.t.; 3) Rascal, Ronn McCraney, Annapolis, 1:54:53 c.t.
PHRF B (12 starters): 1) Shuger Blitz, Marty Hublitz, Alexandria, Va., 1:50:21 c.t.; 2) PollyWannaCracka?, Larry Kumins, Annapolis, 1:50:32 c.t.; 3) Vitality, Richard Altman, Baltimore, 1:50:38 c.t.
PHRF C (13 starters): 1) Pendragon, James Hadley, Arlington, Va., 2:00:06 c.t.; 2) Leeway, David Lee, Edgewater, 2:02:32 c.t.; 3) AJ, David Scheidt, Annapolis, 2:03:07 c.t.
MORC (11 starters): 1) Skylark, Robert Dunning, Easton, 1:50:11 c.t.; 2) Sting Ray, Robert Muller, Annapolis, 1:50:33 c.t.; 3) Frog Legs, Paul Awalt, Ellicott City, 1:50:45 c.t.
J/35 (10 starters): 1) Hot Toddy, Jeff Todd, Annapolis; 2) Aunt Jean, F. N. Sagerholm, Ocean City, N.J.; 3) Sundog, Paul Parks, Baltimore.
Sunday, May 12
J/29 (7 starters): 1) Posse, Paul Andersen, Annapolis; 2) Mirage, David Lewis/Fred Salvesen, Annapolis/Edgewater; 3) Baby Moon, Mike Krissoff, Annapolis.