Good breeze and stiff competition rewarded Saturday's 72 Cruising One-Design and PHRF-C contenders and Sunday's 57 Handicap and J/35 racers in this year's Sailing Club of the Chesapeake Spring Race.
Using drop marks and five-legged windward-leeward courses, the Saturday fleet sailed 10 miles in choppy seas, with a stiff flood current all day and blustery breezes that gusted back and forth from about 18 knots to 6.
Sunday's sailors fought it out on a 15-mile version in steadier breezes averaging 10 knots in less-challenging wave and current conditions, SCC Race Committee member Mike McCutchan said.
"Both days were really good conditions, but on Sunday it was great," McCutchan said.
One sailor who would agree is Annapolitan Ron Peterson, who competed one-design in the 21-boat J/30 class on Saturday and returned with his crew on Valkyrie for more of the same in the nine-boat PHRF-B on Sunday, winning both contests.
"Our crew both days was super," Peterson said. "I guess we just made fewer mistakes than the average bear.
"It was very choppy and very windy [Saturday]," Peterson said. "The current was actually more important for us -- it was really coming in. The more we stayed in by Thomas Point, the better it was, but if you got in too close you found even more confused wave conditions. Primarily, it was just a matter of holding the boat down."
Peterson said his win on Saturday was by "a couple of minutes" over the second-place boat, Jack rabbit, raced by the team of sailmaker Jim Cullen, Ron Engle and Ned Johnson, who had difficulty virtually from the start.
Two of their three halyards broke early in the race, forcing them to do mark-rounding sail-changes from jib to spinnaker and back bare-headed on the single halyard, but they still finished impressively.
Of Sunday's PHRF-B race, Peterson said, "When the breeze is up, we feel we have a good chance of going up to our rating, so it was a good day for us."
And in fact it was, because the Valkyrie team was able to correct over Richard Heintz and the team on his J/27 Yellow Bird by more than a minute for the win.
"On Sunday, we had a shift that went right for us on the last two legs, so we were lucky there," Peterson said. "And on the downwind leg we got the breeze first, too."
Peterson praised the race organizers and committee for a first-rate job all weekend.
"The Race Committee did excellent work and should be complimented for going out there and setting two really good courses," he said. "It was very good racing."
SCC Spring Regatta
Saturday, May 9
PHRF C (3 starters): 1. Swizzle Stick, Jeff Hamilton, Annapolis; 2. Bang, Dave Gendell, Arnold; 3. Insipid, Mike Henderson, Riva.
J/30 (21 starters): 1. Valkyrie, Ron Peterson, Annapolis; 2. Jackrabbit, Jim Cullen/Ron Engle/Ned Johnson, Annapolis/Alexandria, Va./Rockville; 3. BeBop, Bill Rutsch/John Aras, Chevy Chase/Annapolis.
J/29 (5 starters): 1. Mirage, Lewis/Salvesen Syndicate, Annapolis/Edgewater; 2. Breakaway, Joel Hamburger, Schnecksville, Pa.; 3. Baby Moon, Mike Krissoff, Annapolis.
J/24 (21 starters): 1. Sail No. 196, Mike Hobson, Annapolis; 2. Latent Defect, Stewart Spettel/Tim Mowry, Alexandria, Va./Annapolis; 3. Dream Girl, Russell Potee, Arnold.
Catalina 27 (8 starters): 1. Merlin, Mark Oursler, Severna Park; 2. Swell, Derick Lynch, Arnold; 3. Pussycat, Bruce Johnson, Bowie.
Cal 25 (8 starters): 1. Riders Up, Dave Wooldridge, Annapolis; 2. Jumpin' Jack Flash, John Niemczuk, Glen Burnie; 3. Alice May, Michael O'Toole, Vienna, Va.
Triton (6 starters): 1. Traveller, Jasper Welch, Arlington, Va.; 2. Overdraft, David Hoyt, Glen Burnie; 3. Sandpiper, Christopher Gordon, Chevy Chase.
