Under sunny skies as hot as the competition, the annual Women's Big-Boat Regatta last weekend at the West River Sailing Club counted as abig success despite the relatively small turnout.
Competition wasin two classes, using full Olympic triangle courses, with two races on Saturday and a single series finale on Sunday.
"They worked hard on it again," Spinnaker II class winner Beth Scheidt said of the race organizers. "They didn't hold back at all in terms of the courses, and the racing was excellent. We wanted to know what (race committee chairman) Steve Pollard did to get the wind -- both days were beautiful, even though it was pretty hot.
"The wind got light a few times, but most of the time it was a nice, steady 10 to 12 knots. There was a pretty strong ebb current, a little more than a knot, that you had to watch out for, which made it interesting."
Scheidt, sailing her J/24 AJ, with Adrianne Williams, Melinda Kohr, Mary Beth Bigley and Anne Atkins, aced both the first and third races in her five-boat class, and took second in the second race to put her solidly at the top of the class.
Her record was virtually duplicated by Donna Schlegel and her crew on her Tartan Ten Rubadubdub inthe seven-boat Spinnaker I division. They picked off aces in the second and third races of the series, with a second in the first race, despite very tough competition from Marti Roberts and crew on Repeat Offender, a Soverel 33. Schlegel and Roberts each have beaten the other once previously in the 3-year-old regatta, adding extra fire to their contest.
"I think probably the most exciting competition was inSpinnaker I, between Rubadubdub and Repeat Offender," Scheidt said. "They were neck and neck all the time."
But her own win was not just a walk in the park, either, as the AJ team faced off against others including Teri Nilsen and her team on Sage, another J/24, and Bonnie Schloss and her crew on her Omega 30 Bear Boat. All of the women dealt with brisk winds, which at times were as high as 18 knots or more.
"Sage was tough, and so was Bear Boat," Scheidt said. "It was nice, spirited competition. In the last race, especially, Sage was really tough, and led most of the way around the course. We made up quitea bit on the last leg, and it was really exciting to finish on starboard tack and have them cross just behind us at the line."
The relatively low turnout -- down to 12 from last year's 20 -- was attributable to scheduling conflicts with other events, including a 20-boat J/24 start in a regatta in Annapolis, a major Snipe class event, and the Annapolis-to-Newport Race.
That last event actually helped makeSaturday's competition special for Scheidt, when her husband, Dave, crewing on a boat headed for Newport, passed the course area close enough to cheer her on.
"The best part was that while Dave was goingon down the bay to Newport on P.O.S.H., we were in the first race and we were leading all the way around," Scheidt said. "We had a reallygood mark rounding, and we heard this little cheer. It was Dave and his brother-in-law on P.O.S.H. off in the distance, and it made us feel good that we were doing well when he went by."
Women's Big-BoatRegatta results
Spinnaker I (seven boats): 1) Rubadubdub, Donna Schlegel; 2) Repeat Offender, Marti Roberts; 3) Mischief, Teague/Yeigh.
Spinnaker II (five boats): 1) AJ, Beth Scheidt; 2) Sage, Teri Nilsen; 3) Bear Boat, Bonnie Schloss.
Annapolitans Doug Clark and Scott Taylor have ensured that they will have a place in next year's Snipe Worlds after they return from this year's World Championships in Norway in August.
They won the Snipe District I Championshipslast weekend at the Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead, Mass.
"We had 35 boats at the regatta," Clark said. "Basically all the players in the district were there except Ed Adams. It was a real strong event."
The event was only the second regatta in which the duo had usedtheir new boat, which will be shipped to Norway for the Worlds in a few days.
"It was our first win of the season, and the first win in our new boat," Clark said. "It's fast. Out of a total of nine raceswe've sailed in it, we've won five."
Two of them were in the five-race, one throw-out series in Marblehead, which they won with a score of 7.5 points with the two bullets and two thirds as their four keepers.
"We had a little bit of everything for conditions," Clark said. "Saturday it was 10 to 15 from the southwest, and Sunday it was eight to 12 from the east. It definitely all came down to the last race, when we had to keep two boats between us and Henry Filter.
"We were back and forth and back and forth all through the last race withhim. We had a really great tacking duel, and we put more than just the two boats we needed between us."
Saturday, July 13, the team will have a fund-raiser to help it defray the expenses of traveling to Norway for the Worlds, which Clark estimates at about $8,000.