Sailors from many nations are expected for the J/24 championships


The volunteers of Annapolis J/24 Fleet 8 are getting into high gear for one of the biggest international one-design regattas the area has seen -- the 1992 J/24 World Championships.

They will be sailed in Annapolis the first week of November from Severn Sailing Association (SSA) and the Eastport Yacht Club (EYC).

Competitors, representing the highest levels of J/24 sailing success in their nations, will begin to arrive Oct. 29 for registration and measurements.

Following a practice/warm-up session and the skippers' meeting Oct. 31, racing will begin Nov. 1 and run through the week, concluding Friday, Nov. 6.

A total of 97 skippers and their four- or five-member crews have earned the right to compete at the '92 Worlds, although the ultimate fleet size more likely will be in the 70-boat range.

Competitors include those who earned their invitations to the tTC regatta by virtue of a qualifying factor, such as being a past world champion, or winning the North Americans or the Rolex Women's International Keelboat Championship. Also, 25 U.S. crews are eligible, including five locally based Fleet 8 teams.

Other qualifiers are from Argentina, Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Monaco, Peru, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

To date, 53 entrants already sent in their entry forms to confirm for the event.

One of the most visible sailors who will be taking part is Annapolitan Jim Brady, a past J/24 world champion and Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. He returned home a week or two ago with a silver medal for his performance in the Soling class at the 1992 Olympic Games.

Brady's fellow 1992 Olympic medalist Paul Foerster, a Texan who took the silver in Flying Dutchmen, also is an accomplished J/24 sailor.

He will be competing at the '92 Worlds, as will at least two other past J/24 World Champions, Dave Curtis and Ken Read.

Betsy Allison, reigning women's keelboat champion and past Rolex yachtswoman of the year, and North American Champion Geoff Moore also will be on hand, along with America's Cup veteran John Wright, who earned his slot as the top District 6 sailor at last autumn's J/24 East Coasts in Annapolis.

From Fleet 8 will come the Rainbo team of Bo McBee and Peter Cramer, who qualified with a Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association High Point victory last year.

Doug Clark's Dusty Work crew, Tim Mowry's and Stewart Spettel's Latent Defect Team, Tony Parker and his Bangor Packet crew, and the Bunky's Boat team of Bunky Hines and Chip Carr, all qualified by placing in the top four of a hard-fought series of regattas earlier this summer.

Other local skippers who will join the fray are Chris Larson and Terry Hutchinson, as well as former Annapolitan Cory Sertl.

This is the first time Annapolis has played host to the J/24 World Championship, but in a very real sense the event has deep roots here.

The first-ever J/24 World Champion, in 1979, was Annapolitan Charlie Scott.

In addition to EYC and SSA and the Fleet 8 volunteers, help with the regatta also is coming from Annapolis Yacht Club, Annapolis Landing Marina, Horn Point Marina and other local marine businesses, including several prominent sail lofts.

The concluding awards presentation party will be at the Annapolis Marriott Waterfront Hotel.

Finlandia vodka, the T.G.I. Friday restaurant chain, Layline and CBYRA are among the sponsors of the event.

But the program still needs help in the form of rental or donated housing for sailors, boat buddies to spend some time each day helping to make sure that the foreign sailors have or can get what they need, in-kind sponsorship donations of goods and services, and volunteers for dozens of jobs, particularly the week of the regatta.

To join in the fun, and help out with an event, call regatta chairwoman Barbara Vosbury, 923-2063.

* The roster of competitors for this year's Cadillac Columbus Cup match-race regatta in Baltimore over Oct. 3-10, is now complete, said Susan Taylor, executive director of the Columbus Cup.

Joining previously named helmsmen Gary Jobson of Annapolis, Olympic silver medalist Kevin Mahaney, Santa Maria Cup winner and America3 crew member Dawn Riley, America's Cup sailor John Kolius, France's Bertrand Pace, Britain's Chris Law and Nippon America's Cup challenger afterguard member Robert Fry, will be Kiwi Brad Butterworth, a noted New Zealander.

Racing will be on courses set between Fort McHenry and the Key Bridge.

New this year, the regatta will be sailed using new Beneteau First 310s rather than the J/44s that have been used in the past.

Also new this year is the Baltimore Regatta for the Vision Impaired, Saturday, Oct. 3, at 10 a.m.

The event also will include the Race to Save the Bay, Sunday, Oct. 4, offering corporate sponsors the chance to race to benefit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

This race will be followed by a seafood feast, open to the public with tickets $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

For more information, or to reserve tickets for the Seafood Feast, call 410-385-2930.

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.

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