Larson has No Problem winning Race Week's Mumm 36 class


January 22, 1995|By NANCY NOYES

Was it just another boring week in paradise for the skippers and crews of 200-plus boats sailing in Mount Gay/Yachting Race Week at Key West, Fla., this year? No way.

And for four local skippers, it was a major accomplishment, to have won one's class in this highly competitive and prestigious international event, a seven-race series over five days of windward-leeward racing last week.

Conditions during the week offered a variety of wind conditions, topped off by Friday's 15- to 20-knot breezes.

In the star-studded 16-boat Mumm 36 class, Annapolitan Chris Larson at the helm of No Problem came to the top early with three bullets in as many races as the series began.

Following that with second-place finishes in the next three races, Larson and his team had the series sewed up with a 17.75-point lead at the end of Thursday's competition. Heading into Friday's seventh and final race, they stayed focused and placed second in that event to top out the class by 21.25 points over the second-place entry from France, Corum Watches. Larson's championship earned him both the regatta's class trophy and one of grand prix sailing's most coveted awards -- his own weight in Champagne Mumm.

Also sailing in the Mumm 36 class was George Collins of Gibson Island and his crew, which included helmsman Gary Jobson, on Moxie, finishing the series in eighth overall.

Larson has joined Team No Problem, headed by Satoshi Utsumi of Japan and with former Annapolitan Jim Brady as its sailing director, for its international Mumm 36 campaign, which will include the Admirals Cup this summer in England.

Larson was at the helm of No Problem while Brady is in San Diego, fulfilling his commitment to Team Dennis Conner and Stars & Stripes in the America's Cup competition.

Trevor Underwood of Annapolis and his crew aboard Inside Trader took top honors in the seven-boat one-design J/35 class championship after a strong week. He held his own on the competition with finishes of 2-4-3-1-1-2-2 to finish two points ahead of second-placer Rich Rubin and his New Orleans crew on Big J.

And John White of Severna Park and the crew on his unnamed B-25 gained momentum through the 13-boat PHRF F class competition to ace that division with finishes of 3-4-2-1-1-1-1 for a 4.5-point lead over the Canadian team on Putz.

Another example of fine sailing against hot competition was turned in by Harwood native Terry Hutchinson, now living in Newport, R.I., who was at the helm of Flash Gordon, a Farr 40 campaigned by Helmut Jahn of Chicago, defending IMS B champion from last year's Key West event.

With four straight bullets earned in the first three days of racing, Flash Gordon was the only undefeated yacht in the fleet starting Thursday's racing, although a premature start in the day's first race resulted in a fifth-place finish.

The Flash Gordon team came back strong in the eight-boat fleet to ace the next race that day and clinch the series by Thursday evening, capped off with another bullet in Friday's single event, for a 9.5-point lead on the competition.

Robert Crompton and his Annapolis-based Full Cry crew were fourth in IMS A, and Jim Scott of Annapolis and Bruce Bingman of Arlington, Va., placed fourth in PHRF B with Mischief.

In the 63-boat Melges 24 class, for which the regatta was its Midwinter Championship, Ron Steele of Annapolis and his crew on Twin Spirit were 14th, and Charlie Scott of Annapolis and crew on Fred were 21st. Robert Wray and Jeff Thorpe and team on Stingwray were 24th.

EYC offers seminars

Eastport Yacht Club will offer a two-day seminar to help race committee members from area clubs earn U.S. SAILING recognition as Club Race Officers, the first of three levels of recognition and certification of race managers.

EYC past commodore Mark Murphy, who is a recognized U.S. SAILING Senior Race Officer, will lead the seminars.

The seminars will be at the EYC Clubhouse at 317 First St. in Eastport, Saturday and Feb. 4. Instruction will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude about 1 p.m.

Reservations are not required, but those planning to attend should call the EYC voice mailbox, (410) 263-0415.

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