Although the 1993 sailing season is winding down for most Chesapeake Bay racers, the season for the Naval Academy's Varsity Offshore Sailing Team is only a couple of weeks old.
New skipper and team assignments were made recently, after the midshipmen returned for the academic year.
But despite having new skippers in place on the boats, and with only four or five days of practice, the midshipmen dominated the Gibson Island Yacht Squadron's Cedar Point Race on Saturday.
They took best overall in IMS and PHRF divisions and swept four of the top five slots in PHRF A-2.
The Cedar Point Race doesn't go to Cedar Point any more. Instead the 53.5-mile race, which starts in Annapolis, begins with a 24-mile -- down the bay to a turning mark off Plum Point and then goes up to finish at Baltimore Light.
This year's 66 starters in three IMS classes, five PHRF splits and MORC took off in gusty northwesterly breezes.
"It was varying from nine [knots] up to about 20," said Mike Oldman, skipper of the Navy 44 Flirt, which turned in the best time in the PHRF division with a win in A-2.
ZTC "It was shifting 20 degrees or so, too."
Unlike some of the other racers in the fleet, Flirt started the race with a genoa headsail before the crew made the change to a spinnaker about two miles down the bay.
"My crew was on the ball," Oldman said, "as far as the wind shifts and the headsail changes."
The shifting wind meant constant course and trim alterations down the bay, but the course was a fetch, and gybing was not necessary.
"We rounded the mark first and went up the Western Shore coming back upwind," he said. "It turned out to be the right side of the course, and we were first under the Bay Bridge, as well."
Overall IMS and IMS II winner Vann Walke, skipper of Etoile, a Farr 43, said it was "just an incredible race, especially going downwind. We were screaming in the heavy air."
Like his PHRF teammate, Walke said his tactical choice was to stick close to the Western Shore coming upwind up the bay.
"The main thing was to keep up with the shifts and keep the boat going fast," he said.
Skipper Todd Smith of the Cinnabar team, winners of PHRF A-1 and turning in the second-best PHRF division time, said his crew set a chute right off the starting line and played the left side of the bay on the way down to Plum Point.
"The crew did an excellent job calling the shifts and puffs to keep us from rounding up," he said. "On the second leg, we stayed in the middle of the bay, which kind of hurt us a little, but we made out enough on the first leg that it didn't cost us the win."
Cedar Point Race
IMS I (1 starter): 1. Moxie, Mid. 1/C P.J. Trudell, USNA, 6:14:49 c.t.
IMS II (5 starters): 1. Etoile, Mid. 1/C Vann Walke, USNA, 4:26:15 c.t.; 2. Now, Allen Davies, Wilmington, Del., 6:20:32 c.t.; 3. First Light, George Wilson, Easton, 6:28:05 c.t.
IMS III (4 starters): 1. Fast Track, Yeigh/Stevens, Annapolis, 6:32:06 c.t.; 2. Anthem, Peter Geis, Severna Park, 6:32:13 c.t.
MORC (6 starters): 1. Rude Awakening, Chuck O'Malley, Annapolis, 5:58:23 c.t.; 2. Stingray, Robert Muller, Annapolis, 6:11:35 c.t.; 3. Bravo!, Denny White, Annapolis, 6:27:43 c.t.
PHRF A-1 (16 starters, protests pending): 1. Cinnabar, Mid. 1/C Todd Smith, USNA, 6:23:14 c.t.; 2. Donnybrook, James Muldoon, Washington, 6:37:21 c.t.; 3. Carina, William Passano III, Baltimore, 6:39:48 c.t.; 4. Patriot, Patrick Seidel, Bel Air, 6:41:18 c.t.; 5. Blonde Attack, Bill Sutton, Arlington, Va., 6:45:09 c.t.
PHRF A-2 (16 starters, protests pending): 1. Flirt, Mid. 1/C Mike Oldman, USNA, 6:22:21 c.t.; 2. Fair American, Mid. 1/C John Schedel, USNA, 6:25:22 c.t.; 3. Lively, Mid. 1/C Garth DeVries, USNA, 6:32:25 c.t.; 4. Evolution, Steve Taylor, Burtonsville, 6:42:17 c.t.; 5. Thunderbolt, Mid. 1/C Dan Emery, USNA, 6:43:39 c.t.
PHRF B (5 starters): 1. Aspire, Jack Yaissle, Allentown, Pa., 6:27:33 c.t.; 2. Vitality, Richard Altman, Baltimore, 6:29:27 c.t.; 3. Elusive, John R. Clark, Severna Park, 6:56:10 c.t.
PHRF C (7 starters): 1. AJ, Dave & Beth Scheidt, Edgewater, 6:34:51 c.t.; 2. Cold Duck, Charles & Barbara Wright, Columbia, 6:48:12 c.t.; 3. Marilyn, Martin Kiely, Berwyn Heights, 7:21:00 c.t.
PHRF Nonspinnaker (4 starters): 1. Mischief, Bingman/Teague, Arlington, Va., 6:45:00 c.t.; 2. Morning Star, D.R. Clemens, Lafayette Hill, Pa., 7:29:21 c.t.