Three Saturdays of round-the-buoy racing was the season-ending offering from the Rhode River Boat Club, with its annual Fall Series during the first three weekends of November.
The series, which drew 13 starters in three J/boat meter classes, J/80, J/92, and J/105 using spinnakers, joined a PHRF nonspinnaker fleet of 14 starters and two three-boat one-design classes for Tritons and Alberg 30s.
Two races were started each of the first two weeks, while only a single contest was the rule for the last week, bringing the series to five races for the PHRF'ers and the one-designs.
The J/boats lost their first race of the second week in light air with time limit problems, and some question about the location of a mark, however, leaving their series at only four for scoring purposes.
Competition was heated across the board; in the PHRF classes, often it was only a matter of seconds that divided victors from the rest of the pack, while the J/boats and other one-designs could be seen sailing neck-and-neck.
The Rhode River Fall Series is popular not only with hard-core racers who just don't want to give up for the winter, but also with relative novices, who find the lower-pressure setting combined with challenging competition attractive.
Rhode River Fall Series
J/80 (3 entries): 1. Jee Whiz, Brett Geisel, 5.5 (1-1-2-2); 2. Alpha Wolf, Joel/Dan Beren, 7.75 (2-2-1-3); 3. Jammin', Holly Wolford, 9.75 (2-2-2-1).
J/92 (4 entries): 1. Pneumatic, Matt Frey, 6.5 (1-3-2-1); 2. Sea Meant, Tom Tatum, 10.75 (3-2-1-DNC); 3. Ubiquitous, Jim Stansbury, 12.75 (4-1-DNF-DNF).
J/105 (6 entries): 1. Cutting Edge, Jonathan Cutting, 7.25 (1-1-1-5); 2. ESS, Ken Swiecicki, 11 (2-4-3-2); 3. Curlew, Jack Detweiler, 13.75 (4-5-4-1).
PHRF A/B (4 starters): 1. Cayenne, Antonio Sanpere, 3.75
(1-1-1-1-1); 2. Anser, Jim Troutman, 10 (2-2-2-2-2); 3. Moxie III, George Collins, 19 (3-3-DNC-DNC-3).
PHRF C (10 entries): 1. Four Little Ducks, Tom Walsh, 11.5 (4-1-4-1-2); 2. Airborne, E.C. Fabian, 12.5 (1-4-1-3-4); 3. Insipid, Mike Henderson, 22 (3-5-6-5-3); 4. Jaguar, Gene Horn, 24 (2-3-5-6-DNF); and Calliope, Tina Snee, 24 (5-7-3-4-5).
Alberg 30 (3 entries): 1. Bon Aire, William Johnson, 6.25 (1-1-2-2-1); 2. Second 2 Nun, Harry Gamber, 7.5 (2-2-1-1-2); 3. Sundance, Bert Nye, 18 (DNC-DNC-3-3-DNC).
Navy wins nationals
Mid. 1/C Ryan Cox, sailing with Mid. 1/C Carl Smit, 2/C Nick Cromwell, and alternate 3/C Walter Allman and coach James Appel, won the Cornelius Shields Sr. Trophy for the Intercollegiate Yacht Racing Association's Sloop National Championships last weekend.
The regatta was sailed in Sonars out of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club. The 10-race series was characterized by light air; only two of the races were completed in breezes exceeding about eight )) knots.
At the end of the first day of racing, the midshipmen led by three points over the College of Charleston; they continued to lead on the second day, but dropped by a point when the wind died completely and the fleet returned to the docks.
After a two-hour delay, the breeze filled in enough for one more race, and a win in that contest moved the midshipmen back up on top by three points, with Harvard in second and a tie for third between Tufts, Charleston and Georgetown.
A drifting race was sailed on the morning of the final day, followed by a lengthy delay. A fresh northwesterly filled in and allowed the final three races. After a close fifth in the eighth race, Navy led by one point, but a win in the ninth race gave the team a four-point lead and a guaranteed first or second in the regatta.
St. Pete local Brett Davis from Harvard was second and the two teams match-raced each other in the final race. Harvard was in seventh with Navy right behind; on the fifth leg of the course Navy passed Harvard to make the final leg almost impossible for Harvard to win. Harvard passed the midshipmen again, but only finished one place better, leaving Navy three points ahead overall.
This is the fifth time Navy has won, giving the midshipmen the most wins in the event's history.