What's a sailing addict to do? The Annapolis Yacht Club's popular Frostbite Series has come to a close for the year, and there's no more organized big-boat racing until mid- to late April.
The second half of AYC's Frostbite Series, scored separately from the first half inNovember and December, started Jan. 6, and continued uninterrupted until it closed out last Sunday with 14 races sailed.
Of the 95 boats registered in the series, more than 60 continued to compete regularly through the second half, and about 35 of those were out on the race course every week.
The fleet was divided into six classes, including three PHRF splits, and a MORC class on the handicap side of things, and cruising one-design divisions for J/24s andPearson 30s.
At least one race was run each Sunday of the eight-week series. Three of the classes -- MORC, PHRF 3 and the Pearson 30s -- sailed a slightly shorter 13-race series when the scheduled ninth race on Feb. 3, which was the afternoon's second, was abandoned for these three divisions in dying air.
Although the other three classes that started a little earlier in the sequence were able to make distance on the course before the air died and to finish their contests,the later starters were becalmed before making any significant progress.
Four of the class winners aced at least half of their races, and three of them finished no worse than second in any individual event.
Bob Muller, on his newly acquired Sting Ray, repeated and amplified his first-half MORC victory by posting an impressive 10 bullets, with the rest of his 13-race series nothing but second places. Muller began sailing this boat at the start of the Frostbite Series in November. It should be very interesting to see how he does with it in regular competition when the official season opens.
Sailmaker GlennHousley on Sweet Agnes faced down his PHRF 1 competition -- whose ranks went down to four or five after a third-race starting line collision took two of them out of action for the rest of the series -- and moved up from a first-half third place. He came away with a string ofnine aces and five deuces in his 14-race series and beat his first-half nemeses George Hunt and Steve Leocha on Lightfoot by a seven-point margin.
And in the always competitive Pearson 30 class, Art Libby on Results vindicated himself after losing the first half to longtime rival Art Holmes on Sherlock, and topped his second-half class -- and Holmes -- with a solid eight bullets and nothing else but second-place finishes among his 13 races.
And although he could not claimto have only seconds or better, J/24 winner Don Delorme repeated hisfirst-half win with a similar string of seven aces, which earned himthe right to take a break and stay home last week.
In series regattas such as the Frostbite, worst-race throwouts allow competitors tohave a bad day, miss a race or two, or drop out if something breaks,without seriously hurting an otherwise strong record.
In AYC's Frostbite Series, one throwout is allowed after 11 races, and a maximumof two are calculated in the final standings after at least 12 racesare completed. With 14 races sailed, two throwouts will be used in final scoring.
Standings in three of the classes were unaffected bythrowouts. In PHRF 1, MORC and Pearson 30s, all of the active competitors kept their positions after throwout scores were dropped from their unadjusted totals.
Similarly, PHRF 2 winners John Aras and Dorsey Owings on Sea Biscuit, J/24 winner Delorme and J/24 second-placers Rob Kyle and Todd Barr on Sail No. 2548, retained their slots afterthe throwouts, although other positions in their classes shifted somewhat.
In the hotly contested PHRF 2 class, where each of the top five teams aced at least two races, and no team took more than three,worst-race drops propelled the Naval Academy-based team of Elliott Oldak and Mid. 1/C Tom Fugelstad on Thunderbolt into second place, edging Steve Bardelman on Valhalla into third by two points.
It was an even narrower margin in J/24s, where the Dehan team on Planet Zork edged Tom Thawley on Main Squeeze out of third after the throwouts, beating him by only 1.5 points.
The biggest potential for upset still remains in the PHRF 3 class, the regatta series' largest, where the winner after throwouts is Michael Higgins on Wipe Out, who toppled the Prins/Sherwood team on Sizzler out of its unadjusted first-place seat into second. The provisional series scoring was done based on one of the throwouts being the class-wide ninth-race DNC when the race was abandoned in dead calm, giving third to the team of Cedric Baxterand Ernst Becker on Finesse.
PHRF 3 is the only one of the three 13-race classes in which the preliminary decision to use the ninth-race DNC as one of the allowable throwouts has an effect on the final relative standings among the top three.
If this series were judged based on the 13 races actually completed, instead of the current 14 on the schedule, the team of Mark Pellerin and Will Keyworth on Joy would slip neatly up into third by a significant margin of almost 15 points. The current provisional third-placer, the Baxter/Becker team, would end up winning a points tie for fourth over the Eubanks/Husar team on Chicken Little.
In all, chairman Dan Spadone and his SpecialEvents Committee have managed another highly successful, well-run and very popular Frostbite Series; the only disappointment now is what to do with our weekends until April.
Nancy Noyes is a member of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association and has been racing on the bayfor about five years. Her Sailing column appears every Wednesday andSunday in The Anne Arundel County Sun.