As the first few boats in the PHRF A class crossed the finish line in rapidly building wind in yesterday's third and final race of the fourth annual Northern Bay Race Week, a violent squall forced the race committee and most of the fleet of nearly 80 boats to abandon competition.
The series was cut to the two races that had been completed Friday and Saturday.
A lesser squall earlier in the day forced committee chairman Larry Martin to postpone starting the race, which finally began shortly after noon in unsettled, broadly shifting winds.
The committee shifted the weather mark for the second windward leg of the planned five-legged windward-leeward course, and attempted to finish the fleet at the leeward end after only four legs as the skies blackened to the west. But by about 2:15 p.m., winds were in the 40-knot range with gusts in the 60s, seas were running 5 to 7 feet, the inflatable mark at the pin end of the finish line had blown away, and visibility was down to arm's length in darkness, driving rain and hail, and it was over for the day.
"It was a race committee's nightmare out there today," Martin said.
It was also a racer's nightmare for many of the sailors, who seemed generally to agree that they seldom, if ever, had seen weather so severe or rapidly developing on the Chesapeake Bay. Several boats were damaged in collisions or by the severe winds, and a number of sails were blown out, but race organizers said they did not know of any serious injuries.
Several tied scores remain to be resolved for final official standings, although there also were some clear winners, including PHRF A champion Paul Parks and his team on Sundog, and Bruce Bogdanoff and crew on Sundae Lovers in PHRF Nonspinnaker. Both managed untouchable two-bullet finishes.
Provisional series results
PHRF A (16 starters): 1) Sundog, Paul Parks, Shady Side, 1.5 points (1-1); 2) [TIE] Patriot, Larry Lehner, York, Pa., 6 points (4-2); and Moco Jumbie, Larry Puckett, Churchville, 6 points (2-4).
PHRF B (18 starters): 1) Ovation, Henry Peacock, Rock Hall, 5.75 points (5-1); 2) [TIE] Another Fine Mess, Eugene Bremont, Baltimore, 6 points (2-4); and Wooly Bear, Ted Rapp, Riverside, N.J., 6 points (3-3).
PHRF C (22 starters): 1) [TIE] Red Streaker, George Culbertson, Timonium, 3.75 points (1-3); and Knotbobs, Daniel Miller, Baltimore, 3.75 points (3-1); 3 Pronto, Steve Rowlands, Baltimore, 7 points (2-5).
PHRF Nonspinnaker (14 starters): 1) Sundae Lovers, Bruce Bogdanoff, Swedesboro, N.J., 1.5 points (1-1); 2) [TIE] Glory, Ray Munsch, Philadelphia, 6 points (4-2); and Mischief, Mike Miernicki, Severna Park, 6 points (2-4).
J/24 (5 starters): 1) Grim Reaper, Fred Reynolds, Quarryville, Pa., 3.75 points (3-1); 2) Rush Hour, Pat Fitzgerald, Baltimore, 4.75 points (1-4); 3) Hotspur, Scott Kulp, Lititz, Pa., 6 points (4-2).