Chessie dresses for 'sail wars' in Leg 3 Team adds spinnaker like Cayard used in Leg 1

December 14, 1997|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

Chessie Racing, the Maryland entry in the Whitbread Round the World Race for the Volvo Trophy, has reworked its sail inventory for Leg 3 of the race and has included an unconventional spinnaker that works like a genoa.

The spinnaker, identified as a Code 0, was built by North Sails Chesapeake in Stevensville, and is expected to be a significant weapon on the 10-day leg to Sydney. Leg 3 started yesterday in Fremantle, Western Australia.

Paul Cayard and EF Language (Sweden) used a similar sail on the first leg of the race and won handily, breaking away as the fleet sailed east across the South Atlantic Ocean to Cape Town, South Africa.

"We had worked on a similar design before the start of the race," said Jim Allsopp, director of marketing for North Sails and co-skipper aboard Chessie on Leg 1. "But race organizers said that the sail was probably illegal. Cayard found a way to get it measured, and it paid tremendous dividends."

According to Allsopp, the Code 0 has the area of a spinnaker but has the efficient foil shape of a genoa. Cayard, he said, was able to use the rule-bending sail on Leg 1 because it was measured in as a spinnaker.

Under Whitbread rules, the largest genoa, an upwind sail, can measure 135 square meters, while spinnakers, used in downwind sailing, max out at 300 square meters. The Code 0 measures 200 square meters and is used in the "middle ground" between upwind and downwind sailing.

During the layover in Cape Town, Merit Cup (Monaco) and Silk Cut (England) protested Cayard's use of a similar sail, but race officials declared the sail legal.

After that ruling, John Thompson and North Sails Chesapeake began to build the Code 0 for Chessie.

"It took us a few tries, but we got it right," said Allsopp. "This one was definitely a rule-bender. Thanks to Cayard, we figured out how to bend it."

In major sailing events, technology that bends the rules often is the difference between winning and losing. Remember the Australians and the winged keel during the 1983 America's Cup?

"Now that the secret is out of the bag," said Allsopp, "I don't think Cayard will seem quite as fast as he did on the first leg."

Leg 3 is expected to be a tight tactical race, rather than the stormy downwind sleigh ride from Cape Town to Fremantle. The boats that can sail fast on the wind, off the wind and in the "middle ground" should have the advantage.

Big buck by bow

Early in November, Bill Robel of Baltimore was bowhunting deer in Dorchester County when he bagged a 13-point whitetail that weighed 221 pounds and could score among the top racks in the state this year.

"The taxidermist said it should score about 170 under Pope and Young, but he's just guessing right now," said Robel.

Each winter the Bass Expo, Saltwater Fishing and Fly Fishing Show takes over the State Fairgrounds in Timonium and for four days some of the best anglers in the world teach the secrets of their success.

The Bass Expo is scheduled for Jan. 15-18.

For bass anglers, Bassmasters Classic champion Dion Hibdon and former champion David Fritts are the headliners among top touring pros who will teach sessions. Fritts, incidentally, has won more than $490,000 on pro tours over the past 12 months.

In addition to the touring pros, more than a half-dozen top regional guides will teach sessions specializing in local knowledge and techniques.

Show organizer Bob Dobart has expanded the show so that an entire building has been set aside for fly fishing seminars, slide shows, fly tying and casting demonstrations, services and retailers.

Lefty Kreh, Flip Pallot, Cathy and Barry Beck, Bob Clouser and Bob Popovics are among the nationally known anglers who will teach sessions, and Norm Bartlett, Jim Gilford, Mark Kovach and Wally Vait are among the regional and local experts who will give presentations.

Saltwater anglers will be able to try the Sportfishing Simulator, which provides virtual reality big-game fishing, book trips for the real thing and learn from regional experts.

And if you need to buy the gear or the boat to pursue any type of angling, there will be plenty of retailers and bargains throughout the show.

Wild book

Looking for more outdoor information? Get a copy of "The Wild Side of Maryland: An Outdoor Guide," with 225 pages of articles, listings, maps, illustrations, photos and phone numbers. available from SunSource for $15.95. Call 410-332-6800.

Pub Date: 12/14/97

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