Strong Winds Propel Frostbite Series To A Big Finish

SAILING

Breezes Averageabout 15 Knots For 14 Races

March 04, 1992|By Nancy Noyes

The second half of the Annapolis Yacht Club's popular Frostbite Series, which began on Jan. 5, ended Feb. 23 after 14 races had been completed.

"It was very good sailing, some of the best I've seen," said PHRF 3 winner Les Toeplitz. "The entire series I think it averaged about 15 knots, and we had probably the strongest wind I can recall racing in on the bay.

"One day when we went off, it had to be blowing 30 to 35. And thewhole eight weeks we didn't get any precipitation while we were racing, but we did have to shovel some snow off the boat once or twice."

Sailing Wizard to victory with Toeplitz were Peg Bowden and Per Struck.

Because the PHRF splits for the Frostbite Series are set by the race committee when the series begins and are not dependent upon official season splits sanctioned by PHRF of the Chesapeake, Toeplitzfound himself in the unusual position of being the boat with the smallest handicap allowance in the 16-boat frostbite division.

"It was my first chance at being scratch boat in a fleet, because I'm usually buried in PHRF C, so it was a different kind of racing for us," Toeplitz said. "It went back and forth quite a bit, especially with theCal 25s, which are surprisingly competitive. It seemed like every time we looked back, there were the guys on Chicken Little, for example, coming up behind us. The Catalina 27s were also very tough, also always up in there. It was a great series."

Two races each Sunday afternoon went off through the first six weeks before only a single race could be run on each of the last two days.

"The worst wind situation of the whole series was the very last race," Toeplitz explained."It was so light the second race had to be abandoned for lack of wind. Ironically, the week before they abandoned the first race because of too much wind."

Toeplitz, who had not competed in an AYC frostbite series before the 1991-1992 season, said that for him one of the most memorable features of the racing was the starting area, located off the Naval Academy seawall at one of the two monumental light standards.

"I really like the format, short and sweet, with two races a day and a break in between," he said. "But what's really rough is the seawall, which cuts off one side of the line and doesn't leave anyroom to bail out or make mistakes. It's probably the most difficult starting situation I've ever been exposed to."

Because the series passed the 12-race mark, each racer's two worst finishes were discarded from his final score. Like several others, Toeplitz and his crew were rewarded for their tenacity with the ability to throw out a fifth-race premature starting disqualification and their second-worst finish, a sixth in the ninth, which moved them from second before throwouts into first overall.

Another class winner who moved up from second after throwing out premature starts was PHRF 2 first-half winner Elliott Oldak and his crew on the Naval Academy's New York 36 Decoy, which had languished at the Naval Station as a parts boat for five years before a quick and simple refit put it back in action.

The Decoy team was first in the highly competitive 26-boat class by 27 pointsafter dropping PMS disqualifications in the fifth and 10th races.

In this class, a points tie for second between two J/30 sailors broke in favor of Ron Peterson and his Valkyrie team, with three second-place finishes over the Sea Biscuit team headed by Dorsey Owings and John Aras with one.

Because Oldak and the Decoy team were the only PHRF team to win both halves, and topped out the largest class both times, they appear to be the prime candidates for the overall PHRF fleet trophy, which will be announced later in the spring.

In the tight J/22 class, each of the top three finishers held three aces in their final hands, but there were no starters in the second-to-last week's heavy-air 13th race. That earned all of them 20-point DNCs as a common throwout. And that was enough to move the team of Jim Hayes and Bob McKay into first when they were able to drop a ninth-race premature start.

Starting-line mayhem in close quarters near the seawall in this class' 11th race, resulting in a damaged boat that kept him off the course for two weeks, effectively blocked an end run for the top for first-half winner John Sherwood and his Double Nickel team. That put them in fourth behind the Libby Syndicate's No Problem and theMurray/Robinson Syndicate's Tight Squeeze.

In several other classes, the winners had no worries about other competitors gaining an advantage after the drops.

Pearson 30 winner Art Holmes on Sherlock got the gun in every race he started, scoring an almost incredible 13 bullets out of 14 races and forcing him to discard one of his aces ashis second throwout.

First-half MORC winner Bob Reeves and the crew on his Laser 28 A Train did it again, with conviction this time, and aced nine races in the second half to win his class by a margin ofnearly 14 points.

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