One of the area's longest-running sailing traditions is the West River Sailing Club's annual Labor Day regatta.
It's a three-day event dating to the club's founding by a group of Shady Side sailors in 1930.
This year's regatta, the 63rd annual, drew about 100 one-desig boats ranging from classic Chesapeake 20s, Flying Scots, Albacores, Jet 14s, Penguins and Olympic class Stars and 470s, to one-man Lasers and eccentrically exciting International Canoes.
In traditional fashion, this year's regatta began with a relativel long-distance 13-mile point-to-point haul for the Chesapeake 20s, Flying Scots, Jet 14s and International Canoes from Annapolis to Galesville on Friday.
It was followed by a closed-course regatta for all of the classes on Saturday and Sunday.
Dying breeze discouraged many of the Annapolis-to-Galesvill starters, who dropped out to accept a tow from the race committee. But enough of the 24 starters hung in to make it a real race.
Chesapeake 20 winner Bill Crandall of Shady Side said the ke to his success was predicting and using a shore-side thermal to keep his boat going in the dying wind. "After we rounded Thomas Point in third place, I jibed over toward the South River," he said. "I was the farthest to the right, and the rest of them stayed out on the bay side [of the course]. There was just a little better shore breeze over there."
Crandall said the others began to work right to take advantage of the shore breeze, but they were too late to wrest the lead from Crandall's Gay Lady.
In the closed-course competition, Crandall placed third afte being tied for second with Alex Schlegel behind Bunky Hines in first at the end of Saturday's racing.
"Saturday was a very nice sailing day," Crandall said, describin breeze of 8 to 12 knots. "There was just the right amount of breeze, and we were out on the trapezes all day. We had a second and a third, and Alex had a second and a third, and Bunky had two firsts. Bunky's really the one to beat in a breeze."
Sunday's howling winds exceeding 25 knots and big seas kep many of the West River racers ashore, although sailors from several classes ventured out to see if they could manage to sail despite the adverse conditions.
The hardiest of these classes competed in that day's singl race, leaving their fellows with DNC's for the day. But other classes simply shortened the competition to Saturday's two races only and stayed ashore en masse.
"On Sunday, four of the 10 of the Chesapeake 20s sailed out t the starting area before the race to see if we were going to be able to do it," Crandall said, "but there were 3- to 4-foot seas and we couldn't control the boat."
Schlegel won the closed-course two-day event by being the onl Chesapeake 20 sailor to complete Sunday's tough contest, thanks to having an extra crewman aboard to help stabilize the boat.
"Alex had four people, and we all only had three," Crandall said "That extra 200 pounds really made a difference in being able to control the boat."
The traditional regatta-ending Free-For-All contest, scheduled fo Sunday afternoon, a crazy mixed-fleet event in which anything goes as long as it's wind powered, one-design rules be damned, was canceled in the heavy air.
+Annapolis to Galesville Race Chesapeake 20 (7 starters): 1. Gay Lady, Bill Crandall, Shad Side; 2. Nova, Rick Parks, Shady Side; 3. Resolute, Donna Schlegel, West River.
Flying Scot (7 starters): 1. Bob Neff, Edgewater; 2. Pete Salmon-Cox, Millersville; 3. Marty McHugh, Baltimore.
Jet 14 (4 starters): 1. Michael Parramore, [address unavailable] 2. Bill Reed, Chevy Chase.
International Canoe (6 boats): 1. Bill Beaver, Annapolis; 2. Jac White, Kensington.
%WRSC Labor Day Regatta Junior Laser (12 starters): 1. Jeffrey Roberts, Annapolis, 3. 2. Jeremy Wilson, Severna Park, 7 (2-2-3); 3. Glenn Cook, Fort Washington, 11 (4-3-4); 4. Tim Olson, Annapolis, 19 (8-6-5); 5. Greg Miernicki, Severna Park, 21 (3-6-DNC).
470 (4 starters): 1. S. Toole, [address unavailable], 3.75 (3-1).
Chesapeake 20 (10 starters): 1. Alex Schlegel, West River, 6.7 (3-2-1); 2. Bunky Hines, Annapolis, 12.5 (1-1-DNC); 3. Bill Crandall, Shady Side, 16 (2-3-DNC).
Jet 14 (7 starters): 1. Michael Parramore, [address unavailable] 4.75 (2-1-2); 2. Michael Kelly, Arlington, Va., 6.75 (3-3-1); 3. Chris Bagemihl, [address unavailable], 10.75 (1-2-DNF).
Flying Scot (14 starters): 1. Peter Salmon-Cox, Millersville, 3.7 (1-3); 2. Frank Gibson, Arlington, Va., 4 (2- 2); 3. Chris Swenson, Annapolis, 4.75 (4-1); 4. [tie] Richard Newell, Kensington, 9 (5-4); and Bob Neff, Edgewater, 9 (3-6).
Laser (17 starters): 1. Gary Smith, Alexandria, Va., 3.5 (1- 2-1); 2 Jeffrey Roberts, Annapolis, 4.75 (2-1-2); 3. Jeremy Wilson, Severna Park, 10 (4-3-3); 4. Glenn Cook, Fort Washington, 14 (6-4-4); 5. Tim Olson, Annapolis, 23 (10-8-5).
Penguin (8 starters): 1. Sandy McAllister, Annapolis, 10. (1-1-DNC); 2. Bill Lane Jr., Oxford, 13 (2-2-DNC); 3. John Majane, Bethesda, 17 (3-5-DNC).
Windmill (8 starters): 1. [tie] Mark Swanson, [addres unavailable], 11.75 (1-2-DNC); and Will Bransom, [address unavailable], 11.75 (2-1-DNC); 3. Richard Walker, Washington, 18 DNC).
Albacore (12 starters): 1. Jude Brown, Silver Spring, 4.5 (3-1-1); 2 Barney Harris, McLean, Va., 6 (2-2-2); 3. Jasper Craig, Pasadena, 16.75 (1-3-DNC); 4. Lloyd Leonard, [address unavailable], 21 (4-4-DNC).
Star (8 starters): 1. Kevin McNeil, Annapolis, 10.5 (1-1- DNC); 2 Steve Kling, Annapolis, 13 (2-2-DNC); 3. John Braddon, Fairfax, Va., 17 (3-5-DNC).
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.