This year's Severn Sailing Association Keelboat Regatta was a matter of ups and downs in terms of breeze and individual finishes.
Conditions varied from a consistently stiff blow for Saturday's three races to such light drifty stuff on Sunday that the regatta mercifully ended with only one more race.
Arnold sailor Russ Potee, winner of the 13-boat J/24 class with the crew aboard Dream Girl, had no such ups and downs. He aced all four races.
"We were fortunate," Potee said. "We had four good starts and pretty good boat speed, so after a few minutes in each race our idea was to cover. The boats behind us were pretty evenly matched, so they mostly worked on each other."
Potee said Saturday's breeze was as high as about 16 knots and as low as about 12, holding relatively steady with shifts of only about five degrees. On Sunday, the light air at the start of the race died off to about three knots, and the fleet barely made its time limit around the course.
"My crew led me around by the nose following the wind shifts," Potee said. "On Saturday we led at every mark, but on Sunday we went from second to third to second, and won in the last three boat lengths."
Of that final contest Potee said, Sandy Grosvenor and her crew on Twisted Sisters "really pulled a horizon job on the first downwind leg by sailing far inshore, but fortunately on the second downwind leg we did the same to her."
As the boats came up the final beat to the finish in very light breeze, he said, "We basically played the left side because we saw more wind to the left, so we looked for a lane and went over. Sandy tacked to try to stay in phase with us, but she never got pTC to the wind line."
Another wind shift at the finish as the two opponents, now only two boat lengths apart, took opposite tacks, sent Potee's Dream Girl over the line ahead.
SSA Keelboat Regatta J/24 (13 starters): 1. Dream Girl, Russ Potee, Arnold, 3 (1-1-1-1); 2. Peace Frog, Rob Kyle, Annapolis, 16 (2-7-3-4); 3. Animal Farm, Steve Hankin, Annapolis, 22 (3-5-4-10); 4. More Bad News, Mike & Linda Colbert, Springfield, Va., 23 (4-3-2-DNS); 5. Twisted Sisters, Sandy Grosvenor, Annapolis, 24 (7-9-6-2).
J/22 (11 starters): 1. Special K, Scott Allan, Annapolis, 4.5 (1-2-1-1); 2. Sprockets, Dave Zinn, Annapolis, 14.75 (5-1-2-7); 3. Sundance Jr., Bill Chambers, Fulton, 15 (4-3-3-5); 4. Ugly Truth, Jim Hayes, Annapolis, 21 (2-4-9-6).
Soling (9 starters): 1. No. 788, Peter Gleitz, Annapolis, 7.5 (4-1-1-2); 2. No. 717, Michael Butz, Forest Hill, 8.75 (2-3-3-1); 3. No. 614, Tom Carrico/Angus Phillips, Annapolis, 12 (3-2-2-5).
Star (14 starters): 1. Pita, Jonathan Bartlett, Annapolis, 6.5 (1-3-1-2); 2. Cameo, Elliott Oldak, Annapolis, 8.5 (4-1-3-1); 3. No. 7628, Kevin McNeil, Annapolis, 14 (2-2-2-8); 4. Ann, Pen Alexander, Annapolis, 17 (5-4-4-4); 5. Mustang Sally, Jim Kee, Annapolis, 24 (7-7-5-5).
Tempest (3 starters): 1. Prospero, Ray O'Hara, Alexandria, Va., 2.75 (2-1).
Block Island Race Week
About 10 percent of the fleet of nearly 170 starters at last week's Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race Week were well-known Chesapeake Bay competitors, several of whom are bringing home trophies from this prestigious event.
The upper ranks of the 11-boat Class 1 IMS-R reads like an Annapolis Yacht Club who's who, with Jack King's Frers 62 Merrythought the winner overall. Peter Gordon's Gaucho, driven by Annapolis Olympian Jim Brady, was third and Bob Crompton's Farr 50 Full Cry was fourth.
Merrythought, with Gary Jobson at the helm, beat the only non-Annapolis-based boat in the top four, John Thompson's new 50-footer Infinity, by half a point to take the series.
Winning the seven-boat Class 2 IMSC-R was Bill Steitz and his crew aboard his Concordia 46 Dancer, and tops of 16 starters in Class 5 PHRF-R was Mack Latz with the team aboard his Express 34 The Knife.
Also competing in Class 5 were Strother Scott and his crew on his New York 40 Albemarle Pippin, seventh overall, and Robby Brown at the helm of Jerry and Nancy Cann's Melges 24 Crusader Rabbit in 14th.
Another well-known Virginian, Sledd Shelhorse of Hampton, winner of last year's overall Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association Handicap Division and the Labrot Trophy, sailed his Tripp 38 Promises to first with bullets for all six keepers in the seven-race series -- and a third as his throw-out -- in the 14-boat Class 3 PHRF-W division. Annapolis' Heinz Scheidemandel and the team on his J/37 Jezebel were third in the same class.
Steve Kaminer and crew on his new Farr 36 Predator finished fourth of 17 in Class 1 IMS-W, with Norfolk sailor Frank Schinco and the crew on his Taylor 40 Avanti just behind in fifth.
Fellow Virginians John Hanna, sailing his Farr 36 Battlewagon, and Gray Kiger with his Tripp 40 Fatal Attraction, placed 11th and 12th, respectively, in the same class.