SOLOMONS -- Yesterday morning was calm off the mouth of the Patuxent River, prompting a long postponement in the Audi-Yachting Race Week at Solomons Island.
But shortly after noon, a weak southerly came in and built to a steady 8 knots, and the day's race went on with a windward-leeward contest.
Classes A through C, containing the largest and fastest boats, sailed an 8-mile version of the course, while the other three classes sailed to a closer windward mark for a 6-mile version.
In the 13-boat IMS class, Division B, it was the fifth straight win for the Norfolk, Va.-based team of Gray Kiger and Gene Thayer on their Tripp 40, Fatal Attraction. This earned them the Yachting Magazine Chelsea Clock Award for the best score in the fleet.
"We sailed the last race as clean as we could," said North sailmaker Ken Saylor of Hampton, Va., helmsman for the team. "We've been fast all week, and we had good crew work -- we actually got applause for our spinnaker set today -- and after [Audi-Yachting Race Week at] Block Island, where we sailed against five other Tripps, it's just automatic now. We know what works and what doesn't by now, and we know how to shift gears with the boat and keep it going."
Winner of the Audi Quattro Performance Award was Haarstick sailmaker Jim Cullen of Annapolis, who sailed Ciao, an S2 9.1 chartered for the event from Shep Kaplow of Owings Mills, to the top of his 13-boat Division E PHRF class with the largest corrected time margin over the second-place boat of any class winner in the fleet.
"The regatta was fun," Cullen said. "We had great crew, awesome crew work, a fast boat, and a great tactician in Tom French. The crew got their moves greased up during the week, and we had good luck and all that other good stuff."
Ciao crossed the finish line in yesterday's race well in front of her competition.
"The right side of the first beat was soft and you couldn't get hung out there," Cullen said. "We got out again, won the start, and stayed out there, and then we were lucky. We got a nice window with the big boats at the leeward mark, which was pure timing and luck."
Other big winners included the St. Mary's College team headed by Mike Ironmonger on the school's Briand 50 Gem in Division A, Glenn Robbins of Severna Park and his team of regulars on his Farr 37 Witch in Division C, the Annapolis-area team of David Lewis and Fred Salvesen on their J/29 Mirage in Division D, and Russ Deane of Annapolis and the crew on his Merit 25 Chardonnay in Division F.
"It was a great regatta," Deane said. "What made it especially interesting was that there was basically even competition among all those boats in our class. Today's race was literally one of the best I've ever been in. The lead changed hands at least four times. It was an exciting race, and right up until the last beat it was impossible to tell who would finish first."
"We were really prepared for the series," Robbins said. "We had the boat pulled beforehand, and worked on the blades, we had four new sails, and our crew work was really good. We had the same 11 people all week, and the core was basically people I sail with all the time. Every day our starts were good, and it just worked out."
RACE 5 RESULTS
Division A PHRF--1. Gem, Mike Ironmonger, St. Mary's City, 1:37:46 c.t.; 2. Loose Change, Becky Miller, Hampton, Va., 1:38:01 c.t.; 3. Chesapeake, Seward Lawlor, Hampton, Va., 1:38:53 c.t.; 4. Patriot, Larry Lehner, York, Pa., 1:39:51 c.t.; 5. Kapey, Steve Perkins, Berwyn, Pa., 1:41:26 c.t.
Division B IMS--1. Fatal Attraction, Gray Kiger/Gene Thayer, Norfolk, Va., 0:41:37 c.t.; 2. Ichiban, Jim Allsopp, Arnold, 0:42:03 c.t.; 3. Battlewagon, John Hanna, Seaford, Va., 0:44:59 c.t.; 4. Promises, Sledd Shelhorse, Virginia Beach, Va., 0:45:10 c.t.; 5. Sea Star, Vernon Eberwine Jr., Suffolk, Va., 0:46:12 c.t.
Division C PHRF--1. Prelude, Mark Myers, St. Mary's City, 1:41:57 c.t.; 2. Firebrand, James Rogers, Richmond, Va., 1:45:55 c.t.; 3. Madam X, Jerry Dowling/Orion Syndicate, 1:46:36 c.t.; 4. Witch, Glenn Robbins, Severna Park, 1:47:07 c.t.; 5. Vamp, William Nicolls III, Newport News, Va., 1:48:27 c.t.
Division D PHRF--1. Terrific, Olaf tom Felde, Annapolis, 1:15:17 c.t.; 2. Busted, Thomas Whittle, Chester, Va., 1:16:54 c.t.; 3. Mirage, David Lewis/Fred Salvesen, Annapolis/Edgewater, 1:17:40 c.t.; 4. Stingray, Robert Muller, Annapolis, 1:17:42 c.t.; 5. Rhumb Punch, John Edwards III, Seaford, De., 1:17:52 c.t.
Division E PHRF--1. Ciao, Jim Cullen, Annapolis, 1:14:38 c.t.; 2. Southerly, Fred Sage, Newport News, Va., 1:19:52 c.t.; 3. Flying Circus, Jervis Dorton, Columbia, 1:19:58 c.t.; 4. Kestrel, Stewart Buckler Jr., Avenue, 1:22:53 c.t.; 5. Slick, Dean Mulder, Bowie, 1:23:27 c.t.
Division F PHRF--1. Marmalade, Mark Hergan, St. Mary's City, 1:25:26 c.t.; 2. Chardonnay, Russ Deane, Annapolis, 1:25:36 c.t.; 3. Satori, Richard May, Baltimore, 1:26:03 c.t.; 4. Chandelle, Barney Hathaway, Great Mills, 1:26:11 c.t.; 5. Bon Temps, David Butler, Hollywood, 1:30:06 c.t.