Sunday, May 10
IMS I (6 starters): 1. Gaucho, Peter Gordon, Annapolis, 1:02:25 c.t.; 2. Merrythought, Jack King, Fairfax, Va./Annapolis, 1:04:11 c.t.; 3. Dancer, Bill Steitz, Pittsburgh, Pa./Annapolis, 1:07:00 c.t.
IMS II (8 starters): 1. Privateer, Dave Dodge, Annapolis, 1:11:55 c.t.; 2. Whiskers, Neil Siegel, Washington, 1:12:05 c.t.; 3. Yellow Jacket, BFSS&W; Syndicate, Annapolis, 1:12:14 c.t.
IMS III (6 starters): 1. The Knife, Mack Latz, Atlantic City, N.J., 0:56:09 c.t.; 2. Scrimshaw, Charles Deakyne, Severna Park, 0:56:21 c.t.; 3. Insight, Alan Harquail, Annapolis, 1:03:41 c.t.
PHRF A-1 (7 starters): 1. Chesapeake, Seward Lawlor, Norfolk, Va., 2:16:45 c.t.; 2. King Nummy, Don Breder, Dresher, Pa., 2:22:42 c.t.; 3. Jezebel, Heinz Scheidemandel, Falls Church, Va., 3:23:49 c.t.
PHRF A-2 (8 starters): 1. PollyWannaCracka?, Larry Kumins, Annapolis, 2:13:08 c.t.; 2. Fast Track, Yeigh/McFadden, Annapolis, 2:16:59 c.t.; 3. Moonlighting, Thomas French, Annapolis, 2:18:17 c.t.
PHRF B (9 starters): 1. Valkyrie, Ron Peterson, 2:09:26 c.t.; 2. Yellow Bird, Richard Heintz, Harwood, 2:10:33 c.t.; 3. Vertwo, John & Betty Scott, Towson, 2:12:32 c.t.
MORC (8 starters): 1. Bang, Dave Gendell, Arnold, 1:51:12 c.t.; 2. A Train, Robert Reeves, Annapolis, 2:00:02 c.t.; 3. Stingray, Bob Muller, Annapolis, 2:01:13 c.t.
J/35 (5 starters): 1. Hot Toddy, Jeff Todd, Annapolis; 2. Eroica, Bill Sutton, Arlington, Va.; 3. Cheers, Timothy Bowen, Bowie.
This weekend, Coast Navigation in Annapolis has scheduled a series of boating safety seminars and demonstrations, which will feature an unusual opportunity for boaters to jump into a large tank full of water and try out life rafts and vests.
Coast's Safety First weekend, Friday and Saturday at its Legion Avenue headquarters a block off West Street, will include valuable opportunities for racers and family cruisers to learn more about many important aspects of boating safety.
"We decided to do this because a lot of people have never seen a life raft deployed, or tried to get into one in the water," said Coast's Beth Kahr. "And a lot of people have never tried an inflatable life jacket, or tried to get into a life raft wearing one. We think it's important for people to have a chance to try these things for themselves, in a controlled situation before it's an emergency."
Kahr said in addition to exhibitors' tents, a 20-by-30-foot inflatable pool will be set up in the parking lot, and a life guard will be on duty.
In addition to test tank demonstrations by representatives of Switlik, Mustang, Crewsaver, and Avon/IMTRA, Survival Technologies' Kelsey Burr will be on hand for personal consultations through the weekend. They will lead a pair of seminars, "Safe Cruising Isn't An Accident," at 7 p.m. Friday and "Your Abandon Ship Bag," at 11 a.m. Saturday.
The Annapolis Fire Department will demonstrate fire extinguishers and answer questions about different types of fires, what works to extinguish them and what doesn't, Kahr said.
Anyone who wants to try a raft or a vest is advised to dress appropriately.
The seminars and the demonstrations are free.
For more information, call Coast Navigation, 268-3120.
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 The Anne Arundel County Sun.