With cooperation from the wind gods, an enthusiastic crowd of more than 80 junior sailors from up and down the Chesapeake Bay competed Tuesday and Wednesday in the CBYRA Junior Open Championship Regatta.
Annapolis Yacht Club and Severn Sailing Association served as hosts.
Racing included two windward-leewards and a triangle course on Tuesday, and another one of each on Wednesday, for a total of five races for young sailors competing in Optimists, 420s, Lasers and Laser 2s.
The Optimist fleet, the largest of the regatta with 34 boats, was divided into Red, White and Blue sub-fleets based on the competitors' ages, while the 420 sailors were split between Club racers and International 420s.
"It's really a kind of toe in the water for a Junior Race Week," said SSA's Maureen Torgerson, a regatta organizer anddedicated supporter of junior sailing generally as well as the sailing career of her son, John, now wrapping up his last year of junior-level competition.
"AYC and SSA agreed last year to pool individualjunior regattas they were each holding into one bigger event, and see if there was interest in something really regional. We had kids from the Hampton Yacht Club, and Fishing Bay Yacht Club down in Virginia, and I was really pleased to see them coming up from the Southern Bay for this. We even had some kids from Surf City, N.J."
Wednesday's fleet also included some visitors from even farther away. Some young sailors from the Soviet Union, taking part in an SSA exchange program, competed in the Club 420 class for the day.
John Torgerson took a break in his training schedule to compete in the Laser class at the Junior Open Regatta and aced all five races. He is aiming for the national finals for the USYRU Junior Single-handed Championship, the Smythe Trophy, in Cleveland, in about a week in Europe dinghies.
Torgerson, a junior at Avon Old Farm School in Connecticut, began sailing Optimists at the age of 9 or 10 in the SSA junior program and hasracked up a number of important championships, including the 1987 CBYRA Junior Single-handed, and 1988 and 1989 Optimist High Point titles. The open was his last local junior-level competition, as he soon will pass the the junior-sailing age limit of 18.
"The courses werekind of short, but they were adequate," Torgerson said. "We had a moderate breeze with lots of chop. It was sailed pretty close to shore so it was very shifty and kind of patchy, with scattered puffs. The key was playing the shifts, and staying between the mark and the competition."
Torgerson now has returned to concentrating on learning to handle the smaller, more agile Europe, with expert coaching from Annapolis Olympic hopeful Diane Bur ton, in preparation for the Smythe Trophy finals.
"I know it's going to be tough," he said. "I know Brett Davis -- he's a Laser god. I've sailed against him my whole career in Lasers and he's amazing, and so are some of the other guys. Butthis year I think I'm on the chase after those guys."
Winners of the Club 420 class and the overall 420 fleet, also including the International 420s, were Annapolitans Karen Coe and Carolyn Manion, both members of the St. Mary's High School Sailing Team and representing AYC at the regatta.
"I was really impressed with the wind," Coe said. "We were kind of scared, especially Wednesday morning when it looked like there wasn't going to be any at all, but it came in and I think everybody had a good time."
With scores of 2-1-2 in Tuesday's racing, Coe and Manion aced Wednesday's first race and were tied for first in their class with Severna Park sailor David Julian as they faced off for the fifth and final contest.
"In the last race I was just concentrating on staying in front of Dave," Coe said. "And then wewound up winning the entire fleet. On the downwind legs we really had to watch it, but upwind it was a matter of establishing the fleet position and then being able to hold it."
Coe said she and Manion have been sailing as a team for about two years and are looking forward to using the fruits of their sum
mer's work for the St. Mary's team. They want to help continue the assault on such important events as the High School Nationals, in which the St. Mary's team earned theright to compete a few months ago.
"We're the B team," Coe said. "Myles and Tracy Conway are the As. I think the team's going to be even stronger this year, especially because we've been working togetherso much this summer."
Severna Park sailor Steve Miernicki, representing Round Bay Sailing Association, was overall Optimist fleet champion, with impressive finishes of 2-1-3-1-1.
CBYRA Junior Openchampionship regatta
Optimist Overall (34 starters): 1) Steve Miernicki, Round Bay SA.
Red Fleet (Ages 13-15, 4 starters): 1) Steve Miernicki, RBSA; 2) Jonathan Foy, Severn SA; 3) Steven Miko, Annapolis YC.
Blue Fleet (Ages 11-12, 17 starters): 1) Travis Weber, Surf City, N.J.; 2) Parker Garrett, Fishing Bay YC; 3) Jane Delashmutt, Tred Avon YC.