The Naval Academy's three-day Lloyd Phoenix Regatta last weekend hada new look, as it was sailed for the first time in Navy 44s, rather than the old academy yawls used since 1960.
Originally staged for local bragging rights, the regatta is held annually under the joint sponsorship of the U.S. Sailing Association (formerly USYRU) and the Naval Academy Sailing Squadron and serves as a USSA National Offshore Championship.
Five teams representing various USSA areas across the country, plus one from the academy, took part in the prestigious three-day event. Competition included paired round-the-buoys contests Friday and Sunday and a 27-mile distance race Saturday.
The regatta was won by the Area A team from the Hingham Yacht Club in Massachusetts. Skipper Steven Garland topped the tough fleet in very close racing throughoutthe event.
The academy team was headed by Mid. 1/C Kyle Weaver ofLowell, Ind., who normally skippers the academy's New York 36 Thunderbolt, and his executive officer, Mid. 2/C Oliver Vietor of Southport, Conn. They placed second in the regatta after a strong showing, including finishes of 1-4-2-2-3.
Weaver and his crew were selected torepresent Navy based on a combination of their season's CBYRA results and informal intramural practice competition held regularly over the past few months.
Third place went to the Area B team from the American Yacht Club in Rye, N.Y., headed by Garry Corwin Jr.
The Area C team, hailing from the Annapolis Yacht Club, was the successful IMS II crew from Bucentaur, headed by Ian "Tink" Chambers. This team placed fourth with finishes of 6-3-4-1-5.
Weaver's Navy team was off to a fine start with a victory in the regatta's first buoy race, with frustratingly light air, on Friday.
"That race, it was really just the start," Weaver said. "We had a nice committee-boat-end start with speed. Actually it was a pretty easy race, because the wind wasn't that shifty -- it was just light."
He pointed out that Garland's team normally competes in a Tripp 40 called Wired, and Corwin's crew sails a J/35 named Rosie. Both boats are considerably lighter in weight and quicker to accelerate in light air than a Navy 44, which gave the Navy team a slight edge in the lightest conditions.
One of the closest races of the regatta was Saturday's distance event, which took the fleet from R2 down to 83 off Tilghman Island and back again.
"The currents were the big thing on that one," Weaver said. "There was a lot of current coming out of the South River, and four of theboats just steered the course for the mark, which took them about 20degrees low. We stayed along the western shore with the Massachusetts team, and we were within three boat lengths of them the whole race."
In Sunday's racing, heavy air resulted in the Race Committee's call for a sail restriction prohibiting the use of genoas -- a call which could not be changed even as the wind suddenly lightened. That left the teams to struggle through the wispy breeze with small jibs andagain allowed the Navy team to do well in maneuvering their relatively heavy boat under reduced sail.
"The fleet was really tight," Weaver said. "The boats are really even as far as speed goes, but they can be hard to sail well in light air."
The regatta is named for Lloyd Phoenix, an 1861 Naval Academy graduate who served in the Civil War and was a witness to the historic battle between the Monitor and the Virginia.
After Phoenix resigned his commission in 1865, he turned his interests to yacht racing. The trophy for the regatta that bears his name, on display in the Sailing Hall of Fame at the academy's Robert Crown Sailing Center, is the cup he earned for winning the 1910 New York Yacht Club Cruise with his famous yacht Intrepid.
Lloyd Phoenix Regatta results
1. Area A, Hingham YC, Mass., Steven Garland, 10.5 pts. (3-1-1-4- 2); 2. USNA, Mid. 1/C Kyle Weaver, 11.75 pts. (1-4-2-2-3); 3. Area B, American YC, N.Y., Gerry Corwin Jr., 13.75 pts. (2-5-3-3-1); 4. Area C, Annapolis YC, Ian Chambers, 18.75 pts.(6-3-4-1-5).
EYC Christmas Lights Parade of Yachts
The early registration deadline of Friday for this year's Christmas Lights Parade of Yachts is upon us, so it's time to start seriously thinking about participating.
The Lights Parade, the Eastport Yacht Club and boating community's annual gift of colorful holiday joy to the area, isset for Saturday, Dec. 14, in Spa Creek and Ego Alley, with a mandatory skippers' meeting at 7 p.m. on the 12th at EYC.
Up to 60 holiday-decorated and brightly illuminated boats will be allowed to participate in the event. The more familiar awards include best small, medium, and large power and sailboats; best commercial sail and power entries; most illuminated; best spirit of Christmas; best overall and the special commodore's award. This year's event also will feature a new People's Choice award to be decided by popular vote of the spectators.