The "official" sailing season for handicap and cruising one-design racers has come to an end for another year for just about everybody.
The Glenmar Sailing Association's Frigid Digit series over Nov. 2-3is the last sanctioned event listed in the CBYRA Green Book countingtoward annual High Point scores.
But this hardly means that the year's sailing is over.
The interesting thing about November on the Chesapeake is that the water still retains some warmth, and the days are often quite temperate beforethe thermometer takes a drop at sunset.
So in combination with what are generally excellent breezes, this is actually a perfect time of year to cap off -- or continue -- a sailing season of cruising or racing with some fine and memorable experiences.
For those who've had their fill of racing for the year, or don't indulge even in season, this is an especially fine time for a cruise.
Anchorages on picturesque creeks and coves now are more typically filled with flocks ofmigrating waterfowl than herds of one's fellow cruisers. The EasternShore's lovely historic towns are substantially emptied of high-season crowds of tourists, and there's something really special about waking up on a crisp and clear fall morning, riding the anchor quietly in a remote and beautiful spot.
For the die-hards with racing in their blood, and for those who may be new to the sport or are simply looking for lower-key competition than is found during the regular season, postseason frostbiting is a time-honored tradition.
The Rhode River Boat Club's Fall Series, traditionally planned and executed fora hearty, healthy-sized fleet as a last-gasp-before-winter regatta in a related fashion to the club's preseason Spring Series in April, begins next Saturday. It runs for three weeks on the Severn River, with the last race on the 16th.
Like nearly all frostbite-type events, the non-spinnaker series is not sanctioned for High Point. The relatively relaxed competition is meant to be just plain fun, one last good time on the race course before winter sets in and boats go up on cradles to wait it out while their owners plan strategies for next year.
PHRF splits already are definitely on the agenda for the series, and the organizers say they will offer cruising one-design starts for classes of three or more per COD class.
Herb Taylor, RRBC's race committee chairman, is the man to contact for information and the race circular, at 721-6077.
Then, of course, there's the Annapolis Yacht Club's venerable Frostbite Series, a two-part, multi-week eventthat runs into late February or early March. The First Half ends just before the Christmas holidays and the Second Half, scored separately from the first, starts up again just after New Year's.
The format is similar to AYC's Wednesday Night Series during the spring and summer, although the starting area is off the Naval Academy seawall rather than out in the Severn. Two races are scheduled each Sunday afternoon, crews must stay in the cockpit, and use of spinnakers and otherheadsail changes are not allowed.
This year's series begins on Nov. 3 following registration and a skippers' meeting at the club at noon that day. It will have starts for three PHRF divisions -- MORC, Pearson 30s, J/24s and possibly J/22s as well, depending on the number of '24s and '22s registered, said AYC's special events race committeechairman Dan Spadone.
Although it can be tough on the race committee, who must get through a multi-class starting sequence at the academy and then rush back to the finish at AYC before the fleet gets in from its short course race, the series is excellent for shoreside spectators. The starting line is so close to the seawall and the coursesare within a fairly confined area of the Severn River before turningup into the creek for the final leg, offering a closer view of the action than is usually available.
The finish-line excitement can bejust as intense, even with the smaller fleet, since the line is up in Spa Creek in front of the club and, especially after the first of the day's two races, competition for prime rafting-up space on the club docks is also a key feature as sailors -- inside for a warm-up cup of soup or a quick beer between races.
Due to tight logistics in the always popular event, the series is an invitational event open to skippers from AYC, Severn Sailing Association or Naval Academy-rated yachts from the Naval Academy Sailing Squadron.
There's also an excellent Frostbite Series up on the Magothy River, running through thefirst four Saturdays of November, with a single race each day.
The PHRF-rated series is sponsored by the Magothy River Sailing Association, and is open to members of MRSA, the Cape St. Claire Yacht Club,the Potapskut Sailing Association and others who may be interested.
For more information or to register, call race committee chairman Ron Conklin at 437-3451.