Sailors race across the bay to Oxford, promptly plunge into a regatta


The sleepy little Eastern Shore town of Oxford experienced a sudden swell in population over the weekend.

The crews of 95 racing sailboats arrived Friday afternoon at the finish of the 26.7-mile race from Annapolis and stayed on for an 11.2-mile round-the-buoys race the next day, joined by 108 one-design crews visiting for a two-day regatta of their own.

This annual madness is the work of the Tred Avon Yacht Club, which plays host to all the sailors, and co-host Chesapeake Bay Yacht Club.

Light air plagued the point-to-point fleet on Friday, but the course was shortened from its original 29-mile configuration to finish at Choptank River Light at the mouth of the Tred Avon, rather than upriver at the traditional finish near the club.

First to finish, at 4:15 p.m., was Bob Muller and his crew aboard his Merit 28 Stingray to solidly win the MORC class by more than 10 minutes in a strung-out finish sequence.

Muller went on to win again on Saturday, when healthier breezes encouraged stiff competition on the buoys course, and victory margins of only seconds were found at the finishes of many classes.

One of the closest classes was PHRF A-1, with only 31 seconds between David Rossi's Albatrossi in first and Sam Owings' Moving Violation in third.

Second in this race, after a first on Friday, was Paul Parks and the crew on his new Tripp 33 Sundog.

"Friday was a little bit of a crapshoot," Parks explained, describing winds that shifted nearly all the way around the compass.

"It was really three or four races in one. There were lots of holes and light air, but we worked the boat hard and stayed low going in the Choptank, which really paid off at the end -- the guys who went high got hurt at the finish."

Despite the second-place finish Saturday, Parks said he felt he and his crew actually sailed better in that race than they had the day before.

"Our crew work was really very good," he said.

"We're really starting to learn the new boat. It was kind of shifty, and you had to play the shifts, which that Tripp 33 does very well, but on the last leg, which was downwind, we were ahead and the breeze filled in from behind."

With a one-design event the size of the annual Oxford Regatta, multiple courses were required to accommodate everyone, but the race committee was up to the task, including bringing all the sailors in for lunch between races on Saturday.

"It was a nice regatta," said Snipe class winner Hal Whitacre, who sailed with his wife, Alison, as crew. "We had nice breezes all three races, two on Saturday and one Sunday, which is rare for Oxford. It was probably blowing 10 to 15 knots the whole time -- no drifting."

The Whitacres won the regatta the hard way, by climbing over a fellow competitor who had led the pack at the end of Saturday's races.

"We were 2 points behind Lee Griffith going into Sunday," Whitacre said. "We were lucky we were able to keep him behind us and put some boats in between us."

Race to Oxford IMS 2 (3 starters): 1. Predator, Steve Kaminer, Washington, c.t.

IMS 3 (8 starters): 1. Rampage, Gordon Thayer, Wilmington, Del., 3:27:41 c.t.; 2. Contraire, Steve Schaub, Eldersburg, 3:33:41 c.t.; 3. Moonshine, Jim Schneider, Salisbury, 3:36:16 c.t.

MORC (6 starters): 1. Stingray, Robert Muller, Annapolis, 6:08:46 c.t.; 2. Cat's Paw, Butch Minson, Annapolis, 6:19:11 c.t.; 3. Plum Fun, Gary Meyer, Severn, 6:33:43 c.t.

PHRF A-1 (18 starters): 1. Sundog, Paul Parks, Shady Side, 6:18:42 c.t.; 2. Moving Violation, Samuel Owings, Annapolis, 6:23:22 c.t.; 3. Medicine Man, Charles Kohlerman, Brookhaven, Pa., 6:34:02 c.t.

PHRF A-2 (14 starters): 1. Think Fast, Albert Holt, Annapolis, 6:26:50 c.t.; 2. The Simpsons, Thompson/Shannahan, St. Michaels, 6:31:07 c.t.; 3. Prim, Henry Gibbons-Neff, Easton, 6:32:36 c.t.

PHRF B (15 starters): 1. Nicole, Tad duPont, Easton, 6:20:29 c.t.; 2. Pony Express, Ingo May, Kennett Square, Pa., 6:23:38 c.t.; 3. Sidekick, Bill Miles, Harwood, 6:24:02 c.t.

PHRF C (14 starters): 1. Finnegan's Wake, John O'Brien, Pasadena, 6:02:38 c.t.; 2. Knotbobs, Daniel Miller, 6:12:44 c.t.; 3. Puffin, David Hensinger, Oxford, 6:17:27 c.t.

PHRF Nonspinnaker (11 starters): 1. Fraulein, John Belas, Glen Arm, 6:57:56 c.t.; 2. Sundae Lovers, Bruce Bogdanoff, Swedesboro, N.J., 7:01:23 c.t.; 3. Bucentaur, Marvin Foxwell, [address unavailable], 7:20:23 c.t.

