This year's 117.8-mile Virginia Cruising Cup race from Annapolis to Hampton, Va., was an express train south with few slowdowns until morning for the seven-class, 55-boat fleet that left the starting line off the mouth of the Severn River Thursday between 11 a.m. and noon.
First over the finish line at the rock groin at Hampton was no real surprise to anyone. Jim Muldoon's Santa Cruz 70 Donnybrook arrived at 2:25 a.m. Friday with an elapsed time of about 14 1/2 hours, or about half the time it took last year for the first boat to complete the course. Even the last to finish, around 2 p.m. Friday, also beat last year's best time by at least two hours.
"We were hoping to set a new course record, because Donnybrook was in it this year," said sponsoring Hampton Yacht Club's Joe Hallissy. "But that's still held by Running Tide, still a couple of hours better than Donnybrook did this year."
Because Donnybrook has a negative rating, however, Muldoon owed everyone else in his seven-boat IMS I class hours of handicap time. He corrected into last, giving the Virginia Cruising Cup, awarded to the best overall IMS finisher, to Sanford Richardson of Virginia Beach for his victory in the same class with the crew aboard Kahuna.
Hallissy said that the fleet reported wind conditions ranging from 17 to 18 knots on down to two, although none of the possible thunderstorms that were expected materialized to liven things up.
"Then this morning, after all the big boats were in, after half the fleet was in, things really started slowing down," Hallissy said Friday afternoon. "We had a strong adverse current and real light wind, and from nine to 11 we only had two finishers."
Once more the top PHRF-fleet award, the Robert Raven Memorial Trophy for the best corrected time among all five PHRF splits, will be coming back up the bay to this area. This time PHRF B winner John Griffith of Shady Side, who finished a few minutes before 6 a.m. for a corrected time of 14:15, wins it with his Old Blue crew.
"I was glad to see John win that," Hallissy said. "He's very faithful about this race, has been doing it for years."
Hallissy expressed some disappointment at the turnout for the race, which once drew more than twice as many as came out this time. He added that this year, for the first time in several years, all of the starters finished the race.
The Hampton Yacht Club Trophy, for the winner of the largest class -- PHRF A-1 this year at 14 -- will stay in Hampton with HYC member Phil Briggs.
) Virginia Cruising Cup Provisional results IMS I (7 starters): 1. Kahuna, Sanford Richardson, Virginia Beach, 12:41:48 c.t.; 2. Promises, Sledd Shelhorse, Virginia Beach, 12:49:41 c.t.; 3. Avanti, Frank Shinco, Hampton, Va., 12:50:05 c.t.
IMS II (5 starters): 1. Southern Exposure, Kemper Sarrett, Hampton, 12:59:10 c.t.; 2. Battlewagon, John Hanna, Seaford, Va., 13:28:36 c.t.
PHRF A-1 (14 starters): 1. Feather, Phillip Briggs, Hampton, 14:49:10 c.t.; 2. Madam X, Orion Syndicate, Berwyn, Pa., 14:58:58 c.t.; 3. Atlantic Star, Ken Johnson, Hampton, 15:03:54 c.t.; 4. Shamrock, Bob Rock, Richmond, Va., 15:07:05 c.t.
PHRF A-2 (6 starters): 1. Wizbee, Don Landau, Deltaville, Va., 14:24:50 c.t.; 2. Cliff-Hanger, Ken Saylor, Hampton, 14:58:49 c.t.; 3. Triumph, Perry Jones, Richmond, 15:18:50 c.t.
PHRF B (10 starters): 1. Old Blue, John Griffith, Shady Side, 14:15:06 c.t.; 2. Smoke, Dan Smoker, Yorktown, Va., 14:53:07 c.t.; 3. Southerly, Fred Sage, Newport News, Va., 15:13:27 c.t.
PHRF C (10 starters): 1. Coup de Vent, Thomas Bernard, Hayes, Va., 16:00:31 c.t.; 2. Triple Dee III, Peter Driscoll, Beallsville, 17:52:14 c.t.; 3. Caldonia, E. M. Findley, Hampton, 17:58:55 c.t.
PHRF Nonspinnaker (3 starters): 1. Swift Creek, E. M. Engler, Hampton, 16:34:43 c.t.
Strong but shifty 10- to 15-knot southwesterly winds added challenge to the Eastport Yacht Club Independence Regatta on Friday, July 3, for the 18 small-boat teams competing in Snipes, Stars, 420s and Albacores.
The best performance in the regatta, a pair of aces in the six-boat 420 class, was turned in by skipper Brandon McDowell of Arnold and his crew Kris Honey.
, EYC Independence Regatta Snipe (5 starters): 1. Gilreath/Green, Alexandria, Va., 2.75 (2-1); Dull/Werblow, Annapolis, 5 (3-2); 3. Thompson/Eldridge, Towson, 6.75 (1-DNC).
Star (4 starters): 1. Oldak/Cantin, Annapolis; 2. Jackson/Jackson, [address unavailable]; 3. McLean/Reuter, [address unavailable].
International 420 (6 starters): 1. McDowell/Honey, Arnold, 1.5 (1-1); 2. Libby/Norwood, Annapolis, 5 (3-2); 3. Jarashow/Rajoon, [address unavailable], 6 (2-4).
Albacore (3 starters): 1. Byron/Bagemihl, [address unavailable], 3.75 (3-1); 2. Wallerstein/Oehnke, Washington, 3.75 (1-3).
The good news about this year's Northern Bay Race Week is that Havre de Grace sailmaker Max Skelley has agreed to put together a professional-quality race committee and run two races a day for next year's event.