The Shearwater Sailing Club of Annapolis is conducting a series of seminars in March to provide crew training for sailors interested in sailboat racing.

The objective of the seminar series, consisting ofthree weekly sessions of about 2 1/2 hours each, is to teach basic skills and responsibilities of crewing, and to encourage newcomers to participate.

Qualified volunteer instructors from the club will cover essential topics including crew etiquette, sail folding, basic rules, race courses, starts, mark roundings, tacks and gybes and other basic information.

The seminar series will run from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays, March 10 through 24, at the Officers and Faculty Club of the Naval Academy.

Shearwater's Catherine Pearson said a limited number of spaces are available for those with some sailing experience and interest in sailboat racing.

"We only have 30 spaces available, since we want to make sure that everyone gets personal attention and can learn what he or she wants to learn," Pearson said.

Shearwater plays hosteach year to the St. Brendan Cup, the Twilight Races and the Roy Smith Women's Regatta.

The seminar series will not turn novice sailors into "rock stars" in a month, but it will provide background and information so that new racing sailors can seek crew slots in the coming season with relative confidence. By the end of the program, participants should have a clear idea of what to expect from racing and whatwill be expected of them by racing skippers.

It is modeled, in part, on a successful crew training program of the Fishing Bay Yacht Club in Deltaville, Va., and its resident MORC fleet to encourage participation in racing and add fresh faces to the existing crew pool.

Yacht club organizers realized several years ago that one reason for the decline of their MORC fleet was the difficulty in finding enough interested and capable crew to adequately man all of the boats.

Today, the FBYC fleets are healthy and active, and the FBYC seminar series has drawn national attention -- including coverage in American Sailor, U.S. Sailing's monthly magazine -- for its success at increasing participation and bringing new sailors into the sport.

Shearwater's seminar series is the first in this area, and its organizers hopeit will generate the same results as the Virginia seminars.

Tuition for Shearwater's Crew Training Seminar has been set at $25.

Formore information or reservations, call Pearson during the day at (202) 862-0010, or Gary Spivack at (703) 549-0271, evenings.


TheU.S. Women's Challenge will conduct a fund-raising benefit from 5:30to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Middleton Tavern in Annapolis. The event will kick off its 1992 training season, aimed at the 1993-1994 Whitbread Round-the-World Race.

Based in Annapolis under skipper Nance Frank, the U.S. Women's Challenge was the only American team to reach the starting line in the 1989-1990 Whitbread race. It was forced to turn back before competing because it lacked corporate sponsorship.

The USWC is continuing its training and fund-raising activities with the hope of becoming the first team of American women to complete the Whitbread.

The fund-raising reception at Middleton will be an opportunity for supporters to meet Frank, local members of the USWC advisory board and members of the crew.

Reservations are $40 per personor $75 per couple, and, like all contributions to the USWC, are tax-deductible.

The benefit will support training on the Chesapeake Bay and in international competition, including Event 6 of the United States- Russian Sailing Summit later this year, the National Women's Keelboat Championships in New Zealand in March, and the 1992 Newport-to-Bermuda race in June.

For more information or reservations, call280-0804.


Veteran marine insurance specialist, sailor and safe-boating instructor Totch Hartge has opened Hartge Insurance Associates in Easton, to provide a variety of insurance coverages for the commercial and recreational boating industries.

Hartge has been associated with insurance firms in Annapolis and Oxford.

His new firmwill specialize in commercial vessels, including workboats and charter boats, ocean cargo, high-performance boats, large and classic yachts, marina/boatyard packages, and boat builders risk.

Hartge's family has been in the boat building/marina business in South County formore than a century.

Hartge has served on the board of directors of the Marine Trades Association of Maryland, as commodore of the West River Sailing Club and as a Maryland Safe Boating Instructor.

A well-known sailor in Annapolis and South County, he began ocean sailing at the age of 9.

Nancy Noyes is a member of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association and has been racing on the bay for about five years. Her Sailing column appears every Wednesday and Sunday in TheAnne Arundel County Sun.

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