A look at Chessie Racing . . .

September 21, 1997|By Ellen Gamerman

Flag: USA

Sail number: USA60

Designer: Bruce Farr

Builder: Goetz Custom Boats

Shore manager: Bryan Fishback

Launch: April 1997

Skipper: George Collins

Collins, 57, a co-skipper on Chessie, created the syndicate more than a year ago and serves as the shore and race crew's all-around leader.

A native of West Haven, Conn., Collins started sailing on Long Island Sound shortly after high school. In 1990, he completed his first offshore competition, the Annapolis to Bermuda race. Since then, he has participated in several ocean races along the East Coast - including Key West Race Week and S.O.R.C. - with his slew of race boats called Moxie.

Collins stepped down as head of the Baltimore mutual fund company T. Rowe Price in April, after having served as chief executive officer for 13 years. He lives in Gibson Island, and has three children and five grandchildren.


* James Allsopp. Allsopp, 53, will be a guest helmsman and tactician on Chessie after sailing competitively for more than 20 years.

A sail-design expert with North Sails, Allsopp managed the sail-design programs for the 1993-94 Whitbread campaign of Galicia '93 Pescanova and four America's Cup boats. He has competed in the four America's Cup trials.

A native of Huntington, N.Y., he lives in Annapolis.

* Mark Fischer. Fischer, 39, has overseen the administration of the Chessie syndicate and now will serve as one of its co-skippers.

Fischer has been competing in Chesapeake Bay races for the past 22 years. He was an alternate for America3, the team that won the 1992 America's Cup. He competed in the 1992 Olympic trials in the Soling Class and has raced on Grand Prix circuits.

For the past decade, he has served as chief executive of the Blakeslee Group, an advertising and marketing agency in Baltimore. He lives in Baltimore with his wife and two daughters.

* Richard Deppe. Deppe, 33, will work the bow on Chessie in his second try at a Whitbread victory.

In the 1993-94 Whitbread, Deppe raced on Fortuna, which retired after losing both masts 26 hours into the race. Since then, Deppe has run Collins' Moxie sailing team in Key West races, S.O.R.C. and more.

Deppe lives in Annapolis with his wife, Anastasia, and their son. He's originally from West Yorkshire, England.

* Gregory Gendell. Gendell, 27, is a bowman on Chessie and the youngest crew member, making his first Whitbread effort.

Gendell has worked as a sailmaker for the past eight years. He has competed for U.S. teams in the Admiral's Cup in 1995 and 1997, placing second and first in those years, respectively.

Sailing on the Magothy River since he was a child, he continues to live in Annapolis, now with his wife, Pam.

* Tony Harman. Harman, 32, may be called from his native Australia to pitch in on the Chessie crew as a trimmer.

Harman, a major in the Australian army, was allowed to try out because his commanders believed the Whitbread's treacherous conditions would help build character. If the team needs a replacement trimmer or all-purpose sailor, Harman is first on the roster.

In Annapolis, Harman has sailed as Moxie crew for Collins.

Harman, who grew up on the south coast of Australia, moved from Sydney to Annapolis, where he lives with his wife and two children.

* Jerry Kirby. Kirby, 41, is Chessie's bowman and crew boss. He is a seasoned racer.

Kirby has sailed in four America's Cup campaigns, starting as a 21-year-old boat boy on Intrepid and culminating in 1992 aboard the winner America3. He also coached the America3 women's team in the 1995 America's Cup. Other sailing highlights include 14 Maxi Boat World Championships, 12 S.O.R.C.'s, six Kenwood Cups and eight Big Boat Series.

Kirby, who owns a construction business, lives with his wife, Kim, and their two sons in Newport, R.I.

* Antonio Piris. Piris, 33, will work as a trimmer and driver on Chessie after placing third in the last race for the Whitbread 60 class.

Piris, known as "Talpi," is a boat builder who comes to the Chessie campaign after helping oversee boat construction for Team EF, a Swedish competitor in this year's Whitbread. Piris sailed in the 1993-94 race as watch leader on Galicia '93 Pescanova.

Piris is a native of Santander, Spain.

* Dave Scott. Scott, 38, is a Chessie watch captain and a sail expert making his first go at an around-the-world race.

Through his work as a sailmaker, Scott furthered a professional sailing career by working for his clients in several offshore races, including S.O.R.C.'s, Key West Race Weeks, Admiral's Cups and Commodore Cups.

Scott, originally from Canterbury, England, sailed for Ohio Wesleyan College after moving to the United States at age 12. Until recently, he lived in Chester, Md., with his wife, Sally, and their son.

* Grant Spanhake. Spanhake, 38, is a veteran of two Whitbreads and a watch captain on Chessie.

Spanhake, known as "Fuzz," competed on Lion New Zealand in the 1985-86 Whitbread and Fisher & Paykel in the next race in 1989-90. He has also participated in three America's Cups.

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