Rainbow Fleet No. 1 and the Annapolis Naval Sailing Association played host last weekend to the 29th annual Rainbow National Championshipregatta, with two races each of the first two days and a final series-ender on Sunday.
Nine teams took part, including two from the Naval Station and one from each of the other national fleets, in Lake George, N.Y., and Wilmette, Ill.
By the end of Saturday's contests, Annapolis-area archrivals Peter Gookin and the team on Ace of Spades and Bob Mewhinney and crew on Glass Harp were dead even at the top of the fleet, since each had scored a first and a second each day. That meant the championship would come down to the outcome of Sunday's fifth and final race of the series.
"It was a real barn-burner this time," Gookin said. "We knew we didn't need any more wins, we just had to finish ahead of Bob. On the last leg, Bob went out into the bay to try to shake us loose, and it took a lot of discipline to go out there with him, but we had to, even though there was still a little bit of flood current. (Joe Travers') Red Hot went right up the shore along Bay Ridge and came out ahead of both of us; they had to be ready to win the race once the door was open, and they did."
Gookin's second in the final race to Mewhinney's third decided the championship in Gookin's favor.
The Ace of Spades crew included Annapolitan Mark Gatlin and Tom Ryan of Towson.
The final race became even more exciting when the wing mark came loose and drifted away, but Race Committee chairman Maurice Pollard's quick action saved the day when he hurriedly moved and reanchored his committee boat in position to serve as the replacement mark.
"Maurice did his usual wonderful job," Gookin said.
A new award, named for the late Dr. Ray Brown, a veteran of 19 Rainbow Nationals, went to 1990 National Champion George Darrell of Wilmette as the sailorwho had traveled the farthest to support the regatta and the class.
The Rainbow class has its roots in Annapolis. The 24-foot boat wasdesigned by Sparkman & Stephens 30 years ago for Annapolis Sailing School founder Jerry Wood, who specified something that would be a good beginning trainer, a simply rigged daysailor for rental, and a lively and inexpensive one-design racer. The Annapolis Yacht Club's Frostbite series began using Rainbows chartered from the Sailing School asthe only class.
AH: 1991 Rainbow National Championship
1) Peter Gookin, Arnold, 48.5 pts. (1-2-2-1-2); 2) Robert Mewhinney, Annapolis, 47.5 pts. (2-1-1-2-3); 3) Joe Travers, Annapolis, 38.75 pts. (4-4-4-4-1).