The three-week Rhode River Boat Club's Spring Series, with competition every Saturday since April 10, concluded last weekend for a fleet of 38 boats racing in six classes, a turnout race committee chairman Norman Baldwin said was the biggest in recent memory for the preseason warm-up series.
PHRF splits based on turnout are a standard part of the series, but regatta organizers also are very cooperative with other groups wanting a one-design or other class start. This year's three PHRF divisions were augmented by separate classes for Alberg 30s and Tritons, as well as a unique level-racing class for J/92s and J/105s in combination.
Four each of the '92s and '105s signed up and raced boat-for-boat without handicap. Although the series was won by Bill Sutton and the crew on his '105 Blonde Attack, second and third went to a pair of the smaller '92s -- Glenn Robbins' White Lie and George Collins' Wind Sprint.
The series came down to one race a day on the first and last Saturdays of the series, with two races completed the second week, using government-mark courses in the Severn River from Quickflash '15' off the Naval Station to AH'1' and C'1' at Hacketts Point.
"We had some of the most interesting racing the first week, when some of the boats got lost in the fog and ended up off Bay Ridge," Baldwin said. "Then the next week it was blustery, and we got two good races in."
Last weekend the fleet bobbed around in dead air for more than an hour's postponement before a light southerly breeze came in and the final race could begin.
A ripping ebb current complicated things, as did large windless holes and a weird wind shift to the northeast in mid-race, before the race committee shortened the course.
Although the Alberg 30 class was small, competition was intense. Harry Gamber and his Second-2-Nun crew vied with Pat Gorman and his team on Limerick until each crew had accumulated two firsts and two thirds.
Gamber won the first race of the series, but Gorman went on to take the next two guns. Then, when Gamber aced the final contest last weekend, he took the overall win on the tiebreaker.
. RRBC Spring Series results J/105 & J/92 (8 entries): 1. Blonde Attack, Bill Sutton, Arlington, ..
2. White Lie, Glenn Robbins, Severna Park; 3. Wind Sprint, George Collins, Gibson Island.
PHRF A (6 entries): 1. Wild Thang, Bill Chambers, Fulton; 2. Accomplice, Chuck Koyer, Annapolis.
PHRF B (7 entries): 1. Mountain Lion Eater, George Prout Jr., Severna Park; 2. Irish Wake, Jack Biddle, Annapolis; 3. Mischief, Bingman/Teague, Arlington, Va.
PHRF C (9 entries): 1. Finnegan's Wake, John O'Brien, Pasadena; 2. Airborne, Cary Garman, Centreville; 3. Zesty, Yost/Harman, (address unavailable).
Alberg 30 (3 entries): 1. Second-2-Nun, Harry Gamber, Alexandria, Va.
Triton (5 entries): 1. Sandpiper, Chris Gordon, Chevy Chase; 2. Sea-Deuce, Eleanor Holmes, Great Falls, Va.
Speed Circle a hit
By the end of last weekend the Sailing World Speed Circle had drawn 33 contenders, each working to be the best in one of five classes, in the Severn River off of the Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis.
Sailing World brought the hardware and the scoring system, and Sunfish Laser Inc. and Kyle Gross of Annapolis Performance Sailing brought the boats -- two new Lasers.
Best overall in terms of elapsed time was Chris Larson of Annapolis, who sailed around the eight-armed floating circular obstacle in just under 36 seconds in Sunday's cooperative breeze.
Scott MacMullan of Arnold was the first in Junior class, with Jeffrey Roberts of Potomac second. Annapolitan Gary Jobson topped the over-35 Masters class and Scott Greenbaum of Baltimore was second.
Best in the women's division was Diane Burton of Annapolis, with Karen Long of Edgewater second.
In the Open class, Gross was first, with Larson second.
Scoring worked a bit like a bell curve. Each competitor tried the circle at least three times, and the total times for all runs by all competitors -- in each wind condition -- were added together and averaged to determine mean times.
So rather than consider wind strength or elapsed time, individuals were rated based on how much faster or slower they were than the mean time.