The Annapolis InterClub Frostbite Fleet put together an exciting Midwinter Regatta on short notice last weekend on the wind-swept and frigid waters of Spa Creek between City Dock and the Severn Sailing Association.
The fast-paced sailing was action-packed and highly competitive, and offered great opportunities for spectators who caught theclose-in action.
A total of 14 two-boat teams, most from the Annapolis fleet and the Naval Academy, took part in the regatta, using a collegiate-type format in which the A and B crews for each team alternated on the course. Final overall results were calculated from the best combined performances of both crews on a given team.
With north-northwesterly breezes in the 10- to 25-knot range through the weekend, the six raceseach day for the A and B sailors were highlighted by several spectacular capsizes, which put the fleet's newly acquired gasoline-powered pump to good use in rescuing sailors and bailing out capsized boats.
Courses varied from modified double-triangles to modified Gold Cups.
The A and B teams' rotation on the course, with a couple of all-A races followed by a couple of B-team races, gave the sailors time to rest and warm up periodically before braving the stiff breeze and cold water again.
"We put it together with word of mouth the week before, and it just happened," said Regatta Chairman Doug Clark, who sailed to second in the A division with crew Elizabeth Graves, and combined his 59-point total with the 49 points scored by B division winners Scott Nixon and Samantha Rosemont to take top honors in the regatta.
"There were a lot of boats and really wild conditions," Clarksaid. "The level of competition was really amazing. In the fleet, wehad a former Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, nine collegiate All-Americans, a College Sailor of the Year, a former U.S. Youth Champion anda former Soling World Champion Crew, as well as a lot of other sailors who have done really well in regattas across the country. It was great."
Of the 14 pairs of boats racing, Clark said, only two skippers of the 28 competing did not capsize during the weekend, but equipment breakdowns were a problem for some sailors.
"There were a lotof breakdowns," Clark said. "It was bring-your-own-boat, so for the college sailors, if you had a breakdown, you were dead."
The regatta was close throughout, with the Clark/Nixon A/B team holding a slimlead most of the way. The lead was not secure, however, until Sunday's final set in each division.
Next behind the Clark/Nixon team were the team of A crew Hal Gilreath and Nancy Green and B crew Jasper Craig and Gail Haberlin, in second overall.
Third place overall was secured by Chris Larson and Victoria Ricketts, A division and overall regatta low-point winners with 43 points, teamed with John and Karen Fry sailing B.
"We had a great volunteer race committee, too," Clark said, giving special credit to Phil Richmond and John Boone. "The fleet looks forward to hosting this event next year."
The 12-foot InterClub catboats have long been in use on the collegiate sailingcircuit, where many of the local fleet members first met -- and learned to hate -- them.
The Annapolis InterClub Fleet began racing informally about three years ago and received official sanction as an SSA frostbite class in 1990. Shortly thereafter, the Naval Academy joined the fray with some new boats and uses the regular, less Sunday afternoon racing through the winter as a training and practice exercisefor midshipmen on the collegiate sailing team.
Ironically, some of the Annapolis fleet's most avid supporters are ex-collegiate sailors who sailed ICs in college regattas and swore they would never sail an IC again once their college days were over.
Fleet insiders claim that frostbiting the boats, affectionately called "InterTubs," is an acquired love, since they first seem to be heavy, mushy, rolly and stubborn -- the justification for their nickname.
With practice, however, the boats respond to finesse like any good dinghy, their aficionados claim, and tack and gybe quickly, making them excellent tactical boats in shifty winter breezes.
For more information on InterClub frostbiting, which continues out of SSA through March, contact Clark at 757-7376.
ANNAPOLIS INTERCLUB FROSTBITE
FLEET IC MIDWINTER REGATTA
A Division: 1. Chris Larson/Victoria Ricketts, Annapolis, 43 (5-2-1-7-2-1-8-1-1-7-4-5); 2. Doug Clark/Elizabeth Graves, Annapolis/USNA, 59 (BKD-BKD-8-1-6-3-7-9-6-5-2-2); 3. Bill Healy/Charlie Henry, USNA, 64 (5-1-9-10-7-2-10-5-2-4-5-4); 4. Hal Gilreath/Nancy Green, Alexandria, Va., 66 (7-9-4-2-11-4-3-2-3-9-3- 3); 5. Gavin O'Hare/Jennifer Jones, USNA, 74 (8-3-10-6-1-11-4-4-8- 5-6-5); 6. Ryan Cox/Liz Moxon, USNA, 80 (2-3-5-8-12-7-8-8-7-2-DNF- 3); 7. Bryan Fishback/Dave Krebs, Annapolis, 81 (4-4-4-2-3-9-6-2- 6-PMS-8-DNF-7); 8. Mark Fischer/Susan Taylor, Ruxton/Annapolis, 84 (3-7-6-9-5-5-9-7-4-10-8-11).
B Division: 1. Scott Nixon/Samantha Rosemont, USNA, 49 (1-4- 1-3-3-2-3-8-9-9-2-4); 2. Kin Yellott/Kin Yellott Jr., Baltimore, 58 (2-1-4-11-1-1-7-3-7-DNF-4-2); 3. Jasper Craig/Gail Haberlin, USNA, 60 (6-9-2-9-9-3-2-1-11-2-1-5); 4. Dave Dyson/Linda Dyson, (address unavailable), 63 (3-5-8-4-4-6-1-11-10-5-3-3); 5. Paul Murphy/Molly Hughes, Annapolis, 73 (10-3-6-7-5-4-8-6-4-7-7-9); 6. Sean Healey/Barb Beal, USNA,75 (4-2-3-6-DNS-5-10-4-6-3-8-8); 7. Tim Kelley/Heather Keane, USNA, 95 (11-DNF-7-1-DNF-8-6-9-8-4-5-7); 8. John Fry/Karen Fry, Bethesda, 96 (12-6-9-8-7-7-8-2-2-PMS-10-10).
OVERALL: 1. Clark/Nixon, 108 (59/49); 2. Gilreath/Craig, 126 (66/60); 3. Larson/Fry, 139 (43/96); 4. Healy/Healey, 139 (64/75); 5. Fischer/Yellott, 142 (84/58).
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.