The weather was calmer and the fleet a little smaller for this year's 51st running of the Hampton Yacht Club's Virginia Cruising Cup racefrom Annapolis to Hampton, Va.
Still, the race itself was a good one, despite light air.
The 117.8-mile race began Thursday morning, July 11, at the mouthof the Severn. The first of the 60 finishers arrived at the rock groin at Hampton about 4:30 p.m. the next day, while the last arrived about 9:30 the following morning.
"It's the first time in a long time we've had this slow of a race," said HYC's Tom Brady. But, he added, the elapsed time this year was far from a record-setting length.
"Some races finished as late as Sunday morning back in the '40s," hesaid.
Brady said the race started downwind in 5 to 6 knots of air, with a favorable ebb current that carried the fleet as far as Windmill Point before the doldrums set in.
"Some boats had to anchor down there, but some managed to keep moving and didn't have to," he explained. "The wind came back in on Friday afternoon and kept on increasing as the afternoon went on."
First in at Hampton was George Wilson on his J/44 First Light. Wilson corrected to 13th in PHRF A, however.
The best elapsed time -- 28:41 -- was turned in by Virginia Beach sailor Sled Shelhorse on his new Tripp 38 Promises, sailing in IMS with a start 10 minutes after the PHRF A group and arriving in Hampton nine minutes after Wilson.
The fastest on corrected time in the division was PHRF C winner George Hughes of Annapolis and the teamon his Pearson 30 Blam, which also became the winners of the Robert M. Raven Memorial Trophy for best corrected time in the overall PHRF fleet.
"It was a fine race," Hughes said. "It was very light and shifty until about 1 p.m. Friday afternoon. Then the wind picked up and almost everybody got in before dark."
Hughes said the secret to his success was the inclusion on his crew of Stovie Brown, recently returned to the area from several years abroad.
"Stovie Brown is one of the greatest one-design sailors to have ever come off the Chesapeake Bay," Hughes said. "He came back to give us a lesson in handicapsailing."
Also sailing on Blam were Craig Ulman and John Gray.
Using Brown's advice as to where the light and fluky air would be best next, Hughes and his team sailed the boat on a course that crossedtacks from shore to shore with the bulk of the fleet as they worked down the bay day and night Thursday.
"The next morning, the wind died as Stovie had predicted," Hughes said. "But he can move a boat inlight air like nobody else. We could see one competitor and in the light air we made about a mile on him in an hour and a half. The A-class boats finally started passing us about Wolftrap Light, so I knew we were in good shape."
The Hampton Yacht Club Trophy, for the winner of the largest fleet, went to Fishing Bay Yacht Club's Tom Whittleon Busted, winner of PHRF A, in which there were 28 entrants and 22 starters.
The Virginia Cruising Cup trophy for best performance byan IMS sailor went to IMS II winner Bob Mosby of Virginia Beach, skipper of Cyrano.
IMS division participation in this year's race wasdown to 13 boats because the race was not sanctioned by IMS of the Chesapeake as an event counting toward CBYRA High Point. This was due to a different set of IMS splits used by the lower bay's Tidewater IMS.
Although HYC offered to restructure the race to use the three-way Chesapeake splits rather than the two-way Tidewater splits, the decision not to sanction the event already had been made by the IMS of the Chesapeake Executive Committee.
The PHRF classes were the richer for the lack of IMS sanctioning, however, as a number of regular IMS competitors joined their appropriate PHRF classes for the race.
VA. CRUISING CUP RESULTS
IMS I (six starters/finishers): 1. Sea Star, Vernon Eberwine, Suffolk, Va., 15:08:34 c.t.; 2. Southern Exposure, Kemper Sarrett, Hampton, Va., 15:13:03 c.t.
IMS II (sevenstarters/six finishers): 1. Cyrano, Bob Mosby, Virginia Beach, Va., 14:46:10 c.t.; 2. Miss Take, D. Zanks, (address unavailable), 15:18:32 c.t.; 3. Battlewagon, John Hanna, Seaford, Va., 15:20:33 c.t.
PHRF A (22 starters/15 finishers): 1. Busted, Thomas Whittle, Chester, Va., 26:06:32 c.t.; 2. Magic, Roberts/Ruckert, Lottsburg, Va., 26:24:21 c.t.; 3. Caledonian, Peter Gordon, Annapolis, 26:36:39 c.t.; 4. Repeat Offender, Long/Baechtold, Annapolis, 26:44:22 c.t.; 5. Vamp, William Nicolls, Newport News, Va., 26:45:11 c.t.; 6. Der Baron, Don Wagner, Shady Side, 26:47:15 c.t.
PHRF B (17 starters/finishers): 1. Smoke, Dan Smoker, Yorktown, Va., 26:14:53 c.t.; 2. Mountain Lion Eater, George Prout, Grasonville, 26:23:12 c.t.; 3. Old Blue, John Griffith, Shady Side, 26:27:15 c.t.
PHRF C (15 starters/12 finishers): 1. Blam, George Hughes, Annapolis, 25:49:16 c.t.; 2. Short Circuit, Bill Spencer, Richmond, Va., 25:49:34 c.t.; 3. Triple Dee III, Peter Driscoll, Beallsville, 26:05:12 c.t.