Spookie and Catapult win Annapolis Big Boat Fall Regatta

Published on November 4th, 2013

After three days of racing (Nov. 1-3) in conditions that varied from flat calm to over 20 knots, Steve and Heidi Benjamin’s Carkeek HPR40 Spookie and Marc Glimcher’s Ker 40 Catapult won the Annapolis Big Boat Fall Regatta in the HPR and IRC classes, respectively. The event was co-organized by the Annapolis Match Race Center (AMRC) and the Chesapeake Station of the Storm Trysail Club (STC).

Runner’s up were Sledd Shelhorse’s Farr 400 Meridian X and Spookie and in third were Catapult and Jack Gregg’s J/122 Tarahumara in HPR and IRC scoring, respectively. Five entries were scored for HPR and seven for IRC.

The event format called for a 1.5-weighted long distance race on Friday, November 1st, with an intermediate scoring gate worth 1 point at the midpoint. With a forecast of brisk 20-25 knot winds, a long 44-mile course was signaled for this race by AMRC Principal Race Officer Jeff Borland, but the wind dropped out quickly so that the time limit could not be met for the long race and only the intermediate race could be scored.

In this race, the winner in HPR was Meridian X and in IRC was Martin Roesch’s J/111 Velocity, the smallest boat in the fleet.

On Saturday, another forecast of brisk wind was wrong, and after a long postponement only one windward-leeward race could be completed on a shortened course.

However, the final day’s windy but cold 15-22 knot conditions on Sunday were right on the forecast and perfect for three races, with the last race being an innovative course that included some reaching under jib and spinnaker, placing a premium on excellent crew work at the turning marks. This race had the closest margins of any of the five races in the series, with Spookie winning by a mere 11 seconds in HPR corrected time over Meridian X, with Catapult being only five seconds behind in third in just under 50 minutes of racing.

“We had a great racing here in Annapolis,” said Steve Benjamin, “and was an important training event for our upcoming winter program of racing in other HPR regattas, like Quantum Key West and our HPR regatta in Miami in March. It was also another opportunity for us to learn more about HPR and how to further refine the next V5 edition of the rule.”

Local-based Paul Milo and his team on his J/122 Orion missed a podium finish by only one point, but still felt this was a great opportunity to race in classic Fall conditions. “We’re really glad we committed to race this regatta,” said Milo. “It was great to have this one last opportunity to sail together as a team before the end of the local season.”

“On behalf of AMRC, we want to thank all our participants for their generosity to assist us in supporting AMRC,” said Jeff Reidle, president of AMRC. “Match race sailing is growing all around the US as people realize it is an important part of this game and can be applied in many fleet races as well. AMRC is dedicated to help people learn and practice match racing at a local level, then apply it wherever they sail.”

With its timing, location, innovative race formats, fast online results and other progressive features, enthusiasm for the Annapolis Big Boat Fall Regatta has already prompted calls for doing this again in 2014. “Seeing the interest we had here, we will work with AMRC and Eastport YC to put this event on the calendar again for 2014,” said STC’s Dick Neville.

For complete information about the event and detailed race results, visit www.yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm.

For more photos, visit http://spinsheet.smugmug.com/SpinSheet/2013-Events/2013-HPR-Regatta-Annapolis.

For more information about HPR, visit www.hprsailing.org.

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