Yachting tour docks here, Annapolis Olympian Becker-Dey, Jobson discuss racing


This week in Baltimore and Annapolis, the Yukon/GMC Olympic Yachting Tour offers a look at the world of international yacht racing through the experiences of Courtenay Becker Dey and Gary Jobson.

Becker-Dey, from The Dalles, Ore., is one of two U.S. medalists from the 1996 Olymics in Atlanta.

Jobson, sailing analyst for ESPN, has raced internationally for more than 20 years and is prominently involved in Chessie Racing, the Maryland team that will race in the Whitbread Round the World Race that starts in September.

Approximately half of the two-hour program will belong to Becker-Dey, who, aided by a film, will recount the triumphs and tribulations of the 1996 Olympic campaign.

The other hour will be devoted to a preview of the Whitbread race and Chessie Racing, including a slide show on the progress of the team's new Whitbread 60, which is being built in Rhode Island.

Proceeds from the programs will benefit the U.S. Sailing Team and Whitbread Chesapeake, the organization coordinating activities surrounding the layover of the Whitbread fleet in Baltimore and Annapolis in April of 1998.

In Atlanta, said Jobson, remembrances of the 1996 Olympics are now a hard sell.

"It's not that they didn't like the program," he said. "It's just that afterward people came up to me and said, geez, no more Olympics, please."

But while the tour drew only 96 people in Atlanta, six other stops around the country have drawn well, with San Francisco, Tampa, Newport, R.I., and Detroit drawing more than 300 per session.

As of mid-week, more than 220 had signed up for the Baltimore program and more than 430 had purchased tickets for the session in Annapolis.

"If you like sailing -- and in Maryland there are a lot of people who do -- this is a good show," said Jobson. "There is lots of action, current information on the Whitbread, and Courtenay is a rising star in world-class sailing."

Becker-Dey will sail with the all-women Swedish team in the upcoming Whitbread.

The Annapolis session will be held Tuesday at Maryland Hall. On Wednesday, the tour comes to Baltimore at the Ward Center, St. Paul's School, Brooklandville. Both shows will start at 7: 30 p.m.

Tickets are $10. For more information, call 410-727-7223.

Streamside buffer workshop

Excessive runoff of nutrients and siltation from the surrounding land are some of the problems facing aquatic species in Maryland's tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay -- from the imperiled native brook trout of Jabez Branch in Anne Arundel County to perch, bass, rockfish and other fish that spawn in the watershed's rivers, creeks and streams.

On Thursday, the Department of Natural Resources and the three tributary strategy teams on the Eastern Shore will hold a free public workshop on riparian forest buffers, which can help protect tributaries.

The workshop, which is part of a statewide effort to address nutrient loading and siltation, will include sessions on understanding how buffers work, identifying issues facing landowners interested in establishing buffers and exploring ideas for follow-up actions.

The workshop will be held at Chesapeake College near Wye Mills from 6: 30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

White Marlin Open

The White Marlin Open, which last year paid out a record $416,890 for the biggest white marlin catches, will be held Aug. 4-8 this year at the Harbour Island Marina in Ocean City.

Tournament organizers estimate there will be more than 230 boats entered this year and that the prize pool again should exceed $700,000. Last year, the pool was $750,000.

The entry fee is $700 per boat before June 1 and $750 after that date. Late registration will be held Aug. 2-3 at the marina.

For tournament information, call 410-289-9229 or write White Marlin Open, PO Box 737, Ocean City, MD 21842.

12-meters return

The 12-meter racing yachts Weathery and American Eagle, which raced under charter crews in Annapolis last fall, will return Oct. 21-Nov. 2 this year, along with Nefertiti, an America's Cup 12 from the 1960s.

Weatherly successfully defended the America's Cup in 1962; American Eagle lost the cup defender finals to Constellation in 1964, and Nefertiti was eliminated by Weatherly in 1962.

The yachts again will be available for match-racing charters, with proceeds benefitting the John Gardner School of Boatbuilding, a non-profit institution in Annapolis.

For more information, call 410-867-0042 or 410-267-0418.

Young America crew

Grant Spanhake of Annapolis has been selected as a trimmer on the New York Yacht Club's Young America team that will challenge for the America's Cup in New Zealand at the turn of the century.

Spanhake, 37, has sailed in two Whitbread Round the World races, Kenwood cups, Maxi World championships, Sydney-Hobart races and was a coach for the all-women America3 team in 1992.

Update on bears

Black bear populations have increased significantly in the western counties of the state in the last 20 years, and as their numbers have increased, so has agricultural damage.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, Western Maryland farmers had $21,000 in documented losses due to bear damage last year.

To help offset those losses, the state late last year initiated the Black Bear Conservation Stamp program to help raise funds for compensation for damages.

Through early last month, 399 people had purchased the $5 stamp and that money, along with start-up funds from DNR, will allow farmers to be compensated for approximately 40 percent of their losses.

Compensating landowners, who provide most of the habitat for black bears in the state, is considered a conservation measure.

Without compensation for documented losses, pressure for a hunting season could be expected to increase.

Currently, there is no hunting season for black bears in Maryland.

Taxing matters

With tax time quickly approaching, keep in mind the check offs for contributions to the Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund. Money raised is split evenly between DNR and the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

Last year, DNR's Wildlife and Heritage Division funded more than 40 projects with $479,147 in donations -- including bog turtle studies and habitat restoration, improvements at the Soldiers Delight grasslands and serpentine barrens, studies and banding nesting barn owls and the continuing inventory of rare and unique natural communities in the state.

Pub Date: 3/16/97

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