The annual Catalina 27 National Championship in Annapolis was one of the closest and most exciting in recent years.
The competition was so close that overall winner Derick Lynch of Arnold and his crew aboard Swell didn't realize they had won until they were nearly back to the dock following the final race on Saturday.
Although they were fairly confident they had beaten rival Bruce Johnson of Bowie and his crew on Pussycat on a tiebreaker, Lynch said they did not know they had beaten 1990 champion Barney Hathaway of Great Mills and his crew on Chandelle until they found an error in their mental scoring.
Only three-quarters of a point separated Lynch's and Johnson's tied scores from Hathaway's third-place total at series end.
Nineteen crews participated, split into a 13-boat Gold spinnaker fleet and a six-boat Silver nonspinnaker fleet in a five-race series under excellent conditions.
Racing began with three windward-leeward, twice-around contests in 8 to 12 knots of breeze last Friday, with Hathaway acing the first two and placing third in the third, to Lynch's finishes of 2-2-1.
"In the second race, especially, everybody was pretty aggressive," Lynch said, describing two general recalls before the Gold fleet started clean. "Then it was a photo finish between the top three boats."
By day's end, Lynch said, Swell was a mere quarter-point behind Chandelle, with a nine-point gap back to Johnson in third.
In Saturday's first race, another windward-leeward, "Our only goal was to beat Chandelle," Lynch said.
In breezes of 16 to 18 knots, "We both put up a No. 3 [working jib], andit turned out to be too small a sail," Lynch said. "Chandelle finished seventh and we finished eighth. Bruce won the race and caught up to us. He was only a point behind."
The final race of the series was a long-distance figure-eight around government marks.
At the finish, Lynch had slipped into a narrow fifth behind Johnson's fourth, with Hathaway in seventh.
In other action, Jake Jacobs of Annapolis, after losing some of his crew before the regatta due to other obligations, dropped back into the Silver fleet to race nonspinnaker.
Although he was short-handed, he dominated the class, taking bullets in all five races.
) Catalina 27 Nationals Gold (spinnaker) Fleet (13 entrants): 1. Swell, Derick Lynch, Arnold, 17.75 (2-2-1-8-5); 2. Pussycat, Bruce Johnson, Bowie, 17.75 (3-5-5-1-4); 3. Chandelle, Barney Hathaway, Great Mills, 18.5 (1-1-3-7-7).
Silver (nonspinnaker) Fleet (six entrants): 1. Seascape, Jake Jacobs, Annapolis, 3.75 (1-1-1-1-1); 2. Escape, I. J. Fisher, (hometown unavailable), 13 (4-2-3-2-2); 3. Legacy, Wayne Simpson, (hometown unavailable), 13 (2-3-2-3-3).
White wins at Gibson Island
In a come-from-behind charge in increasingly difficult conditions, John White of Severna Park and his crew topped a fleet of 20 in the J/22 District Championship Regatta last weekend.
Sailing with White in the regatta, managed by the Gibson Island Yacht Squadron, were Barbara Vosbury and Henry Strong.
White's finishes in the first two races -- his first sailing in about six weeks and his first J/22 event this year -- on Saturday were fifth and sixth, respectively.
But he went on to win the day's third and final race, settling into a temporary third-in-fleet position at the end of the day behind Gary Jobson in first and Scott Allan in second.
White and company aced the first race Sunday and took second in the last, to win by 4 1/4 points over Jobson after all competitors' worst races had been dropped from the five-race, one-throw-out series.
Winning the Master's Trophy was third-place Allan. Joan Watts, fourth overall, earned the Herron Bowl as top female skipper in the event after edging Mary Carrol by three-quarters of a point.
. J/22 District Championship 1. Sail No. 677, John White, Severna Park, 8.5 (5-[TRW]-1-1-2); 2. Road Kill, Gary Jobson, Annapolis, 12.75 (1-2-5-5-[TRW]); 3. Special K, Scott Allan, Annapolis, 15 (6-3-2-4-[TRW]); 4. Shadow, Joan Watts, Churchton, 17 (2-8-3-[TRW]-4); 5. That's Nice, Mary Carrol, Glen Arm, 17.75 ([TRW]-1-8-2-7).