Final race gives J/22 world title to Cutler

Annapolis sailor foils den Engelsman's bid

May 22, 2004|By John Potter | John Potter,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Alec Cutler of Annapolis held off defending champion John den Engelsman of the Netherlands in the final race of the regatta yesterday to win the J/22 World Championships in Annapolis.

Cutler, with his crew of Paul Murphy of Annapolis and Max Skelly of Havre de Grace, trailed the Dutchman by eight points going into the last race, but put plenty of boats between him and his chief rival to collect the title by two points (40-42).

David Van Cleef of Annapolis finished in third, 19 points back.

Cutler began yesterday's racing with a one-point lead over den Engelsman, but the former champion, winner of the 2003 J/22 worlds in Italy, won the day's first race to vault into first place.

After the second race was abandoned because of light and shifting winds, the race committee opted to try again - and made the second try the final race.

"The key for us," Cutler said, "was when we realized there were only going to be two races. For the first race, there was no sense in us messing with [den Engelsman], but in the second races, the one that was abandoned and the won that stood, he decided to match-race us. We turned the tables.

"When you're in the position we were in, you go after the other guy," he said, describing how he had to get ahead of den Engelsman and stay ahead.

Cutler finished eighth. Den Engelsman, several boats back, dropped out.

Consistency was the key for Cutler. He never won a race in the regatta, but never finished worst than 10th. In contrast, den Engelsman won two races, but finished 18th in the sixth race, and that ultimately denied him a chance to repeat as titlist.

The first race in the Chesapeake Bay off the mouth of the Severn River got off after a brief delay, with the wind from 170 degrees at about 6 to 8 knots. Den Engelsman led at every mark.

"We started in the middle, protected the left [side of the course], got headed, tacked and basically had the race won," den Engelsman said.

After Cutler's 10th-place finish, things were looking bleak for the Annapolitan.

The second race began with the weather mark set at 200 degrees. As Ray Wulff of Annapolis took the early lead, Cutler and den Engelsman concentrated on each other and fell well off the pace.

After that race was abandoned, match-racing again ensued between Cutler and den Engelsman in the re-started second race. Cutler, covering his opponent, had at least a nine-position lead on den Engelsman when the Dutchman dropped out.

Marylanders captured six of the top seven places. Henry Filter of Stevensville finished fourth and Scott Nixon of Annapolis, the J/22-class winner in last month's National Offshore One Design (NOOD) regatta in Annapolis, was fifth.


At Annapolis Yacht Club

Gold Fleet Finals

Position, Skipper, Hometown or Country, Boat, Finish for Races 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-Total points:

1. Alec Cutler, Annapolis, USA 1489, 5-2-3-4-[33]-8-10-8-40. 2. John den Engelsman, Netherlands, NED 1512, 3-9-1-3-7-18-1-[65/DNF]-42. 3. David Van Cleef, Annapolis, USA 1467, 6-1-4-20-6-[29]-7-17-61. 4. Henry Filter, Stevensville, USA 733, 4-13-16-5-2-24-[56]-3-67. 5. Scott Nixon, Annapolis, USA 1464, 4-2-15-11-17-7-18-[44]-74.

6. Greg Fisher, Arnold, USA 751, 1-14-16-15-26-3-[38]-5-80. 7. Matt Beck, Annapolis, USA 1536, 5-3-5-19-8-[28]-17-25-82. 8. Marvin Beckmann, Houston, Texas, USA 709, 27-5-8-[58]-3-16-15-21-95. 9. Terry Flynn, Shoreacres, Texas, USA 1501, 1-12-1-33-11-10-30-[45]-98. 10. Terry Foster, Tonka Bay, Minn., USA 1048, 23-5-3-[53]-16-19-13-19-98.

11. Kelson Elam, Rockwall, Texas, USA 340 12-1-4-[53]-22-1-23-37-100. 12. Sean Fidler, Royal Oak, Mich., USA 1037, 15-8-12-[36]-21-2-24-18-100. 13. Andrew Scott, Annapolis, USA 333, 9-10-13-9-37-23-2-[54]-103. 14. Steven Hunt, Charlestown, Mass., USA 1509, 15-24-10-23-23-6-4-[36]-105. 15. Tom Starck, Lakewood, Ohio, USA 1461, 2-22-11-[46]-18-17-29-7-106.

16. Thomas Sitzmann, Orrs Island, Maine, USA 169, 20-6-34-25-12-[58]-14-1-112. 17. Chris Larson, Annapolis, USA 1565, 16-7-6-24-9-[46]-31-28-121. 18. John Bertrand, Annapolis, USA 1546, 3-8-12-1-[42]-39-26-33-122. 19. Wayne Pignolet, Annapolis, USA 650, 8-4-13-15-[45]-36-5-43-124. 20. Ray Wulff, Annapolis, USA 677, 10-25-6-21-1-44-21-[49]-128.

Note: Race results in brackets indicate throwout races.

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