Last weekend's J/30 North American Championship, sailed out of Annapolis Yacht Club by 34 boats, was challenging and difficult for virtually all the sailors involved -- partly because of tight competition and the weather.
Winds held nicely for the three-day, five-race event, which began on Sept. 17, but strong ebb current opposing the generally northerly winds all three days and wet weather and fog, especially on Saturday, put racers to the test.
Winning overall was the Annapolis father-son team of Bill Wallop Sr. and Bill Wallop Jr. and their crew on Cannonball, who sailed most consistently of any team, and posted a pair of bullets in the last two races on Sunday to secure the victory.
"The Wallops sailed an excellent regatta, and it was good to see them win," said Andy Hughes, whose partnership with Rudy Rodriguez at the head of the EZ crew finished the regatta in third.
"As far as sailing on the Chesapeake goes, it was pretty straightforward. Everybody had at least one tough break, except the Wallops."
Two races were completed on Friday, both of which defending J/30 North American champions Charlie Scott and Charlie Smith and their team on Houdini won.
On Saturday, however, things began to mix up somewhat, as fog occluded the marks and caused some of the lead boats to miss the finish line.
A second starting sequence was begun that day, but after four general recalls a race was aborted after the starting time limit ran out.
Scott and Smith still held the lead at the end of Saturday's racing, with the Wallops and the BeBop crew led by Bill Rutsch and John Aras tied for second, 5.5 points behind.
Although the clouds blew away on Sunday, leaving glorious weather for the two series-ending races, the current continued to rage, and the final contests resulted in big upsets for Houdini and for BeBop, a five-time North Americans winner.
By the end of the day's first race, Scott and Smith still led by 2.25 points over the Wallops, with Rutsch and Aras in third, an additional 2.25 points behind Cannonball.
The final race proved disastrous for both Houdini and Cannonball, while Hughes and Rodriguez made out well enough to clinch third by finishing second behind Cannonball.
BeBop's 19th and Houdini's 28th sealed their fates at fourth and sixth overall, respectively. The Wallops' first and Hughes' and Rodriguez's second-place finish put them into third.
J/30 North American Championship
1. Cannonball, Bill Wallop, Annapolis, 16.5 (8-3-4-1-1); 2. Zephyr, Scott Tonguis, New Orleans, La., 32 (3-5-9-5-10); 3. EZ, Rudy Rodriguez/Andy Hughes, Annapolis, 33 (11-2-11-7-2); 4. BeBop, Bill Rutsch/John Aras, Chevy Chase/Annapolis, 37 (6-7-2-3-19); 5. Valhalla, Steve Bardelman, Sherwood Forest, 37.75 (15-4-1-11-7); 6. Houdini, Charlie Scott/Charlie Smith, Annapolis/Cambridge, 41.5 (1-1-8-4-28); 7. Mondial, Ron Carr, Taunton, Mass., 49 (9-10-18-9-3); 8. Turbo Duck, Bodo von der Wense, Gulph Mills, Pa., 55 (4-9-6-21-15); 9. Gunsmoke, Mike McGuirk, Bel Air, 56 (17-13-15-6-5); 10. Jackrabbit, Cullen/Engle/Johnson, Annapolis, 59 (19-6-17-13-4).
Crab Claw results
SSA Crab Claw/Invitational
Day Sailer (13 starters): 1. Barbara Foot, (hometown unavailable), 5 (1-1-1-1-2); 2. Steve Seide, (hometown unavailable), 15.75 (5-5-2-3-1); 3. Jack Colwell, Bethesda, 18 (4-3-3-4-4).
Flying Dutchman (3 starters): 1. Jeff Wrenn, Downington, Pa., 3.75 (1-1-1-1-1); 2. Bill Bernard, Annapolis, 13 (3-3-3-2-2).
International Canoe (6 starters): 1. Bill Beaver, Annapolis, 7.25 (1-1-1-2-3); 2. Rod Mincher, Annapolis, 11.75 (3-2-4-1-2); 3. John Kells, (hometown unavailable), 14.75 (4-4-3-3-1).
Snipe (8 starters): 1. John Brady, (hometown unavailable), 4.5 (1-1-3); 2. Hawkeye Dull, Annapolis, 4.75 (2-2-1); 3. Eric Reinke, (hometown unavailable), 9 (3-4-2).
Laser (29 starters): 1. Greg Tawaststjerna, Annapolis, 11.25 (1-1-6-1-3); 2. Greg Miernicki, Severna Park, 18 (5-4-2-2-5); 3. Walter Allman, (hometown unavailable), 21.75 (2-7-5-7-1); 4. Todd Wilson, Severna Park, 28 (9-6-3-6-4); 5. Alden Shattuck, Annapolis, 30 (3-11-7-3-6).
Celestial navigation at AACC
Anne Arundel Community College is offering a chance to develop fundamental celestial navigation skills, with intensive practical instruction and experience. The instructor is veteran offshore sailor Louise Burke, former director of offshore sailing at the Naval Academy.
The five-week class meets from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, starting tomorrow, at Broadneck High School. Cost is $110, with additional supplies at about $50. Call the continuing education office, (410) 541-2325.