The back-to-back races between Annapolis and St. Michaels over the Memorial Day weekend were some of the healthiest events in recent local racing history in terms of participation.
The Miles River Yacht Club's Annapolis to Miles River Race on Saturday and the Maryland Capital Yacht Club's corresponding Miles River Race Back on Sunday drew record numbers of boats and sailors, adding to the fun and challengesposed by tricky winds and currents.
MRYC's Jean Wilson said more than 190 boats in 14 classes left Annapolis on Saturday's race to St. Mike's, more than half sailing in one of the four PHRF splits, since there were no IMS starts. The next day, 135 of them raced back to Annapolis, this time in 13 classes.
Only three teams were able to stack up back-to-back aces for both events: PHRF-B winner Don Zinn and his team on his old Heritage One-Tonner Goldfish; Pearson 30 winner Art Libby and crew on Results; and Peter Gookin and crew on Ace of Spades in Rainbows.
For the crew on Goldfish, at least, success both days was a matter of taking calculated risks with the corners of the courses and making correct estimatesof where the wind would be.
The wind was diminishing and the tideflooding hard at the start of Saturday's race. Don Zinn Jr.'s team chose to start at the eastern end of the line instead of the heavily favored western end. They reasoned that by being the boat closest to the Eastern Shore, they could get across the adverse current in the deep-water channel as quickly as possible.
"About halfway across, welooked like dog meat," Zinn said. "The guys to the west had a lift that we never got. Then suddenly the wind started to shift and we started looking pretty good."
By the time they had reached Bloody Point, the wind had gone hard left, Zinn said. "The only boat ahead of uswas Jim Cullen on a J/27. We thought he had tacked about 20 boat lengths short of the layline, but he got lifted up to it and got around the mark about four minutes ahead of us.
"Downwind, Cullen played the gybing angles while we had a more dead-downwind course. We caughtup about two minutes on that leg, but Cullen was still leading by about two minutes."
After the last mark, Zinn said, Cullen played the left side of the river and the Goldfish crew played the right. The right turned out to be a little better, and they made up the time they needed to take first.
"On Sunday we had a bad start because the wind died about a minute before the start and we were barely able to make it around the pin in the tide. We set the chute and tried to follow the wind around. Everyone else seemed to be finding holes, but wewere able to keep the boat moving with eight or 10 gybes," Zinn said.
Zinn's tactic paid off. "When we finally ran out of wind, we looked around and realized we were right next to (PHRF-A racer) Eroica and ahead of everybody else. We were third in the fleet around the mark, right behind Eroica and a Catalina 27."
Once Goldfish got past Bloody Point, it was a broad reach over to the Western Shore and thena gybe near Thomas Point to the finish.
"There seemed to be better wind and a header on the Western Shore," Zinn said. "Terrific had the best leg. They went from 10 minutes behind to about 1 1/2 minutes behind us on a slightly tighter angle on the last leg, and both of uscorrected out over the entire (PHRF) A fleet."
The double victorywas also important to Zinn and his brother, David, because of its timing, David Zinn explained.
"Monday was Dad's birthday, and we thought a couple of bullets for the weekend would be a good present for him."
MRYC Annapolis to Miles River Race
Saturday, May 26
PHRF A (34 starters): 1) Evolution, Bill Wade, Seaford, Del.; 2) Witch,Glenn Robbins, Severna Park; 3) Moon Lighting, Tom French/David Adams, Annapolis.
PHRF B (21 starters): 1) Goldfish, Donald Zinn, Annapolis; 2) Irresponsible, Joe Matera, Derwood; 3) Vitality, Richard Altman, Baltimore.
PHRF C (20 starters): 1) Accomplice, Dennis Rice,Timonium; 2) Marilyn, Martin Kiely, Berwyn Heights; 3) Sure Cure, Craig Decker, Pasadena.
PHRF N (16 starters): 1) Elusive, John Clark, Severna Park; 2) Mischief, Michael Miernicki, Severna Park; 3) Anser, Jim Troutman, Bethesda.
MORC (nine starters): 1) Shadowfax, Brian Jones, Annapolis; 2) Skylarkn, Robert Dunning, Easton; 3) Frog Legs, Paul Awalt, Ellicott City.
Alberg 30 (14 starters): 1) Argo, Peter Scheidt, Highland; 2) Sundance, William Chambers, Fulton; 3) Cannonball, Bill Wallop, Annapolis.
Cal 25 (eight starters): 1) Chicken Little, Charlie Husar, Annapolis; 2) Ronin, Dave Godwin, Arlington,Va.; 3) Alice May, Mike O'Toole, Vienna, Va.
Catalina 27 (15 starters): 1) Pussycat, Bruce Johnson, Bowie; 2) Swell, Derick Lynch, Arnold; 3) Merlin, Mark Oursler, Severna Park.
J/29 (nine boats): 1) Posse, Paul Andersen, Annapolis; 2) Jack Keniley, Forestville; 3) Mirage, David Lewis/Fred Salvesen, Annapolis/Edgewater.