It rained, it poured, the current was vicious and a cruising boat that got too close to the action impaled its rigging on the bowsprit of the committee boat during the starting sequence.
But Shearwater Sailing Club's Hospice Cup XII on Saturday was a great experience nevertheless, for organizers, racers and a large group of sponsor/spectators aboard the Spirit of Baltimore and other vessels.
The regular racing fleet of 83 starters in seven classes was augmented by a special 15-boat Hospice Class, made up of boats -- and crews -- that do not normally race.
The racing fleet set off on a 15.4-mile government mark course ranging between Thomas Point and the Bay Bridge in puffy northerly breezes averaging 10 to 12 knots, while the Hospice Class sailed its own 8.7-mile course.
"I've been sailing a lot of years, and I've sailed a lot of wet races, but that had to be the wettest one I've ever been in," said Ben Michaelson, who led his crew aboard his J/44 Quintessence to victory in the 16-boat PHRF A-1 division and claimed the John Parker Hills Memorial Trophy for the best performance in the PHRF fleet overall.
"As far as we were concerned, the most important thing was staying out of the current going up the bay, and staying in it going down the bay.
On the first leg, we stayed left longer than anyone else, and it really paid off for us."
After establishing a strong position on the first and only weather leg, the Quintessence crew was able to hold on for the remainder of the race.
Among the other overall and perpetual trophy winners was Michaelson's foredeck man aboard Quintessence, Denis Lynch, who earned the Cathy Hartman Memorial Trophy awarded to the foredeck crew on the winning PHRF A-1 boat.
The Ralph A. Beeton Memorial Trophy for the best helmsmanship aboard a Naval Academy yacht was awarded to Midshipman 1st Class Todd Smith, skipper of Cinnabar, third in PHRF A-1.
The Hospice Cup Trophy, in recognition of consistently high performance in three consecutive Hospice Cup races, went to Brad Parker, who with his crew on Sugar topped out the IMS III class for the third year in a row.
First among the Hospice Class racers was M. J. Lewandowski, sailing Anyway, completing the 8.7-mile course in about 2 1/4 hours.
Hospice Cup XII
IMS III (8 starters): 1. Sugar, Brad Parker, Annapolis, 1:49:55 c.t.; 2. Blackpowder, Lawrence Hosmer, Annapolis, 1:51:55 c.t.; 3. Anthem, Peter Geis, Severna Park, 1:52:27 c.t.
MORC (7 starters): 1. Mirage, Scott Salvesen, Columbia, 2:12:46 c.t.; 2. Rude Awakening, Chuck O'Malley, Annapolis, 2:13:43 c.t.; 3. Fast Company, Barry Moss, Bethesda, 2:15:27 c.t.
PHRF A-1 (16 starters): 1. Quintessence, Benjamin Michaelson, Annapolis, 2:32:36 c.t.; 2. Predator, Steve Kaminer, Washington, 2:33:29 c.t.; 3. Cinnabar, Mid. 1/C Todd Smith, USNA, 2:33:49 c.t.; 4. Crescendo, Stephen Hiltabidle, Annapolis, 2:34:43 c.t.; 5. Medicine Man, Charles Kohlerman, Brookhaven, Pa., 2:35:30 c.t.
PHRF A-2 (21 starters): 1. Warp Speed, Neill Murphy, Annapolis, 2:20:46 c.t.; 2. Think Fast, Albert Holt, Annapolis, 2:22:06 c.t.; 3. Fair American, Mid. 1/C John Schedel, USNA, 2:22:15 c.t.; 4. Bam, G.N. Smernoff, Annandale, Va., 2:25:03 c.t.; 5. Frog Legs, Paul Awalt, Ellicott City, 2:26:57 c.t.
PHRF B (10 starters): 1. Flying Circus, Jervis Dorton, Columbia, 2:15:09 c.t.; 2. Freedom, Peter Schellie, Washington, 2:17:43 c.t.; 3. Vitality, Richard Altman, Baltimore, 2:19:29 c.t.
PHRF C (13 starters): 1. Critical Mass, John Lanigan, Reston, Va., 2:18:24 c.t.; 2. Sailin' Shoes, Scott Leonard, Annapolis, 2:18:29 c.t.; 3. Nepenthe, Joe Botkin, Dagsboro, Del., 2:20:11 c.t.; 4. More Harmony, Andrew Garte, (hometown unavailable), 2:20:19 c.t.
PHRF Nonspinnaker (8 starters): 1. Spice, Ray Taylor, Annapolis, 2:24:05 c.t.; 2. Albar II, Allen Keiser, Towson, 2:25:36 c.t.; 3. Kateri Ann, D. Ross, Alexandria, Va., 2:27:09 c.t.
Hospice Class (15 starters): 1. Anyway, M.J. Lewandowski, (hometown unavailable), 1:45:16 c.t.; 2. What Next, Ed Kern, (hometown unavailable), 1:47:45 c.t.; 3. Dominique, Mark Berlinger, (hometown unavailable), 1:48:24 c.t.