By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun
3:33 PM EDT, June 1, 2013
A two-day regatta for disabled sailors takes place this weekend in Annapolis. The Don Backe Memorial CRAB Cup, hosted by the Annapolis Yacht Club, honors the memory of the Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating's founder and former executive director.
Don Backe died in April. This marks the 21st anniversary of the event run by the CRAB organization. A fleet of Freedom Independence 20 class sailboats that are modified to make them accessible for those who are disabled are used in the race.
There will be four teams with three-person crews — a disabled skipper and first mate, as well as an able-bodied second mate. The second mate is there only in case of a safety issue. The races were held from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and will occur from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The CRAB Cup is part of a series of eight two-day races each year.
A memorial service will be held for Backe on June 23 beginning at 4 p.m. at the Port Annapolis Marina, 7074 Bembe Beach Road in Annapolis.
There will be 15 newcomers to the biennial Annapolis-to-Newport boat race next weekend, but there will be some notable returnees.
Newbold Smith will be racing in a boat named Reindeer for the 23nd time in an event that first began in 1947, while Jim Muldoon — in Donnybrook — will be going for the 16th time. Seven other entrants will have sailed at least 10 times.
Up for grabs is the Chelsea Clock Mariner Trophy, which will be awarded in each division to the boat with the best combined results from this year's race, as well as the 2012 race to Bermuda. Two years ago, a dozen boats were in competition for the Chelsea Clock Mariner trophies for the best combined finishes of the Annapolis-Newport and Marblehead-Halifax races.
The record set in 2001 by Carera could be broken. Among the favorites are Muldoon's Donnybook, as well as George David's Rambler. Each boat's progress will be tracked by a GPS system, with reports generally every 30 minutes or with even greater frequency at crucial junctures of the race.
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