Racers may set aside seriousness to battle leukemia, lymphoma


June 12, 2000|By Douglas Lamborne | Douglas Lamborne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SAILBOAT RACERS come in a variety of types. There's the cutthroat racer, the occasionally cutthroat but frequently casual racer, and then the very casual racer.

Last month, Annapolis teemed with cutthroat types, hundreds of Captain Ahabs, Blighs and Queegs competing in the Star Internationals. Their first move after each race was to reach for their cell phones, rather than a beer. Now, that's serious.

The other gender followed the Star racers by competing for the Santa Maria Cup at the start of the month: Ms. Ahabs, Blighs and Queegs, more seriousness, more cell phones.

Now it's time for fun, for a good cause. The Volvo Leukemia Cup will take place Saturday on the Chesapeake Bay. A preregistration party has been held. A launch party will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday with live and silent auctions at the Annapolis Marriott Waterfront Hotel. And festivities will conclude with the dinner and awards crew party at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Eastport Yacht Club.

Oh, yes, there will also be a regatta. About 150 boats will compete in a variety of classes on the Chesapeake, explained Nancy Noyes, one of the race organizers and a veteran of competition both cutthroat and casual.

Racers will rendezvous at 11 a.m. Saturday at the yacht club. Some of the skippers will be competing for seasonally accumulated points under the aegis of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association. So, said Noyes, some cutthroat behavior can be expected. "These are racers, after all."

Folks who are interested in supporting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (and might want to spend money at the auction or contribute to the cause) are invited to show up for the Thursday or Saturday functions. Potential sponsors of boats are welcome and can sign on board - with lots of money - by calling Barbara Smith, campaign manager of the Leukemia Society. She can be reached in Baltimore at 410-825-2500.

"Last year, we raised some $93,000," Noyes said. "This year we're shooting for $150,000."

She reported that $18,000 was brought in June 3 from a "Poker Run" for powerboaters. Skippers who paid entry fees, or who had sponsors, "powered up for leukemia" by picking up poker hands at participating ports along the bay to compete for prizes. The game concluded at Red Eye's Dock Bar on Kent Island.

This was sort of an ecumenical event when you think about it. Sailors tend to dismiss powerboaters as "stink-potters." They in turn call sailors "rag-haulers." These prejudices are quickly laid aside for a good cause.

There will be yet another competition, new to the program, on Saturday - the "Bridge-to-Bridge" Sailing Race for Baltimore-based skippers. It'll run from Key Bridge to Bay Bridge starting at 9:30 a.m. Their goal will be a party, of course, the one at Eastport Yacht Club. Skippers can call Smith for details.

Noyes said she started working on the Leukemia Cup in its inaugural year, 1993. "I was sort of dragged into it," she said. "And I'm still doing it because I am one of those persons who can't say no."

Scouting afloat

While we're on the subject, a move is under way to line up sponsors and participants to establish a Sea Scout Ship in Annapolis.

A "Ship" in Sea Scout lingo refers to people, not to a boat, explained Sally Reuther, who is trying to launch the program.

"When I moved to Annapolis two years ago with my husband and 13-year-old son, I was surprised to learn there were some Sea Scout Ships in surrounding areas, but none in Annapolis," she said.

Sea Scouts is a coeducational program open to young adults ages 14 to 21. Reuther said the purpose is to promote citizenship and improve members' boating skills.

"Some of the skills that are taught are sailing, seamanship, navigation, rules of the road, boat maintenance, weather, cooking aboard, safety, sea history and marine conservation," she said.

Reuther can be reached at 410-280-0021. "The only thing missing right now are the young people who will become a part of this adventure," Reuther said.


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