Last weekend's Colonial Cup Regatta for Snipe sailors at the Severn Sailing Association may have been light on breeze, but it was heavy on competition. Forty-eight teams from across the country convened in Annapolis for the popular annual event.
Overall victory in the four-race series, with three contests on Saturday and a long drifter on Sunday, went to Newport, R.I., sailors Andrew Pimental and Lexi Andrews.
But six of the remaining slots in the top 10 finishers were claimed by members of the Annapolis fleet, including skippers Henry Filter in second, Bryan Fishback third, Hal Gilreath in fifth, and John Fry, John Danneberger, and Alex Stout in eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively.
Filter, a recent transplant from Boston, sailed the regatta with Alexandria, Va., sailor Nancy Green, another former Bostonian, and came within a point and a half of Pimental and Andrews by sailing conservatively in the big fleet.
"We just had consistent boat speed," Filter said. "We sailed relatively conservatively. A lot of boats went way out into the corners, but we played more the middle of the course. And that's one reason we didn't win any races, either."
Filter said that although the breeze was light but quite manageable for Saturday's three races, Sunday's contest was the most difficult in spotty, extremely light air and strong current.
"On Sunday particularly the current was running pretty hard," Filter said. "Tactically what worked was getting to the right side of the course to get out of the current, where there also happened to be a little more wind. The five of us who finished first went out there, and there was a huge, huge gap between fifth and sixth at the finish."
Snipe Colonial Cup Regatta
1. Andrew Pimental, Newport, R.I., 12.5 (5-1-1-6); 2. Henry Filter, Stevensville, 14 (2-3-4-5); 3. Bryan Fishback, Deale, 17.75 (4-2-11-1); 4. Pedro Larson, Seacliff, N.Y., 22 (6-7-5-4); 5. Hal Gilreath, Arlington, Va., 31 (3-15-2-11); 6. P.J. Schaffer, Newport, R.I., 31.75 (1-4-8-19); 7. Ian Brown, Canada, 34 (15-5-6-8); 8. John Fry, Bethesda, 35 (10-6-17-2); 9. John Danneberger, Annapolis, 36 (14-9-3-10); 10. Alex Stout, Annapolis, 37 (8-16-10-3).
Talent, teamwork and practice go a long way toward victory, Kathy Parks and her crew showed last weekend with a win in the Spinnaker 1 class of the Women's Big Boat Regatta at West River Sailing Club after finishes of 1-1-2.
"We had a really good crew," Parks said. "We had four women who normally do foredeck on other boats, and three who drive. We had so much talent we almost didn't know what to do with them all."
Parks and her co-team captain Joan Watts organized the crew, assigned positions and scheduled practice sessions to warm up for the regatta, she said.
"By the time we got to the racing, we had learned a lot," she said. "I really wanted it to go smoothly, and I wanted all the mechanics to be good. They were."
Sailing with Parks and Watts were Kirsten Angle, Jessica Deutchman, Erin Harrington, Marion Rutsch, Beth Sertl, Kim Smith, Suzy Stout and Ellen Thomas.
Winds were light for Saturday's windward-leeward race, Parks said, in the 4- to 8-knot range.
"The current was a pretty big factor in that race," she said. "It was running north the first half of the race, and running south the second half.
rTC "Sunday we had much better air, around eight to 12 knots. It was much more dependable, too, a lot less holes, and we were able to get two good races off, using a windward-leeward course and an Olympic course."
Parks said another factor that helped her team was her family's trade-in of their old Sundog -- a J/35 -- and its replacement with the new one, a Tripp 33.
"The Tripp is just a lot easier to handle for women," Parks said. "It has a really big main, but it has a little fractionally rigged jib, and a fractional spinnaker, so you don't have to muscle it all around quite so much."
Although overall Spinnaker 1 second-placer Donna Schlegel and her team on her Tartan Ten Rubadubdub corrected out ahead of the Sundog women in Sunday's final contest, Parks said she and her crew were involved in particularly heated competition -- "within shouting distance" -- with Susan Meredith's team on Steve Kaminer's Tripp 36 Predator.
"Predator owed us 12 seconds a mile," Parks said, "but we never let them in front of us in the first race, or in the second. In the third race they got in front of us a couple of times, but somehow we were able to catch them again."
Parks praised the race committee and organizers for a job well done with the successful regatta, and added that a small army of spectator boats at the marks and finish made the whole event even more fun.
Women's Big Boat Regatta
Spinnaker 1 (5 starters): 1. Sundog, Kathy Parks, Shady Side, 14, 0.933333 (1-1-2); 2. Rubadubdub, Donna Schlegel, West River, 11, 0.733333 (3-3-1); 3. Predator, Susan Meredith, Annapolis, 10, 0.666667 (2-2-4).
Spinnaker 2 (4 starters): 1. Splash Dancin', Anne Eager, West River, 13, 0.866667 (1-1-1); 2. Light'nin, Katherine McMahon, Pasadena, 8, 0.53333 (2-2-4); 3. Sydney Push, D. Stickell, [address unavailable], 7, 0.466667 (3-4-2).
The Rock Creek Racing Association's annual middle-distance race, the Seven-Foot Knoll Lighthouse Classic, went off virtually without a hitch last Saturday, sending 15 teams in three PHRF splits on a 20-mile course in the upper bay.
"We started in very light air, just the slightest amount of breeze, maybe two knots, and a foul tide," said Gibson Island sailor Butch Michel, who skippered his Frers 50 Airwaves to victory in PHRF A.
"We had to go south from the start, which was up by Seven-Foot Knoll, on a four-mile beat to the first mark, which for us was really frustrating," Michel said. "We're just learning the boat, and I'm convinced we didn't have the prop feathered, and it was slowing us down."
Michel said that because the rest of the race was made up of a long downwind run, a short close reach, and a final run to the finish, he was worried that he hadn't established a sufficient lead by the first mark to stay ahead of the other boats, all of whom Airwaves owed quite a bit of time on handicap.
He and his team managed to leg the boat out off the wind, however, and maintain a big enough lead to avert the best back-stabbing efforts of the competition.
"Boat speed was the whole thing," Michel said. "And how you got around that first mark. Once you were around, in that strong northerly current, you just took off. It was a lot of fun, especially after the last couple of weekends, which were rainy and wet. It was a good race, and a good day to be out in the sunshine."
RCRA Seven-Foot Knoll Lighthouse Classic
PHRF A: 1. Airwaves, Robert Michel Jr., Baltimore, 3:59:13 c.t.; 2. Albatrossi, David Rossi, Severna Park, 4:02:22 c.t.; 3. Pegasus, Tom Curtis, Arnold, 4:20:54 c.t.
PHRF B: 1. Desperado, Woody Snyder, Newark, Del., 4:23:37 c.t.; 2. Intuition, Howard Stroterhoff, Baltimore, 4:25:36 c.t.; 3. Blind Luck, John Fowlkes, Annapolis, 4:30:47 c.t.
PHRF C: 1. Knotbobs, Daniel Miller, Baltimore, 4:36:43 c.t.; 2. Desperado, Frank Courtwright, Columbia, 5:10:15 c.t.; 3. Boreas, Mike Mullarky, Baltimore, 5:33:05 c.t.
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.