Rhode River series closes CBYRA season

SAILING

November 28, 1993|By NANCY NOYES

The official sailing season of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association came to a close last weekend with the finale of the Rhode River Boat Club Fall Series.

The three-Saturday, five-race affair drew 21 participants in five classes.

Although RRBC's Fall Series does not count for the annual High Point standings, it is a traditional way to close the season for those who don't plan on sailing in one of the many frostbite series that continue through until March. It also offers a last chance to celebrate the racing spirit before packing up the boat for a long winter's nap.

As usual, the club offered two races each of the first two weeks and a single final race last weekend.

Conditions were mixed through the series, ranging from relatively light air to a howling last day with breezes up to and above 30 knots -- conditions that kept many of the RRBC racers at home and canceled the J/22 Fleet's annual Turkey Bowl set for last Saturday as well.

No one from the J/92 class came out to sail the final day, and all but PHRF A winner Al Holt and his crew on Think Fast stayed home in that class, too, prompting Holt to drop out before finishing rather than race alone and risk damaging sails or other things. With three bullets and a second already under his belt, Holt's win in the class was already solid, and he had no need to take chances.

The smaller boats were out in force despite the heavy air, and the leaders turned in solid performances despite difficult conditions.

For Mike and Sue Henderson and their team on Insipid, the

series was a chance to excel. The only crew with a perfect record of five bullets in the fleet, this team also included Mike Mendley and Dave and Eileen Monius as its core, with Sue Henderson subbing in as main trimmer,Steve Voorhis as genoa trimmer/tactician and Dave Monius at the helm the second week, when Mike Henderson and Eileen Monius were out of town.

"We had a lot of fun, and some great people on the boat," Mike Henderson said. "We got back to basics, just tried to make the boat go fast, and go in the right direction. We tried to sail with as few mistakes as possible."

The class was made up of four boats, all rating within six seconds per mile of each other, with Insipid being the scratch boat. Thus to win each race and the series the crew had to keep the boat working to save time over the competition, and quickly developed a virtual match-racing relationship with Gene Horn and his crew on Jaguar, the only other PHRF B team to complete all five races.

Insipid's depth sounder was not functioning properly during the series, leading to a second-race grounding each of the first two weeks for the Insipid team, although in both cases recovery was relatively fast.

"Fortunately Hendo's boat has a centerboard, so we could get back in the race by sailing hard, essentially starting all over again," Dave Monius said.

After acing the first four races,Henderson and Monius looked at the scores and determined that they could win the series whether or not they sailed the last race.

"It was blowing honkers," Monius said. "We saw it up into the mid-30s a few times. We had it figured out that if we didn't show up we still had the series won, but we went out anyway with a reefed main and a blade [jib]. Jaguar came out with what looked like a No. 1 or No. 2 [genoa] and a full main, and he was really fast downwind, but upwind he was out of control."

Tom Walsh and his team on Four Little Ducks did nearly as well as the Hendersons and their crew, acing four out of five races and taking second in the second contest.

This year a sportsmanship award went to PHRF C racer Tina Snee with the crew on her Folkboat Calliope.

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