ANNAPOLIS -- The combination of fluky wind in the final race yesterday and penalties for premature starting in one or more of the three races held Friday and Saturday led to upsets in the upper end of the J/24 East Coast Championships top-notch fleet and paid back a debt of sorts to Terry Hutchinson.
Hutchinson, who sailed a strong regatta last year only to los first place on a 20 percent premature starting penalty, topped this year's competitive field with finishes of 2-19-6-14 after being reinstated on a premature starting disqualification in Friday's race.
The team of brothers Gerard, Peter and Paul Coleman, Olympic hopefuls in the Soling class, placed 14th when their second-race premature start disqualification was upheld. Otherwise, they had consistently strong finishes, including a third, a fourth and an eighth.
"Last year, I really thought we deserved to win," said Hutchinson a two-time Collegiate Sailor of the Year and a native of Harwood now associated with Shore Sails Great Lakes in Traverse City, Mich. "This year was different, and I can really sympathize with the Colemans. I know how they feel. We got a lucky break when we were reinstated based on the evidence on the tape recording of the line judges' calls.
"Everybody we had to beat went left today," Hutchinson said "so the obvious choice was to go right on the last beat to try to beat Geoff [Moore] and hope for the best with Kirk. A tacking duel we had with Geoff up to the finish cost us a lot, but, fortunately, it all happened anyway."
Hutchinson, whose crew included Norfolk, Va., sailors Kevi Downey and Mitch Brindley, New Yorker Charlie Ulmer and Bruce Lockwood of Traverse City, tied on points for the lead with New York sailor Kirk Reynolds, but won the tie-breaker to take the championship.
America's Cup veteran John Wright, who led the regatta afte Saturday's two races, and his closest rival, Canadian champion Peter Allen, fell to fourth and fifth overall, respectively, with finishes of 31st and 30th yesterday.
Nevertheless, Wright, who lives near Philadelphia, became th top finisher from J/24 District 6, which includes Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, southern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. He earned the District 6 slot for the regatta to qualify for next October's J/24 World Championships in Annapolis.
The top team from regatta co-host J/24 Fleet 8 of Annapolis wa the Rainbo crew, headed by Peter Cramer and Bo McBee, who also have qualified for next year's Worlds by winning this year's Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association High Point title.
Final results, Race No. 4
1. JYD, Max Skelley, Havre de Grace; 2. US14, Tim McKegney, address unavailable; 3. Love Shack, Chris Larson, Clearwater, Fla.; 4. American Garage, Steve Ulian, Marblehead, Mass.; 5. Latent Defect, Stewart Spettel/Tim Mowry, Alexandria, Va./Annapolis; 6. Bangor Packet, Tony Parker, Washington; 7. PT Blister, Kirk Reynolds, Skaneateles, N.Y.; 8. Fancy That!, Paul Coleman, Coronado, Calif.; 9. KB10, Trevor Boyce, Hamilton, Bermuda; 10. Twisted Sisters, Sandy Grosvenor, Annapolis.
Overall final results
1. US3277, Terry Hutchinson, Traverse City, Mich., 41 points (2-19-6-14); 2. PT Blister, Kirk Reynolds, Skaneateles, N.Y., 41 (23-4-7-7); 3. Not To Worry, Geoff Moore, Portsmouth, R.I., 45 (10-17-1-17); 4. Kadamar, John Wright, Gulph Mills, Pa., 48 (1-2-14-31); 5. KC4457, Peter Allen, Toronto, 51 (6-10-5-30); 6. Bandit, Steven Hunt, Hampton, Va., 52 (8-1-28-15); 7. Rainbo, Bo McBee, Lancaster, Pa., 61 (24-8-3- 26); 8. Love Shack, Chris Larson, Clearwater, Fla., 61 (11-24- 23-3); 9. Dusty Work, Doug Clark, Annapolis, 80 (9-47-12-12); 10. Lead Sled, David Ferguson/John Loomis, Excelsior, Minn., 82 (4-25-40-13).