Last weekend's Baltimore City Yacht Association Harbor Cup Race to Fells Point on Saturday and the reciprocal Rock Creek Racing Association Harbor Fall Back on Sunday offered challenges of varying kinds for sizable fleets of racers.
Saturday's fleet, numbering more than 100 starters in seven classes, was hit hard by a dying breeze, leaving only about 60 percent able -- or willing to try -- to finish the 10.4-mile course from just north of the mouth of the Magothy up into the Patapsco and a finish line off Henderson's Wharf in Fells Point, within the eight-hour time limit.
Even Challenge America, a fast Whitbread maxi-ketch recently donated to the St. Mary's College sailing team by Ted Turner Jr., took just over three hours to cover the distance. Those who started later, and moved more slowly, had even more difficulty finishing in a reasonable amount of time.
Because of a negative PHRF handicap rating, Challenge America's elapsed time was expanded by about 15 minutes, but this was still some 18 minutes ahead of second-place David Rossi of Severna Park and his crew on Albatrossi.
Annapolitan John Sherwood once again showed his ability to find and stay with whatever air there is in a dying breeze and come out ahead in the PHRF B class. He topped his nearest competition by a similar amount of time after also getting the gun. In this class the ratings bands are much narrower, so Sherwood was competing against boats with similar size and speed potential.
The biggest time differential of all, however, was found in PHRF Nonspinnaker, where the first-place boat, Trinity, beat the next finisher, Virgil Hobbs and the crew on Catawampus, by nearly an hour. Although no skippers' names were provided by the BCYA scorer, Trinity's skipper's name was one that other research into records from CBYRA could not reveal, however.
In the next day's race-back event, which began in very light air, building breeze meant that many of the first finishers had to take their own times upon arrival, because the committee boat didn't have enough time to get into position until later.
This produced the unusual circumstance of a course that was shorter for the PHRF A boats than for the others, although neither course topped 6.5 miles.
This was especially close racing, however, particularly in the 23-boat PHRF A division, the leaders that covered their own 6.05-mile distance in under an hour, corrected time, with some extremely close finishes.
In fact, corrected-time ties appeared not only for third, but also for fifth -- and those paired times were just six seconds apart.
As usual, the race back was less heavily attended, with 55 starters -- still a healthy number, particularly given the previous day's expired time limits and the initial light air in the morning.
2' BCYA Harbor Cup to Fells PoInt PHRF A-1 (19 starters/14 finishers): 1. Challenge America, St. Mary's College, St. Mary's City, 3:20:10 c.t.; 2. Albatrossi, David Rossi, Severna Park, 3:38:14 c.t.; 3. Quintessence, Benjamin Michaelson Jr., Annapolis, 3:39:18 c.t.; 4. Wings, Richard Taylor, Lutherville, 3:42:02 c.t.
PHRF A-2 (25 starters/22 finishers): 1. Wind Sprint, George Collins, Gibson Island, 3:41:36 c.t.; 2. Tops Optional, Steve Olinger, Annapolis, 3:42:23 c.t.; 3. Killer Puppy, Charlie Powell, Towson, 3:43:59 c.t.; 4. Good Times, Bill Schwarz, Randallstown, 3:45:45 c.t.; 5. Evolution, Steven Taylor, Burtonsville, 3:47:38 c.t.
PHRF B (23 starters/15 finishers): 1. Witch's Flower, John Sherwood, Annapolis, 3:50:13 c.t.; 2. Red Streaker, George Culbertson, Timonium, 4:06:03 c.t.; 3. Rude Awakening, Chuck O'Malley, Annapolis, 4:08:02 c.t.; 4. Airwaves, David Wiemar, (hometown unavailable), 4:23:532 c.t.; 5. Bandit, David Huntington, Baltimore, 4:32:01 c.t.
PHRF C (10 starters/8 finishers): 1. Rebecca, Bill Paul, Pasadena, 4:15:52 c.t.; 2. Folatre, James Parfrey, Bel Air, 4:48:44 c.t.; 3. Sure Cure, Craig Decker, Pasadena, 5:00:53 c.t.
PHRF Nonspinnaker (19 starters/10 finishers): 1. Trinity, (skipper/hometown unavailable), 3:48:08 c.t.; 2. Catawampus, Virgil Hobbs, Fallston, 4:41:05 c.t.; 3. Plum Fun, Gary Meyer, Pasadena, 5:16:06 c.t.; 4. Spike, Richard Perzynski, Westminster, c.t.
Multihull (4 starters/finishers): 1. Charis, Larry Moser, Marriottsville, 5:05:22 c.t.; 2. Poltergeist, John Carr, (hometown unavailable), 5:09:19 c.t.
J/30 (4 starters/1 finisher): 1. Cannonball, Bill Wallop, Annapolis, 4:30:39 e.t.
Triton (3 starters/0 finishers).
RCRA Harbor Fall Back
PHRF A (23 starters): 1) Moxie, Mid. 1/C P. J. Trudell, USNA, 0:57:13 c.t.; 2) Au Revoir, George Fox, Coopersburg, Pa., 0:58:57 c.t.; 3) (tie) Beep Beep, Dan Mitchell, Warwick, 0:59:34 c.t.; and Dancer, Bill Steitz, Pittsburgh, Pa., 0:59:34 c.t.; 5) (tie) Etoile, Mid. 1/C Vann Walke, USNA, 0:59:40 c.t.; and Dragon Fly, Jeffrey Klein, Baltimore, 0:59:40 c.t.
PHRF B (13 starters): 1) Rude Awakening, O'Malley, 0:58:29 c.t.; 2) Stat, Mel Tockman, Baltimore, 1:02:09 c.t.; 3) Irish Wake, Jack and Foree Biddle, Annapolis, 1:02:41 c.t.
PHRF C (7 starters): 1) Folatre, Parfrey, 1:00:43 c.t.; 2) Finnegan's Wake, Jack O'Brien, Pasadena, 1:01:59 c.t.; 3) Sure Cure, Decker, 1:02:41 c.t.
PHRF Nonspinnaker (5 starters): 1) Spice, Raymond Taylor, Annapolis, 1:06:13 c.t.; 2) Endorphin, Michael Yost, Annapolis, 1:07:51 c.t.; 3) Wind Chimes, Poturalski, (hometown unavailable), 1:11:05 c.t.
Multihull (5 starters): 1) The Karis, Michael Ivy, Arlington, Va., 1:16:11 c.t.; 2) Poltergeist, Carr, 1:18:57 c.t.; 3) Trilogy, David Way, Shady Side, 1:21:53 c.t.
Triton (2 starters): 1) Jubilant, James Schwartz, Chevy Chase.