Under the gun, governor proves a fast learner Official starter gets certified on board so he can do his job; Notebook; WHITBREAD 1997-1998


Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a passenger aboard the Coast Guard cutter Northland, had to be a fast learner yesterday

before he could fire the Whitbread starting gun.

"I'm going to get the weapons guy up there to show him how to do it," said Cmdr. Beverly Kelley, the ship's top officer, as she stood in the receiving line to greet the governor and other dignitaries. "He's going to have to get it real quick."

And he did, receiving his certification -- an official letter signed by him and by Kelley and required for anyone who does a job on board -- just moments before he joined four costumed "Coasties" on the forward deck. He fired three shots in all, two before the race and one to start it.

How'd he do? Pretty well, according to Kelley, although she acknowledged the second shot was a little slow.

"One more blast, on time -- and we've got it," she said anxiously as the seconds ticked down to the race's official start.

E9 That shot -- the most important -- was right on time.

Stopover hectic

Whitbread race manager Michael Woods said yesterday that, though the Baltimore-Annapolis stopover had been successful for race sponsors, "it has been quite hectic for the crews.

"They jump on the boats in Fort Lauderdale, jump off after what is essentially a three-day day race and now jump back on. That is more tiring for them than when they are weeks at sea and have time to settle into the routine of watches and life aboard."

Farr's view

Bruce Farr, head of Bruce Farr & Associates, the Annapolis naval architects who designed eight of nine boats in the fleet, said yesterday he is "rooting for the one that wins, I suppose."

Unless, of course, the winner is BrunelSunergy, the one W60 he did not design.

"There is a very slim chance that could happen," he said, "although just about everybody else would have to fall out on the last two legs."

Farr said the boats have held up well after nearly 30,000 miles of sailing in every sea condition imaginable, "although the rigs seems to be giving the most problems."

Farr said the mast designers and builders might have pushed the envelope too hard in trying to save weight.

Enthusiasm not dampened

Susan Zoeller, Whitbread activities director for the Annapolis stopover, said interest far exceeded expectations -- especially considering the rainy weather Saturday.

"The people have been wonderful," she said. "How about all of them listening to the opera last night [Saturday] in the pouring rain?

"Saturday, we were packed. I think we got our numbers Saturday."

Pub Date: 5/04/98

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