Sweltering heat and evaporating, fluky winds made the Severn SailingAssociation's Keelboat Regatta a tough one this weekend for the 40 teams of sailors competing in Stars, Solings, Tempests and J/24s.
Conditions kept the overall competition very tight in many cases, withvery close series scores among contenders in nearly all of the classes.
"It was not fun," said Tim Mowry, who skippered his Latent Defectteam to a win in the 15-boat J/24 class. "It was very light and shifty, and pretty hot, too. We had one race on Saturday and two on Sunday, and all the races were shortened except the first one on Sunday."
In the light air, the courses used were triangles, with an added windward leg so that the fleets could avoid the hot, slow agony of having to sail fairly directly downwind. The two shortened races eliminated the final windward leg.
"The triangles were really challenging," Mowry said. "You had to decide if you were going to go up for speed or stay down for the most direct route on the reaches. Most people wound up having to gybe on both reach legs, trying to keep their boatspeed up."
But if the regatta was more of a bobbing contest than a sailing match, Mowry said he and his team bobbed more consistently than some of the others -- a key to their success.
"On Saturday the breeze was fairly steady, but it was very light,"Mowry explained. "We were PMS (premature starters) and had to go back, but we tried to stay in the breeze and we came back through the fleet and finished second."
In Sunday's first race, Mowry said, "We were second at the first windward mark. We stayed in the breeze line, but the wind tended to get pretty fluky. On the last weather leg we were forced left byMike Hobson, and the wind came in on the right, so we finished sixth."
In the last race, Mowry found himself in a close contest for second place after Sandy Grosvenor and her Twisted Sisters team managedto put themselves in the right place at the right time for a major wind shift.
"In the last race, the wind completely died," Mowry said. "Sandy started at the unfavored end of the line, but then she got the shift and tacked through about zero degrees. She was sailing about 340 on starboard, then the wind shifted and she was sailing about 345 on port. They got around the mark first, and they were miles aheadof everybody. They were untouchable."
Mowry and company finished that race in third place, just behind rival Paul Borssuck and his team on Riff Raff, but with enough of a lead in points from the day's first race that they were able to
hold the top slot in the series.
A points-tie for first popped up in the Tempest class, and althoughboth Ray O'Hara and Dave Lavis each had a first, a second and a third to their credit, O'Hara won the tiebreaker over Lavis because he had beaten Lavis twice out of three races.
In the Soling class, although Peter Gleitz had a strong early lead with a pair of bullets, Dr.Stuart Walker climbed up and over him to win the regatta as his finishes improved from third in the first race to first in the third. Gleitz took fifth in the final contest and wound up in second by three-quarters of a point.
The most consistently excellent results of theregatta were turned in by Star class winner John Vanderhoff, with a second in Saturday's race and a pair of aces on Sunday.
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It's the Sailing Information Center, a new computer bulletin board dedicated exclusively to the sailing community. Best of all, membership and use are free.
The brainchild of Darren Albert of Stevensville, the Sailing Information Center officially opened to the public a couple of weeks ago and is on-line 24 hoursdaily.
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The idea came to him,Albert explained, "from going in a raceand having to wait a week to see how we did."
Use of the bulletin board is free to yacht clubs and to call-in users, who can also enter free classified ads in a special section for the purpose.