Although the breeze climbed briefly into the 8-knot range, by 1 p.m. it virtually had vanished off the mouth of the Patuxent River, about halfway between the windward and leeward marks. Boats to the north of the massive glassy-water hole were using spinnakers to head south toward the finish of the abbreviated 10.3-mile Olympic triangle course, while those south were holding chutes to head north to what ostensibly still was the weather mark.
The dying and confused air was the result of a conflict between the morning's prevailing northerly and a building southerly thermal as the surrounding land heated up. It caused upsets and created opportunities for comebacks throughout the 72-boat fleet.
Others survived through sheer patience and will, notably Annapolis sailor Olaf tom Felde and the crew on his New York 36 Terrific. They came from behind to top out their 12-boat Division D by more than 5 minutes.
"On the first leg we were a little bit behind, because we went right, not left," tom Felde said, "but the boat does extremely well in light air, so we had our wind conditions, and we paid attention to the other boats, and to the wind. We had a lot of good tactics, and excellent crew work."
Annapolis sailmaker Jim Scott, aboard Terrific, attributed the win to "patience and not getting excited. We just kept plugging away at the thing. On the last leg we came around the mark and fell off to keep the spinnaker working, and I think we made up a lot with that. We caught up a lot of boats just by staying low, and we got some good boat speed."
The final race of the series is set for today.
Division A PHRF (10 starters)--1. Gem, Mike Ironmonger, St. Mary's City, 2:34:09 c.t.; 2. Tigress, Bob Waldschmitt, Solomons, 2:36:45 c.t.; 3. Chesapeake, Seward Lawlor, Hampton, Va., 2:38:28 c.t.; 4. Patriot, Larry Lehner, York, Pa., 2:42:58 c.t.; 5. Loose Change, Becky Miller, Hampton, Va., 2:48:27 c.t.; 6. Sweet Witch, Brent Halsey, Richmond, Va., 2:48:30 c.t.; 7. Kapey, Steve Perkins, Berwyn, Pa., 2:53:52 c.t.; 8. Blizzard, J. Lipscomb/G. Garrett, 2:57:45 c.t.; 9. Sundog, Paul Parks, Shady Side, 2:57:46 c.t.; Inside Trader, Trevor Underwood, New York, NY, DSQ.
Division B IMS (13 starters)--1. Fatal Attraction, Gray Kiger/Gene Thayer, Norfolk, Va., 0:44:43 c.t.; 2. Promises, Sledd Shelhorse, Virginia Beach, Va., 0:54:21 c.t.; 3. Sea Star, Vernon Eberwine Jr., Suffolk, Va., 0:56:36 c.t.; 4. Crescendo, Stephen Hiltabidle, Annapolis, 0:57:41 c.t.; 5. Revenge, Bill Peach, Newport News, Va., 0:58:01 c.t.; 6. Ichiban, Jim Allsopp, Arnold, 1:02:39 c.t.; 7. Cash Flow, Lloyd Griffin, Elizabeth City, NC, 1:03:38 c.t.; 8. Battlewagon, John Hanna, Seaford, Va., 1:08:04 c.t.; 9. Southern Exposure, Kemper Sarrett Jr., 1:09:11 c.t.; 10. Yellow Jacket, Mark Bennett Jr., Annapolis 1:13:50 c.t.; 11. Rayzor's Edge, Ray Webb/David Van Cleef, Lexington, Ky., 1:17:00 c.t.; 12. Sounion, Charles Sullivan, University Park, 1:17:15 c.t.; Kahuna, Sanford Richardson, Virginia Beach, Va., DSQ.
Division C PHRF (11 starters)--1. Firebrand, James Rogers, Richmond, Va., 2:57:13 c.t.; 2. Witch, Glenn Robbins, Severna Park, 3:01:00 c.t.; 3. Chunky, Richard Schmidtlein, Annapolis 3:01:04 c.t.; 4. Prelude, Mark Myers, St. Mary's City, 3:03:13 c.t.; 5. Madam X, Jerry Dowling/Orion Syndicate, Philadelphia, 3:06:42; 6. Shamrock, Bob Rock, Richmond, Va., 3:12:09 c.t.; 7. Blue Max, Paul Mraz, Elkton, 3:12:36 c.t.; 8. Vamp, William Nicolls III, Newport News, Va., 3:15:15 c.t.; 9. Cody, Sandy Morse, Washington, DC, 3:19:52 c.t.; 10. Ka Boom, Jeff Craig, Nokesville, Va., 3:44:16 c.t.; Ariel, Richard Gaglio, Chalfonte, Pa., DNF.