When the Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis played host to the 1991 Tempest National Championships last weekend, the fleet of competitors was 15 starters strong, including sailors from as far away as Michigan, New England and New York.
And when the series ended last Sunday after a total of three races, Washingtonian Rene de la Rie, a dedicated member of the local SSA-based Fleet 4 -- the largest and most active Tempest fleet in the country -- emerged the clear victor bya comfortable margin of nearly six points over his nearest competitor, Dave McComb of Dearborn, Mich.
This, despite taking second in both of Sunday's Olympic-course races to McComb's aces that day, thanks to an outstanding performance in Saturday's single light-air triangle-course contest.
"We had a reduced series because of the weather conditions," de la Rie said. "Wehad very little wind on Saturday, which was very difficult to race in. It was very shifty, and it took hours to complete the race."
McComb and de la Rie are longtime friendly rivals. In the 1990 nationals, the two ended the four-race series in an unbreakable tie for first, as each had scored a pair of firsts and a pair of seconds. De la Rie was the victor in the 1989 event.
Crewing with de la Rie once again was fellow Tempest skipper and SSA member Ed White of Clinton.
"He's a good crew, and we've been lucky the last three years," de laRie said.
"The sixth place that Dave McComb took in the race on Saturday really hurt him overall. On Sunday, we had a lot more wind, and he, as usual, was a little bit faster than I am when it blows."
The native of the Netherlands said Saturday's racing was familiar tohim from his childhood, as well as from his years on the Chesapeake Bay.
"I enjoy sailing in shifty conditions," de la Rie said. "I grew up in Holland on a lake, so those are the kind of conditions I grew up with. On Sunday, it was more straight racing, when whoever is the fastest wins. I beat McComb in two starts, but I just couldn't keephim behind me because he is just a little faster."
For its devotees, the Tempest, a 22-foot keelboat that was an Olympic class in the 1970s before being replaced again by the Star, combines the best aspects of both big-boat and small-boat sailing.
Sailed by a team of two, the boat is quick and nimble and will plane on reaches with the spinnaker flying and the crew hiked out on a trapeze.
"It's a greatboat to sail," de la Rie said. "It's very fast and it races like a dinghy, but with the safety of a keelboat."
Sharing the course for the weekend with the Tempest championship was a four-boat fleet of Flying Dutchmen in an invitational regatta. Winner of that event was Guido Bertocci, with a competition-daunting string of three bullets.
TEMPEST NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Rene de la Rie, Washington, 6 pts. (1-2-2); 2. Dave McComb, Dearborn, Mich., 11.7 pts. (6-1-1); 3. Malcolm Lawson, Boylston, Mass., 19 pts. (2-4-4); 4. Dave Lavis, Arnold, 28.7 pts. (7-3-5); 5. Tom O'Hara, Alexandria, Va., 31.7 pts. (3-7-7).
FLYING DUTCHMAN INVITATIONAL
1. Guido Bertocci, Rockville, 0pts. (1-1-1); 2. Jeff Wrenn, (address unavailable), 9 pts. (2-2-2); 3. Martin Huppert, Washington, 19.4 pts. (3-3-4).
Maryland sailors showed the New Englanders what they were made of last weekend in Newport, R.I., when Glen Burnie sailor David Hoyt and his family won the Triton National Championships in tough competition.
Sailing with wife Eloise, daughter Sally and son John, as well as friend Marty Adkins, Hoyt was the victor by a 3.5-point margin over Newporter Dave Bradley, with Leb Brown of Silver Spring in third, just a quarter-point behind Bradley in the five-race series.
"It was a combination of things," Hoyt said. "We had a little luck and a very good crew. The crew really had a lot to do with it. It's the same crew we use inthe Chesapeake Bay races, so we have pretty good teamwork. And we had real good winds, with regular oscillations."
With breezes ranging from 10to 20 knots through the weekend, three of the five races were set on Narrangansett Bay, while two were outside in the Long IslandSound near the open Atlantic.
"It was our first time offshore," Hoyt said. "The wind was in the upper teens out of the northwest most of the time, so there were no really big seas, which was good for us."
The regatta was a round-robin affair in which each team switchedboats for each race. Hoyt suspected that a first-race sixth-place finish may have been attributed, in part, to the boat his team sailed for that event, because after that race their next three finishes werefirsts, followed by a second in the fifth and final race.
"We certainly enjoyed it," Hoyt said. "And our local fleet put on a good show."
TEMPEST NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
1. David Hoyt, Glen Burnie, 10.25 pts. (6-1-1-1-2); 2. Dave Bradley, Newport, R.I., 13.75 pts. (3-3-3-4-1); 3. Leb Brown, Silver Spring, 14 pts. (2-2-5-2-3).