IN VERY WINDY CONDITIONS — 18 to 20 knots -- at St. Mary's City last Sunday, 10 schools competed in a Middle Atlantic Scholastic Sailing Association regatta to earnthe right to compete in the SSA's national championships in May at the Naval Academy.
Top honors in the fleet went to Middle Township High School of New Jersey, represented by A team skipper Jay Koch andB team skipper Don Echevarria.
The team from St. Mary's High School in Annapolis, with the brother/sister team of Myles and Tracy Conway in the A Division and Karen Coe and Carolyn Manion sailing in B, placed second and also qualifiedfor the nationals.
Sailing in Flying Juniors in a wild six-race regatta managed by St. Mary's College, the fleet weathered numerous capsizes and a challenging test of skill against the winds and each other.
"They sent the A teams out first, and then they sent the B teams out, and when they sent the A teams out the second time, there were capsizes all over the place," Coe said. "After those two races, they decided to break for lunch and see what would happen later, and when we came back it wasn't blowing quite so hard and we were able to sail more races."
Coe said that the St. Mary's teams had been leading the regatta by a substantial margin until the final two contests inthe B fleet.
"In the first race of the last set, we were in second and then we capsized at the gybe mark and we were unable to right the boat, so we didn't finish," she said. "Then in the final race we were 50 feet from the finish line, on starboard, and we were in third place, but a port tack boat hit us -- that was the boat from Broadneck -- and we both capsized and neither of us finished the race, so those two races put 20 points on our score, and put us into second overall."
Coe and Manion recorded finishes of 1-4-3-1 in the first fourof their B races, while the Conways in A "just smoked, with a lot offirsts and seconds," Coe said.
"It was such an improvement over last year," she said. "We were really pleased at the end, even though we were soaking wet and freezing cold."
Sailing Broadneck to fourth place overall were teams headed by A skipper Dave Julian and his brother, Brad, in B.
MASSA Qualifying Regatta results
1) Middle Twp., N.J., 30 points.; 2) St. Mary's, Annapolis, 44; 3) Hill School, Pa., 52; 4) Broadneck H.S., Arnold, 53; 5) Rumson Fairhaven, N.J., 65.
The Naval Academy's Intercollegiate Sailing Team and the St. Mary's College Sailing Team made the cut and earned the right to compete in the collegiate Team Race Nationals with their finishes in the Mid-Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association's Team Race Championship qualifier last weekend on the East River at State University of New York Maritime College.
The nationals will be in June at the College of Charleston, in Charleston, S.C.
Nine intercollegiate teams sailed 50 races in the two-day round-robin qualifier. Conditions ranging from a nearly-ideal 8 to 12 knots under sunny skies on Saturday to a heavier blow in the 15- to 18-knot range on Sunday.
Navy'swinning team, headed by skippers Brad Rodi, Susie Minton and Willie Graves, sailed to an impressive 14-0 record, while St. Mary's logged in at 10-4, Old Dominion at 9-5, and Princeton 5-11.
Closer to home, Navy played host to the Dinghy Invitational for 12 teams from the Mid-Atlantic district in 420s and Flying Juniors.
Navy was first in the two-day event with a total of 86, while Old Dominion was secondwith 128 and Georgetown third with 148.
It was the second consecutive win for Navy's A Division sailors Mike Hartman and Melissa Jackson. The B Division was won by Navy's Dan Keck with crew Angela Luzierand Heather Stevens.
Twenty-five years ago, a 20-year-old sailor representing southern California's Newport Harbor Yacht Club wonthe prestigious Congressional Cup match-racing regatta in its third sailing at Long Beach Yacht Club.
Today that trophy, earned in 1967 by sailmaker Scott Allan, head of the Annapolis Doyle-Allan sail loft, sits in a place of honor in Allan's Annapolis home along with dozens of other mementos of an illustrious sailing career.
It clearlyproves that those who said 24-year-old Terry Hutchinson's win of theCongressional Cup last month made him the youngest skipper ever to win the regatta were incorrect.
"It was so many years ago that maybe even the Long Beach Yacht Club has forgotten about it," Allan said."But I think that in the period between 1967 and 1971 there were several of us who won it who were around the same age when we did it."
Although Allan is a transplanted southern Californian who has made his home in Annapolis for many years, and Hutchinson -- a native of Harwood -- currently lives in Michigan, Allan said he thought that local sailing talent was well-represented in this now-legendary "grandfather of match racing events."
"I think it's very interesting that now there are two of us from this area who have won it," Allan said, "and I was really glad to see that Terry had done it, too."
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.