Shearwater Sailing Club's always-popular Twilight Race, contested June 10, lived up to its reputation once again, providing a fast and exciting contest for the fleet of 74 Handicap division boats in five PHRF splits and MORC and 56 Cruising One-Design division teams in seven classes.
This year, the PHRF spinnaker classes, MORC and J/30 sailors completed a 17.9-mile course, and the CODs and PHRF Nonspinnaker competitors sailed a modified 15.6-mile version.
Race officials try to set the course so that the fleet will finish about sunset, hoping for fresh evening breezes. This year, those hopes were rewarded with a solid southerly breeze at the start, which actually strengthened to about 20 knots before the race was over.
As a result, the first boat to finish, Paul and Kathy Parks' Sundog, in PHRF A-0, completed the course in 2 hours, 25 minutes, while the first COD to finish, Rob Kyle's J/24 Peace Frog, came in from that division's 15.6-mile course after 2 hours, 42 minutes. Appropriately enough, nearly all of the 126-boat fleet finished in twilight.
For Bill Rutsch's BeBop team, winning the J/30 class with John Aras at the helm, the key to the race was an early lead taken at the start and held to the finish.
"We went right when we started, and had to duck two boats to get over there," Rutsch said. "When we tacked back, it looked like we had the lead. We were first at the first mark, with Cannonball right behind us. We set the chute and went surfing across the Bay."
The course took the Handicap and J/30 fleet from the start at the mouth of the Severn to Thomas Point, then back across the bay to the top of the measured mile, followed by a beat down to Bloody Point and another spinnaker run back to the Severn River before reaching in to finish in front of the Naval Station.
Rutsch said the key was to cover rival Bill Wallop's Cannonball closely. "Wherever they tacked, we covered, so we could stay in front and try to feed them bad air," he said.
For at least one other team, however, the race was not so much fun. Bruce Bingman's and Taran Teague's brand-new B-31 Blockade Runner, after cleaning up in its racing debut at the previous week's Love Point-Swan Point Cup, lost its rig on the first leg of the race, near Tolley Point, when its new mast failed just above the boom.
PHRF A-0 (4 starters): 1. (not awarded); 2. Sundog, Paul and Kathy Parks, 2:34:40 c.t.; 3. Antares, David Sharpe, 2:36:21 c.t.
PHRF A-1 (18 starters): 1. Nora y Cristobal, Silver Silver, 2:31:16 c.t.; 2. Promises, St. Mary's College, 2:34:11 c.t.; 3. Wild Thang, .. Bill Chambers, 2:34:29 c.t.; 4. Infringer, Donald Zinn, 2:34:56 c.t.; 5. Blonde Attack, Bill Sutton, 2:35:12 c.t.
PHRF A-2 (20 starters): 1. BAM, G.N. Smernoff, 2:31:10 c.t.; 2. Good Times, Bill Schwarz, 2:35:23 c.t.; 3. Alize, Chris Chamberlin, 2:39:58 c.t.; 4. Where Egos Dare, WED Syndicate, 2:40:46 c.t.; 5. Aspire, Jack Yaissle, 2:40:53 c.t.
PHRF B (7 starters): 1. Making Waves, Miller/Praley, 2:37:31 c.t.; 2. Yellow Bird, Richard Heintz, 2:37:34 c.t.; 3. Cayenne, Antonio Sanpere, 2:41:11 c.t.
PHRF C (8 starters): 1. Azure, Dave Prucnal, 2:03:21 c.t.; 2. Nepenthe, James Urban, 2:09:17 c.t.; 3. Checkmate, Bob Gibson, 2:09:29 c.t.
PHRF Nonspinnaker (7 starters): 1. Class, Bob/Patti Polk, 2:10:29 c.t.; 2. Bluejay, John Coyle, 2:10:43 c.t.; 3. Spice, Ray Taylor, 2:10:51 c.t.
MORC (10 starters): 1. Stingray, Robert Muller, 2:27:55 c.t.; 2. Second Repeat, Brian Lees, 2:28:31 c.t.; 3. Second Chance, John White, 2:29:17 c.t.
J/30 (16 starters): 1. BeBop, Bill Rutsch, 3:10:34 e.t.; 2. Cannonball, Bill Wallop, 3:11:31 e.t.; 3. Turbo Duck, Bodo von der Wense, 3:12:36 e.t.; 4. Better Mousetrap, Bob Putnam, 3:12:49 e.t.; 5. Twilight Zone, Gary Swangler.
J/24 (13 starters): 1. Peace Frog, Rob Kyle, 2:44:02 e.t.; 2. Show Dog, Capuco/Rich, 2:44:12 e.t.; 3. AJ, Dave Scheidt, 2:46:00 e.t.; 4. War Party, Dan Hawthorne, 2:46:17 e.t.
Pearson 30 (4 starters): 1. Results, Art Libby, 2:46:13 e.t.; 2. Severn Run, Norman Baldwin, 2:47:50 e.t.; 3. Constellation, Henry Starr, 2:49:47 e.t.
Alberg 30 (4 starters): 1. Sundance, Nye/Evans, 3:05:35 e.t.; 2. Bon Aire, William Johnson, 3:09:16 e.t.; 3. Second-2-Nun, Harry Gamber, 3:16:40 e.t.
Catalina 27 (9 starters): 1. Chaos, Jack Graham, 2:55:30 e.t.; 2. Four Little Ducks, Tom Walsh, 2:56:37 e.t.; 3. Gusto, John Potvin, 2:57:54 e.t.
Cal 25 (7 starters): 1. Blades, Dave Wooldridge, 3:00:31 e.t.; 2. Chicken Little, Charlie Husar, 3:01:44 e.t.; 3. Quintet, Mike Miller, 3:02:09 e.t.
Triton (3 starters): 1. Sandpiper, Chris Gordon, 3:02:40 e.t.; 2. Sea Deuce, Eleanor Holmes, 3:05:04 e.t.
Navy wins nationals
The Naval Academy's intercollegiate sailing team did itself and retiring coach Gary Bodie proud a couple of weeks ago with a win in the Intercollegiate Yacht Racing/Sperry National Dinghy Championships for a virtually unprecedented third year in a row.
The Navy sailors outclassed the rest of the competition in Long Beach, Calif., in a regatta contested by 16 schools from across the country. They used consistent skill and a high average finish across the 16 paired races in both A and B divisions to finish 24 points ahead of the University of California/Berkeley.
Sailing for Navy was A team skipper Ryan Cox, with crew of Erica Museler, Blanca Funes and Heidi Suoboda; and B team skipper R.D. Burley, assisted by crew Jessica Danluck, Julie Younger and Sean Fujimoto.
An awards ceremony honoring this year's champions was conducted at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, where other honorees included this year's members of the 1995 American Sailing and All-Star crew team.
Top honoree was Navy's Cox, named College Sailor of the Year. Cox, incidentally, was honored while in California with his own personal commissioning ceremony, on May 31, as his classmates received their commissions in Annapolis.
Named to the 1995 All-American team were Navy's Burley and Cox, along with St. Mary's College sailors Mike Hare, Kevin Jewett and Matt Reynolds, and Annapolitan John Torgerson of Old Dominion University. Navy's Will Stout earned honorable mention.
Women's All-Americans included Navy's Mallory Mestayer and Younger, as well as St. Mary's Danielle Brennan and Elizabeth Graves, while St. Mary's Kerry Murphy received honorable mention.