This year's U.S. Sailboat Show will feature the fast-paced action of two new team-racing events.
The SUSA Cup regatta is Oct. 9, and the sailing industry exhibition regatta, which kicks off this year's Columbus Cup Regatta, is Oct. 11.
In team racing, the object of individual skippers and their crews is not necessarily to cross the finish line first. Rather the sailors on each three-boat team strive to obtain the best overall total score.
From the starting signal, each crew strategically tries to pass or block the opposing team so that a teammate can pass both TC boats. Using finish position points for each of the three boats on a team, with a total of 20.75 points available in the six-boat fleet, winning combinations are 10 points or fewer, such as 1-4-5 or 2-3-5.
Since each team is working constantly to attain a winning combination, positions change frequently, often many times on each leg of the race, and the winning team is not determined until all six boats have crossed the finish line.
Produced by Sail U.S.A. TV Inc. and organized by the U.S. Team Racing Association, Saturday's Cup will test a newly developed dinghy team racing format designed for live television coverage, using a close-in 1,000-foot course, set off the Naval Academy seawall.
The first race, in which three-boat teams representing Newport, R.I., and Annapolis will face off in Vanguard 15s, is set to start at 4:30 p.m.; the second race, also between Newport and Annapolis, will be sailed in Johnstone One-Design 14s and begin at 5:30 p.m.
Race management for the event will be by USTRA, using two-minute starting sequences. On-water umpiring and penalty turns for rule infractions will give the competition added immediacy and excitement.
Sail U.S.A. TV's Richard Breed said the short courses set off the Naval Academy will give spectators a view comparable to seats in a basketball arena or football stadium, while the sailors hear fans cheer them to victory.
Sail U.S.A. TV, an Annapolis company dedicated to the promotion of sailing through television, conceived of this approach and teamed up with Naval Academy Intercollegiate Sailing Director Gary Bodie and the USTRA.
"After refining the whole short-course approach for television, I began wondering whether to use fleet racing or team racing," Breed said. "After speaking with Gary for the first time, he convinced me that team racing is the best way to go."
Breed said his intent was to create short-course tactical racing, which would highlight what are often sail racing's most exciting moments: starts and mark roundings. The racers will compete on a course resembling two triangles linked at a mid-course gate, which also serves as the start and finish line.
Although the One-Design 14 team for Annapolis is still to be announced, among those sailing for Annapolis in the Vanguards will be Navy's All-American intercollegiate sailor Dave Fagen and Snipe National Champion Doug Clark.
The event is USTRA-sanctioned, and prizes will be awarded to the winning team in each race. In addition, a half-hull model of the yacht America, created from wood of America herself by Annapolitan Fred Hecklinger, will be presented.
The city of Annapolis is the presenting sponsor. National sailing industry group ASAP is a title sponsor. Supporting sponsors include the Chart House, Vanguard Racing Sailboats, Merrill Lynch, Rags magazine, the Annapolis Seagoing Institute, Ronstan Marine, Mount Gay Rum, Office Depot, North-East Wind Charter Group, Katcef Brothers/Budweiser beer, Sperry-Topsider and Tradewinds Tea.
Racing will be videotaped and produced as a pilot television program, which will be nationally syndicated. Further information on the SUSA Cup will be available at the Vanguard and One-Design 14 booths at the sailboat show.
Severn SA Fall III results
J/24 (7 starters): 1. Rob Kyle, Annapolis, 7.5 (1-2-1-2-2); 2. Benedict Capuco, Annapolis, 10.75 (2-1-2-3-3); 3. Russell Potee, Arnold, 11.5 (4-3-3-1-1).
Soling (8 starters): 1. Peter Gleitz, Annapolis, 3.75 (1-1-1-1-1); 2. John Harper, Great Falls, Va., 12 (2-3-2-2-3); 3. Tom Davies, Annapolis, 15 (3-4-3-3-2).
Star (7 starters): 1. Elliott Oldak, Annapolis, 3 (1-1-1-1); 2. W. Roberts, (hometown unavailable), 9 (2-3-2-2); 3. Jim Kee, Annapolis, 11 (3-2-3-3).
Tempest (5 starters): 1. Dave McComb, Bolton Landing, N.Y., 5 (1-1-1-1-2); 2. Tom O'Hara, Alexandria, Va., 8.75 (2-2-2-2-1); 3. David Duke, (hometown unavailable), 17 (4-3-3-3-4).