The West River Sailing Club in Galesville had a definit pre-Olympic look last weekend.
Races were held for 32 teams for the 470 National Championships, 15 contenders in the Europe Dinghy East Coasts and six in the Finn Class Chesapeake Regatta.
James Appel, a 470 sailor and Naval Academy sailing coach, was guaranteed the third-ranked slot on the U.S. Sailing Team with his seventh-place finish at West River. Appel and crew member Lt. Jamie Fontanella, a Navy graduate, will compete in the 470 Worlds this summer in France.
Racing in the 470 Nationals, the final event in a best-two-of-four regatta series to determine the three American teams to be selected for the U.S. Sailing Team, were top sailors from across the nation, as well as racers from other countries, including Canada, Jamaica and Finland.
"It was good racing in a pretty decent fleet," Appel said.
Winners overall were 1992 Olympic medalists Morgan Reeser and Kevin Burnham, with a nearly perfect score of 5.25 in the seven-race, one-throwout series.
The team had a fourth-place finish as its throwout and aced all other contests except the first and sixth races, for which it was awared average scores of 1.125 after requests for redress.
Winds built to steady southerlies all three days, for three races each of the first two days and two on Sunday. Appel and Fontanella did best on Saturday afternoon when the breeze came in at 15 to 18 and they had finishes of second and fourth.
Racing was also tight in the Europe class, where first-placer Jennifer Coolidge was only two points ahead of the highly competitive pack at regatta's end, and 17-year-old Rebecca Harris took second on a tie-breaker over Katy Pilley.
Local sailors in the class also performed well, with Nancy Haberland fourth, Diane Burton sixth, and Leslie Skelley 11th.
1. Morgan Reeser/Kevin Burnham, Fla., 5.25; 2) Chris Farrar/Louise Van Voorhis, N.Y., 11.5; 3. Toshi Sakama/Kevin Cooper, Fla., 32; 4. Tim Collins, Mass., 37.75; 5. Tracy Hayley, (home state unavailable), 40; 6. Andy Gooding, Jamaica, 44.3; 7. James Appel/Jamie Fontanella, Annapolis, 49.
Europe East Coasts
1. Jennifer Coolidge, Mass., 25.75; 2. Rebecca Harris, Calif., 27.75; 3. Katy Pilley, Minn., 27.75.
Finn Chesapeake Regatta
1. Richard Clarke, Canada, 9; 2. John Porter, Ga., 13.25; 3. Will Martin, (home state unavailable), 16.75.
Brady joins Conner team
After last week's announcement that Annapolitan Jim Brady has joined Team Dennis Conner for the 1995 America's Cup, Conner himself was at the Naval Academy on Monday to deliver the annual Forrestal Lecture and had high praise for his new associate.
"His sailing skills speak for themselves," Conner said. "He has a good personality for team sports, which is not necessarily the case for all sailors. He has a good attitude, and I'm sure he'll be a star. I think people like Jim Brady. He's clean cut, bright, articulate, and a good leader."
Brady, a 1992 Olympic silver medalist, in 1990 was named Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, Sailing World's One-Design Sailor of the Year and Yachting's Skipper of the Year. He holds several world championship titles in classes including J/22s and J/24s. He is the first non-veteran of previous Conner campaigns to join Conner's long-standing core group of top sailors, such as North Sails president Tom Whidden.
"It wouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out there'll be a lot of the same people involved," Conner said. "These relationships don't just go away. [But] it's important for us to try to bring some younger faces into this. Tom and Dennis aren't going to be around forever."
Brady's role on the team has not been finalized, but Conner confirmed that it will be in the afterguard.
"He would be wasted if we just had him trimming sails," Conner said. "I'm sure he'll have a chance to steer the boat, but until the whole team's together it's hard to say exactly what his role will be."
Brady first will race with Conner in the International America's Cup Class World Championships next spring. Then he will go to San Diego to begin full-time training and preparation for the 1995 Defender Trials.
There had been speculation that Brady would join the America's Cup campaign mounted by Kevin Mahaney, with whom Brady won his Olympic medal in the Soling class and earned other titles, including the Soling Match Racing World Championship.
"I decided on Conner's team because time and again Dennis has proven he is a winner," Brady said. "He has staying power. He organizes a highly competitive team and demands the best in yacht design and sails. I think Conner has the potential to attract full sponsorship and bring together the best people for a competitive team."
Brady is a sailing consultant with North Sails and owns Brady Sailing International in Annapolis.
Take a free ride
Chesapeake Sailing School will offer free 90-minute boat rides and sailing introductions aboard Expo Solar Sailor dinghies and Tanzer 22 sloops this weekend in Annapolis.
The boats, each with a captain aboard and room for up to three passengers in the Solar Sailors and four aboard the Tanzers, will leave from Fawcett Boat Supplies at City Dock at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The school also is offering class discounts to those who test-sail a Tanzer during this demonstration and is having a three-day program for the price of two during Memorial Day weekend.
Advance reservations for the test sails are recommended. For more information or reservations for the test sails or the weekend course, call (410) 269-1594.