Last weekend's Annapolis Yacht Club annual regatta was a big one, drawing a fleet of about 60 big boats from the three PHRF A splits, PHRF B, and the J/35 class for a 7.7-mile windward-leeward chase that was accomplished in short order despite only moderate breezes and shifty and lumpy conditions.
The next day brought out a 72-boat fleet of smaller cruising one-designs plus PHRF C and MORC racers for a similar contest in slightly heavier air.
Winning the always competitive 18-boat PHRF A-2 division by a handy margin of more than a minute over second-placer Neil Murphy and his Bird of Prey crew was Annapolis sailor Chuck Coyer and the team aboard Accomplice.
"Every once in a while you have to get lucky," Coyer said with a laugh, crediting his crew for good work, explaining that with only two holdovers from last year building the team has been an important part of this year's performance.
"We really have clicked together, especially since Solomons [in late July]."
Coyer said that substantial oscillating wind shifts characterized the race, but he believed one of his keys to success was straight-out downwind speed.
That was accomplished as the result of using an old 3/4 -ounce spinnaker with tight leeches that "didn't bounce around as much" as some of the newer and more responsive sails he saw on his competition.
"It was fun to finally beat [Gerry Smernoff's] BAM and win," Coyer said. "A-2 is a good class, and it's the most fun to sail in because if you do well, you beat some really good guys, and if you don't do as well, you got beaten by some really good people."
Saturday, Aug. 26 (7.7 NM)
J/35 (9 starters): 1. J-Bird, Yeigh/Baker; 2. Cheers, Timothy Bowen; 3. Grayling, Richard Born.
PHRF A-0 (7 starters): 1. Cash Flow, Allan/Griffin, 1:34:29 c.t.; 2. Predator, Steve Kaminer, 1:37:15 c.t.; 3. Sundog, Paul and Kathy Parks, 1:38:01 c.t.
PHRF A-1 (16 starters): 1. Privateer, James Michie, 1:37:10 c.t.; 2. Zephyr 2, David Shaeffer, 1:38:31 c.t.; 3. Moving Violation, Samuel Owings, 1:38:39 c.t.; 4. Infringer, Stoer/Zinn, 1:38:41 c.t.; 5. Jezebel, D.H. Lincoln, 1:39:58 c.t.
PHRF A-2 (18 starters, protest pending): 1. Accomplice, Chuck Coyer, 1:35:45 c.t.; 2. Bird of Prey, Neil Murphy, 1:36:59 c.t.; 3. BAM, G.N. Smernoff, 1:37:03 c.t.; 4. Uh-Oh, C.R. "Sonny" Smith, 1:38:51 c.t.; 5. Ubiquitous, Jim Stansbury, 1:39:52 c.t.
PHRF B (9 starters): 1. Quicksilver, Guy Collins, 1:34:16 c.t.; 2. Hilite, Leonard Eastman, 1:36:45 c.t.; 3. Puffin, Robert Mairs, 1:37:36 c.t.
Sunday, Aug. 27 (7.85 NM)
J/30 (16 starters): 1. Valhalla, Steve Bardelman; 2. Gunsmoke, Mike McGuirk; 3. BeBop, Rutsch/Aras; 4. Jackrabbit, CEJ Syndicate; 5. Blue Moon, Jim Ellis.
MORC (5 starters): 1. Rude Awakening, Chuck O'Malley, 1:52:02 c.t.; 2. No name, John White, 1:54:47 c.t.; 3. Stingray, Robert Muller, 1:59:31 c.t.
J/24 (17 starters, protest pending): 1. Bonz, David Eggleton; 2. -- Purple Crayon, Margaret Podlich; 3. Satisfaction, Will Crump; 4. Dream Girl, Russell Potee; 5. Show Dog, Capuco/Rich.
Pearson 30 (7 starters): 1. Severn Run, Norman Baldwin; 2. Results, Arthur Libby; 3. Kinvarra, Dan Kral.
PHRF C (11 starters): 1. Ghost Dancer, C. Hargett, 2:03:40 c.t.; 2. Woodpecker, Bruce Serinis, 2:04:37 c.t.; 3. Rush, Robert Dunn, 2:04:46 c.t.; 4. Zig Zag, Edward Hatch, 2:05:48 c.t.
Alberg 30 (8 starters, protest pending): 1. Argo, Peter Scheidt; 2. Sundance, Nye/Evans Syndicate; 3. Second-2-Nun, Harry Gamber.
Cal 25 (8 starters): 1. Jumpin' Jack Flash, John and Jack Niemczuk; 2. Chicken Little, Charlie Husar; 3. Blades, David Wooldridge.
Bob Mewhinney of Cape St. Claire made yachting history of a sort last weekend when he became the first sailor in more than three decades to win three back-to-back Rainbow National Championships.
Sailing Glass Harp with his wife, Jane, and Terry Thacker, who have served as his crew for five years and have developed a sharp, seamless team aboard the boat, Mewhinney took the series in straight bullets.
"All I had to do was steer the boat," Mewhinney said. "They had the spinnaker up and flying before the transom cleared the weather mark. This is the best they've ever been."
The regatta was contested by only nine boats, all from the Chesapeake Bay, after sailors from Chicago, home of the nation's only other surviving Rainbow one-design fleet, failed to appear. Nevertheless the three-day event offered plenty of challenge, especially as it came to a close last Saturday in a brisk 12- to 14-knot southeasterly.
Annapolis sailors Peter deSilva and the late Peter Gookin also won multiple Rainbow National titles, but none had done so consecutively until Mewhinney, who now has won twice in Annapolis (this year and 1993), and once in Chicago in 1994.
The Rainbow, a 24-foot sloop designed 34 years ago by Sparkman & Stephens for Annapolis Sailing School founder Jerry Wood, has been in a slight decline as a class in recent years,
superseded by more modern boats.
But it is experiencing a resurgence locally, thanks in large part to the efforts of local Fleet Captain Leigh Doptis, who took second in the Nationals, and has been instrumental in encouraging interest among sailors in the boats.
1. Glass Harp, Bob Mewhinney, 52.15 pts.; 2. Jack Tar, Leigh Doptis, 40; 3. Red Hot, Joe Travers, 38; 4. Bag Lady, Charles Fowler, 33; 5. Winning Colors, Pat Sweeney, 30.