Regatta's Lounge Act was a tough gig to follow


September 27, 1992|By Nancy Noyes

Once again the Gibson Island Yacht Squadron played host to the annual J/22 Mid-Atlantic Championship Regatta last weekend, when a fleet of 17 teams met on the bay near Baltimore Light for two days of hot competition.

Topping out some tough competition was Annapolitan Jim Hayes and his Lounge Act crew, including Doug Frazee, Laura Quarles and Kathy Duffy.

This team was already off to an impressive start at the end of the first day's competition, having taken bullets on Saturday in the first two races of the four-race series.

"It was kind of overcast and breezy," Hayes said. "I've always enjoyed sailing in more air rather than less, so for us it was a great day."

Despite such an auspicious beginning, Sunday was almost the day that wasn't, when Hayes and company nearly missed the start of the first race as they struggled to get across the bay to the starting line in light air.

"Basically we had to start racing at the 10-minute [warning] gun," Hayes said. "But we made it after all, with just a few seconds to spare, and we managed to get third in that race."

With the lead already in their grasp, the Lounge Act team still had another race to go, and luckily it could be a throwout, Hayes said.

"The last race was a disaster," he said. "We didn't even finish. About half the fleet couldn't finish the race, even after they shortened the course, because the wind had gone so light."

.` J/22 Mid-Atlantic Championship

1. Lounge Act, Jim Hayes, Annapolis, 4.5 (1-1-3-TRW); 2. That's Nice, Pete McChesney, Annapolis, 6 (TRW-2-2-2); 3. [no name], John White, Severna Park, 7.75 (4-3-1-TRW); 4. Sundance Jr., Bill Chambers, Fulton, 10.75 (5-5-TRW-1); 5. Double Nickel, John Sherwood, Annapolis, 14 (6-4-4-TRW).

With the Annapolis J/24 fleet up to its ears in preparations for the 1992 World Championships in November, this year's J/24 East Coast Championship, traditionally held at Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis, was moved.

It took place last weekend on the open Atlantic off Cape May, N.J., with Cape May's Corinthian Yacht Club as host.

The three-day, five-race regatta retained a certain Annapolis flavor, however, when the victor's laurels went to Naval Academy sailing coach Doug Clark and his team of mostly local talent on Dusty Work.

In a regatta where inconsistency was the rule rather than the exception, Clark and his crew were the only ones to post finishes all in the single-digit range, winning the regatta by a comfortable margin of more than seven points.

"This is the biggest win we've had so far," said Clark, who has been honing his efforts toward the upcoming Worlds. "We were really psyched, but we're not going to rest on our laurels. We owe it all to a lot of guys who've helped out all along."

Other Annapolis fleet sailors who went to Cape May for the East Coasts included Chris Larson and his Love Shack crew, finishing fourth in the 35-boat fleet; Bo McBee and his Rainbo team, ninth overall; Steve Hankin and his Predator crew in 20th and Tony Parker and his Bangor Packet team in 21st; Mike Hobson and company on Willy Whomper in 31st, and Ben and Carrie Capuco and crew on Show Dog in 33rd.

, J/24 East Coast Championship

1. Dusty Work, Doug Clark, Annapolis, 20.75 (7-4-6-3-1); 2. Kadamar, John Wright, Philadelphia, 28 (3-2-9-10-4); 3) Bandit, Steven Hunt, Hampton, Va., 30.75 (1-14-8-6-2); 4) Love Shack, Chris Larson, Annapolis, 32.75 (16-3-10-1-3); 5) Junkyard Dog, Max Skelley, Havre de Grace, 39.75 (20-1-2-2-15); 6) Twins, Zaleski/Zaleski, Stamford, Conn., 55 (2-12-15-5-11).

Annapolis sailor Jeff Todd and his Hot Toddy crew won the 1992 J/35 North American Championship sailed out of Ida Lewis Yacht Club in Newport, R.I., last Friday through Sunday.

Sailing with his wife Kim and father Steve, along with Chip Carr, Keith Sturn, Jason Walker, Jahn Tihansky, Chrissy McShane and Jay Kopp, Todd topped a highly competitive 31-boat fleet in the five-race, no-throwout event, in vindication for a near-miss in last year's event in Annapolis.

"The first day it was real foggy," Todd said. "We sailed out in the ocean in 10- to 15-knot breeze on windward-leeward courses with 2.5-mile beats. It was good racing -- you just couldn't see the weather mark. We tried to stay real conservative, and it really made the difference after all."

In the first race, for example, a premature start meant Newporter Dan Neri had to return to the line before continuing on. That put him in 20th at that finish and ultimately cost him the title when the Hot Toddy crew was able to beat him by a single point at the series' end.

"The second day we were out in the ocean again," Todd said. "During the first race a weak front came through and it got up to 19 or 20 true, but in the second race it got real light, a shifty northerly, and the Chesapeake Bay boats, who are used to that kind of condition, were 1-2-3 at one point."

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