This year's Rhode River Boat Club Fall Series took place in a mixed bag of conditions ranging from cold and nasty to some of the most glorious fall weather imaginable.
The series, which started Nov. 2 and took place over the past three Saturdays, included five races, withtwo on each of the first two days of sailing, and a single 11-mile contest last weekend.
Turnout was somewhat disappointing, with only 15 boats in three classes, which Race Committee Chairman Herb Taylor attributed to burnout from the sanctioned season, which has just ended, but competition was keen across the board.
High-point scoring was used in the non-spinnaker series, which was contested on courses set around government marks in the Severn River.
Winning the PHRF A class was Olson 30sailor Albert Holt, newly arrived in the area from San Francisco with his Olson 30 Think Fast, while top honors in the combined PHRF B and C division went to Eugene Horn on his Elite 27 Jaguar.
Triton Fleet Captain Eleanor Holmes was the only Triton sailor to appear on the starting line all three Saturdays, including two weeks ago when racing took place in breezes in the 20s with temperatures in the low 40s, and she won the series' third class.
Although she and her Sea-Deuce crew were the only Triton starters that day, the Race Committee set them a special short course, which, when they had completed it, resulted in a gun nonetheless.
Rhode River BC also runs a popular spring preseason series of three Saturdays of racing, which will take place the first three weekends in April and are, as always, open to all comers.
Preseason tune-up opportunities are relatively rare, so that series is usually well-attended. Watch for notices early next year.
RRBC Fall Series results
PHRF A (4 entries): 1) Think Fast,Albert Holt, Washington, 18.2 pts.; 2) Roadrunner, John Heinz/Todd H1, Baltimore, 17.1 pts.; 3) Dear Friend, William Kar--, Annapolis, 12.7 pts.
PHRF B/C (6 entries): 1) Jaguar, Eugene Horn, Mitchellville, 29.3 pts.; 2) Limerick, Patrick Gorman, Annapolis, 28.0 pts.; 3) Second-2-Nun, Harry Gamber, Alexandria, Va., 19.4 pts.
Triton (5 entries): 1) Sea-Deuce, Eleanor Holmes, Great Falls, Va., 14.2 pts.; 2)Pylasteki, Leb Brown, Silver Spring, 10.7 pts.; 3) Winsome, Jack Hayes, Crofton, 6.4 pts.
The annual meeting of PHRF of the Chesapeake, which took place on Saturday, resulted in some big changes andsome things which will stay the same for the largest handicap racingdivision on the Chesapeake Bay.
The most sweeping change of all for PHRF sailors is the new system of division splits.
PHRF Region III is the largest of the four CBYRA regions, which runs from the Magothy River to the mouth of the Potomac on both shores of the bay, excluding Delaware.
The PHRF A Division will be separated into two classes, with PHRF A-1 consisting of boats rated up to 85, and PHRF A-2made up of those rated from 86 to 118.
PHRF B will be for boats rated 119 to 157, and PHRF C for those rated 158 or greater.
In allother CBYRA regions, PHRF A will be a single class consisting of allboats rated up to 118, but the other splits will match those in Region III.
Jack Quinn, PHRF vice president for CBYRA Regions I-III, said a new feature next year will affect a competitor's ability to select the CBYRA region in which he or she will be scored for High Point.
In the past, the results for every race in which a yacht/owner took part were scored and totaled on a bay-wide basis, with the highest-scoring yacht/owner in each region the winner for that region. Italso was required that to qualify for High Point, a yacht/owner must have been scored in a minimum of five sanctioned races in his declared region.
These requirements have not changed; however, the new ruling will allow a competitor to declare a region of his own choosing, which is not determined by the geographic location of his or her primary yacht club, as it was in the past.
Another important topic addressed at the meeting was how to allow for the use of gennakers, or asymmetrical fixed-tack racing spinnakers similar to those used on an International America's Cup Class boat, an Ultimate 30, or an International 14, for example.
"It's going to be experimental this year," Quinn said, explaining that a commitment one way or the other, for either a conventional spinnaker system or a gennaker, will have to be made at the start of the season and cannot be changed in midseason.
A gennaker, attached to a bowsprit-type arrangement at the tack and to the mast at the head, must be free-flying; wire luffs will not be allowed. In addition, oversized poles of any type will incur a penalty, just as they have in the past.
Quinn said that of the other major issues that were discussed, no changes were made. He explained that a move had been made to make PHRF-Nonspinnaker somewhat more restrictive to reduce what has been perceived as growing professionalism inthis class, but that this had been left as it was.
In addition, aclass-specific prescription to IYRR 76.1, a form of the prescriptionadopted by US SAILING (formerly USYRU) covering responsibility for damages incurred while racing, was rejected on the basis that the national authority's prescription was sufficient.
A move to eliminate the bonus points for point-to-point distance races in the High Point scoring system also failed.
Nancy Noyes is a member of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association and has been racing on the bay for about five years. Her Sailing column appears every Wednesday and Sunday in the Anne Arundel County Sun.