CLASS WITH A CAPITAL C best describes the 1991 Cadillac Columbus Cup week of racing, which almost got off to a more exciting start than its world-class skippers might have wanted. (I should have known it was going to be an exciting day when I boarded the Prima "on the fly" from another boat. However, eight J-44s, skippered by the best names in racing, managed not to crash on starting line and competed in "The Race to Save the Bay," a benefit for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Although my shins are badly bruised from what seemed like hundreds of tacks, I had a wonderful time.
The Prima is owned by a delightful gentleman, Norwood Davis, from Richmond, Va., and was skippered by Buddy Melges, one of the primary skippers of the 1992 America syndicate. Gary Jobson, once the tactician for Ted Turner, who has taught sailing at the Naval Academy and who does color commentary for ESPN, calls Melges the most successful American skipper ever. Although Melges had three members of his 1992 challenge crew on board, Stu Argo, Bill Campbell and Jerry Kirby, we came in sixth. But Melges told me that "a good skipper never wins the tune-up, he just watches to see what the others are doing." The serious racing begins today and runs through Saturday.
Others on board were Trip Davis, whose dad owned the boat, and Trip works for the America's Cup syndicate as an alternate crew member and as the video man; Phil Smith, a political consultant; three reps from one of the race sponsors, Alex Brown & Sons -- Greg Barnhill, president of Op Sail; Alex Brown, who, along with his wife, Pokey, is among the hundreds of volunteers working to make this week of racing a complete success, and Ned Dukehart, who runs Alex Brown & Sons in West Palm Beach these days.
Nick Brown, director of the National Aquarium, donated his J-44, the Inoa, for the race. He skippered the Inoa recently and won the Fastnet, a major ocean race off Great Britain. But the boat that won the Bay Race was Equation, skippered by another racing legend, Jim Brady, who has captured an array of titles and awards during his career. I chatted with Ray Pierchocki, who was on the winning boat and who wanted me to remind one and all that he's chairing Kindergala again this year and they're trying a different format for this Kennedy Center fund-raiser. The gala will be held at Festival Hall during the Festival of Trees on Dec. 7.
Some of the people I saw at the Faidley's crab feast after the race were Sen. John Pica, Miguel Ferrer, "Spain '92"; Pat Raum, Cadillac; Will Baker, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation; Mary Sue McCarthy, Op Sail; and Rosalie Abrams, who introduced me to her brother, Sidney Silber, and his son, Doug, who runs the Downtown Sailing Club with his wife, Julia. The club is housed at HarborView Marina, also the home of the Columbus Cup races, and it's a club with a variety of services, from sailing lessons to sailboat leasing.
The world-class nature of this event is evidenced in the caliber of skippers and crews they have attracted, so you should really try to go down and see some of the races. There is a spectator boat service through Saturday, but do call 440-9395 for times of departure.
BOYS WILL BE BOYS. . . I'd like to extend my best wishes for a speedy recovery to an old friend, former U.S. Sen. Danny Brewster, who underwent a two-hour operation at Union Memorial Friday, where doctors stitched his Achilles tendon. He'll be in a cast from his toes to his knee for two months and then on crutches for several months.
The accident took place when Brewster, the 1941 captain of his football team at St. Paul's in Concord, N.H., tried to snag a football thrown by his 12-year-old son, Dana, who is trying out for quarterback at Calvert School. But you can't keep a good man down. Brewster left the hospital after the operation on Friday to attend his daughter Danielle's hockey game at St. Paul's School for Girls.
ANOTHER WELL--KNOWN Marylander will hopefully be out and about soon. He's the voice of Memorial stadium, Rex Barney, who sadly had to miss the last game at the stadium on Sunday. He's in Sinai Hospital, and everyone would like to say, "Thank youuuu" to Barney.
POLITICALLY ACTIVE: The RPAC committee of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors had a smashing black-tie party at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Timothy M. Rodgers last week. Guests of honor at this elegant dinner that had a price tag of $350 a couple or a life membership of $1,000 were Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley. Others on the real estate social scene last week were Adam D. Cockey, Otts and Melinda Davis, John and Marie Evans, Brandon and Linda Gaines, Nancy and John Hubble, Jeannie and Neil Pohlhaus, J. Hollis Albert and Kimberly Wolle, Jodi and David Albright, Karen Hubble Bisbee and Stephen Bisbee, Carol Bliss, Whit Harvey, Jane Holloway, and Edwin and Amy Warfield. Twas a good night for the socially active Realtors.