Calling all beach cat sailors: there's great news for a long overlooked group of recreational sailors here on the Chesapeake, thanks to the Catamaran Racing Association of the Chesapeake.
This group, which initiated the 150-mile Bridge-to-Bridge Race, from Annapolis to Virginia Beach (Bay Bridge to Bridge Tunnel), has been hard at work and recently announced a 1994 schedule with plenty of things to do, from tune-ups and clinics to distance races and round-the-buoys regattas.
Also new this year, the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association has sanctioned a new catamaran class for cat sailors who want to compete for an annual high point award. Beach cats 23 feet LOA and under are welcome.
The CBYRA-sanctioned racing schedule includes Baltimore City Yacht Association's Sail For Sight Regatta on June 11; Northern Bay Race Week over July 2-4; the Cambridge Yacht Club Annual Regatta July 16-17; the Eastern Shore Sailing Association's Ocean Commotion Aug. 6-7, and the Miles River Yacht Club's annual regatta Aug. 20-21.
CRAC also will be conducting its own events, including the Icebreaker Regatta, April 30, and the Blue Hawaii Regatta, May 14-15, both at Gunpowder Falls State Park.
Next on the agenda is the Down the Bay Regatta, another Annapolis-to-Virginia Beach event, over Memorial Day weekend, followed June 4-5 by the Up & Back Regatta and the Ocean City Bar Race 1, June 25, at Ocean City.
The association also has scheduled some speed clinics, including one focusing on tacking and gybing, May 21-22, and another on starting and boat handling, June 18. A Randy Smythe clinic is included in the Up & Back event in Ocean City in June.
Last fall, CRAC instituted a very successful two-day event, the Mystere Chesapeake 100. The first day's course for this event is from the Magothy River to Solomons Island a rhumb line course of 54 miles. The second day is a race back over the same course.
CRAC reported that last year's first leg was won by Florida sailor Robbie McDaniel on a Mystere 6.0 in just 3 hours, 10 minutes, at an average velocity of 15 knots.
Overall winner was local sailor Greg Scace on a Tornado, with a total time for the full 108-mile race of 7:12; less than two minutes separated the top three finishers.
By way of comparison, on the same day as the first leg of the Mystere Chesapeake 100, Donnybrook, a Santa Cruz 70 sloop owned by Jim Muldoon, known for its own speed and first-to-finish reputation, took six hours to cover a 50-mile rhumb line distance in the Cedar Point Race.
CRAC fleet commodore Bob Schnabel says the association is dedicated to getting new cat sailors involved, adding that the clinics can help make new sailors competitive and comfortable in some very quick company.
All interested sailors can call Schnabel at (410) 263-4761 for more information and a complete schedule of events.
If you are an owner of a Hobie cat built prior to 1986, the Department of Natural Resources wants to give you a free mast tip conversion kit.
The retrofit mast tip is designed to help reduce the possibility of electrocution in case of contact with overhead wires. Information: the DNR's Boating Administration, (410) 974-2916.
Free traveler replacements
According to John and Katie Boone of Baltimore Yacht Rigging Co., noted marine hardware manufacturer Harken has received reports that stamped, strap-style shackles on 1982 vintage big-boat traveler cars have failed during or after shock load situations.
Harken's engineering reports suggest that the broken shackles suffered from stress corrosion and related problems.
An exploding traveler shackle can be dangerous, so as a precaution, Harken is recommending that any of these old cars still in use be replaced immediately with one of its new big-boat traveler cars using a forged shackle.
The cars affected are the 515 (length 5.5 feet) produced from 1982 until mid-1985; the 558 (7.25 feet) offered between June 1984 and March 1985; and the 559 (9.25 feet) offered from June to November 1984.
Replacements will be made free of charge, with current models of the appropriate cars. To arrange replacement, contact Harken Customer Service, (414) 691-3320.