Light air and sweltering temperatures made this year's back-to-back Annapolis-to-Miles River Race on Saturday and Miles River Race Back on Sunday difficult to the point of impossibility for the bulk of the 15-class fleet of more than 150 boats.
Only a handful of competitors could complete either event.
None of the competitors in the seven classes using Saturday's Miles River Yacht Club 24-mile course from Annapolis to the Miles River could complete the race within the 10-hour time limit.
Only 28 of the 39 starters in five of the eight classes using the more direct 17-mile course were able to finish in time.
Most successful as a class were the Catalina 27s, in which 13 teams started and 10 finished the contest.
All of the starters in the four-boat PHRF Nonspinnaker and equally sized Multihull divisions also were able to finish in surprisingly tight competition, and the remains of the fleet limped over the finish line.
Top dogs among the Catalinas were Bruce Johnson and his crew aboard Pussycat, although even this valiant effort, and those of the other finishers, was not enough to make the race count toward computation of the season's CBYRA High Point scores. Pussycat's average speed was only about 1.75 knots over the length of the course, falling below the required 2-knot minimum.
Johnson attributed his victory to "toughing it out" in long periods of dead air and some "sheer luck" in finding wind shifts and elusive wind lines to carry him over the finish line first.
"It was interesting, but it was tough, since the wind was so unpredictable," Johnson said. "The big boats started first, and they all drifted over to the west [side of the course]. We went east right off the bat, but we didn't go far enough east, as it turned out. The wind lines were extreme, and we rounded the first mark about fifth."
As the next phase of the race, which had begun as a spinnaker reach, gradually turned into a downwind run, Johnson said, "We had taken a more radical gybe early in the leg, which put us behind again, but fortunately for us the wind went aft, and we were able to gybe over. We were first around N'4' [in the Eastern Bay], and then we hit the wall -- we went in there and just sat and sat, and we could see the finish line in the distance."
Johnson said that he knew the time limit for High Point had run out, although there was still time on the clock for the race. He normally throws in the towel with the High Point limit, but he was still in fairly tight competition with at least four other Catalinas and decided to try to finish the race.
"There was a wind shift, and [Mark Oursler's] Merlin, who had sailed just a brilliant race, got ahead of us when we got the header. I finally had to tack away, but we got a wind line and won it, with about five minutes left on the time limit," he said.
In Sunday's Maryland Capital Yacht Club Miles River Race Back, only five of the 132 starters could finish the 17.6-mile course before the 5 p.m. time limit as conditions repeated themselves.
-! MRYC Miles River Race results
PHRF Nonspinnaker (4 starters/finishers): 1. King Nummy, Don Breder, Dresher, Pa., 9:07:48 c.t.; 2. X-Citation, Clarke Slaymaker, Alexandria, Va., 9:23:03 c.t.; 3. Option Play, Daniel Jensen, Greenbelt, 9:27:38 c.t.
Triton (10 starters/5 finishers): 1. Overdraft, David Hoyt, Glen Burnie, 9:52:13 e.t.; 2. Inka, Hugh Kabler, Claiborne, 10:06:09 e.t.; 3. Sandpiper, Chris Gordon, Chevy Chase, 10:07:00 e.t.
Pearson 30 (8 starters/5 finishers): 1. Knotbobs, Dan Miller, Baltimore, 9:31:15 e.t.; 2. Conatus, Rick Warren, Annapolis, 9:31:40 e.t.; 3. Constellation, Henry Starr, Silver Spring, 9:37:18 e.t.
Catalina 27 (13 starters/10 finishers): 1. Pussycat, Bruce Johnson, Bowie, 9:51:37 e.t.; 2. Finnegan's Wake, John O'Brien, Pasadena, 9:52:29 e.t.; 3. Merlin, Mark Oursler, Severna Park, 9:53:01 e.t.; 4. Swell, Derick Lynch, Arnold, 9:54:58 e.t.
Multihull (4 starters/finishers): 1. Fast Break, Tom Linton, Riva, 8.6369 c.t.; 2. Trilogy, David Way, Friendship, 8.7543 c.t.; 3) Frisky, Margery Ware, Bethesda, 8.8207 c.t.
* MCYC Miles River Race Back
PHRF A-1 (11 starters/1 finisher): 1. Infringer, Donald Zinn, Annapolis.
PHRF A-2 (13 starters/3 finishers): 1. Mountain Lion Eater, George Prout, Grasonville; 2. Trepidation, Tom Carrico, Arnold; 3. Fin-Esse, Alan McMillan, Rosslyn, Va.
MORC (7 starters/1 finisher): 1. Cat's Paw, Butch Minson, Annapolis.
Race mark changes to CBYRA's Region II chart in the 1992 Green Book were mailed to all Region I, II and III members last Friday, intended to arrive in time for this weekend's Gibson Island Yacht Squadron Spring Series and Love Point-Swan Point Cup event.
In summary, these revisions, which affect at least half of the Region II and Patapsco River racing marks specified in the Green Book, are the result of the issue by NOAA of the April 1992 revision to Chart No. 12278, and consist primarily of official designation and characteristic changes.