Triton (6 starters): 1. Sandpiper, Chris Gordon, Chevy Chase; 2. Winsome, Jack Hayes, Arnold; 3. Overdraft, David Hoyt, Glen Burnie.

Oxford Regatta

IMS 2 (4 starters): 1. Privateer, Dave Dodge, Annapolis, 0:29:44 c.t.; 2. Predator, Kaminer, 0:31:08 c.t.

IMS 3 (6 starters): 1. Rampage, Thayer, 0:21:56 c.t.; 2. Moonshine, Schneider, 0:26:32 c.t.; 3. The Knife, Mack Latz, Atlantic City, N.J., 0:26:34 c.t.

/# MORC (6 starters): 1. Stingray,

Muller, 1:27:20 c.t.; 2. Joe Cool, Joe Phillips, Annapolis, 1:29:03 c.t.; 3. Smaug, Steve Carton, Clarksburg, 1:36:18 c.t.

PHRF A-1 (14 starters): 1. Albatrossi, David Rossi, Severna Park, 1:45:25 c.t.; 2. Sundog, Parks, 1:46:00 c.t.; 3. Moving Violation, Owings, 1:46:06 c.t.

PHRF A-2 (12 starters): 1. The Simpsons, Thompson/Shannahan, c.t.; 2. Think Fast, Holt, 1:44:32 c.t.; 3. Norwind, Richard Norair, Easton, 1:45:21 c.t.

PHRF B (13 starters): 1. Baffled, Vance Strausburg, St. Michaels, 1:41:52 c.t.; 2. Yellow Bird, Richard Heintz, Harwood, 1:42:22 c.t.; 3. Sidekick, Miles, 1:42:51 c.t.

PHRF C (14 starters): 1. Knotbobs, Miller, 1:35:17 c.t.; 2. Marmalade, Mark Hergan, St. Mary's, 1:38:25 c.t.; 3. Nepenthe, James Urban, Annapolis, 1:39:50 c.t.

PHRF Nonspinnaker (7 starters): 1. Bucentaur, Foxwell, 1:46:30 c.t.; 2. Glory, Raymond Munsch, Philadelphia, Pa., 1:48:05 c.t.; 3. Dark Rapture, Mike Kelly, Berlin, 1:49:01 c.t.

Triton (6 starters): 1. Overdraft, Hoyt; 2. Pylasteki, Leb Brown, Silver Spring; 3. Winsome, Hayes.

Oxford One-Design Regatta

Impulse (5 starters): 1. Folly, Tom Lucke, Oxford, 4.5 (1-3- 1); 2. Jac, Mark Pellerin, Oxford, 6 (2-2-2); 3. Impulsive, Bill Cox, Oxford, 9.75 (3-1-DNF).

Junior Double-Handed (2 starters): 1. Robin Borchardt, Easton.

Laser Senior (30 starters): 1. James Jacob, Alexandria, Va., 4.75 (2-1-2); 2. Gary Smith, Alexandria, Va., 10.75 (1-7-3); 3. James Thieler, Oxford, 11 (4-3-4); 4. William Heward, [address unavailable], 15 (5-4-6); 5. Steve Swenson, Falls Church, Va., 16.75 (11-5-1).

Laser Junior (29 starters): 1. Jeffrey Roberts, Annapolis, 7.75 (1-2-5); 2. Tucker Thompson, Rehoboth, De., 8.75 (6-1-2); 3. Greg

Miernicki, Severna Park, 11.75 (5-6-1); 4. Tim Devine, Oxford, 12 (2-7-3); 5. Jeremy Wilson, Severna Park, 12 (3-3-6).

Laser 2 Senior (4 starters): 1. Good Runs II, John Akridge, Oxford, 3.5 (1-2-1); 2. Fast & Loose, Jon Corchnoy, Clemonton, N.J., 4.75 (2-1-2).

Optimist 10 and Under (3 starters): 1. C. Kingsley, Oxford, 10.25 (1-1-1-1).

Penguin (8 starters): 1. Spax, Sandy McAllister, [address unavailable], 5.75 (2-3-1); 2. Sidewinder, Pucky Lippincott, Oxford, 6.75 (1-4-2); 3. Queen of Hearts, Bill Lane Sr., Oxford, 7.75 (4-1-3).

Snipe (10 starters): 1. Cosmic Debris, Hal Whitacre, Annapolis, 8.75 (1-5-3); 2. Back to the Chicken Shack, Susan Taylor, Annapolis, 10.75 (2-8-1); 3. Outra Mother, Lee Griffith, [address unavailable], 10.75 (3-1-7).

Star (17 starters): 1. Beet, Ned Jones, [address unavailable], 7.75 (1-5-2); 2. Sail No. 7628, Kevin McNeil, Annapolis, 9 (3-3-3); 3. Relentless, Craig Coltharp, Stevensville, 9.75 (5-1-4).

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