Rekindling memories of the first time
Published on October 1st, 2018
It’s homecoming season, and Bill Wagner reports on how there will be a particularly notable team returning in October to Chesapeake Bay where it all began.
Robin Team (above, center) has fond memories of the annual Annapolis Fall Regatta organized by the Storm Trysail Club and held each October. The North Carolina skipper entered the 2008 edition and placed second in class, making the maiden competition for his J/122 a rousing success.
“I will always remember that regatta because it started the current Teamwork career 10 years ago,” said Team, a resident of Lexington, N.C. “The boat was commissioned there in Annapolis and we entered that regatta to get a feel for how she sails.”
Teamwork has made a name for itself up and down the East Coast in the decade since, capturing the prestigious Palmetto Cup as overall winner of Charleston Race Week four times and securing class championships at Key West Race Week four times. Most recently, Teamwork topped its class at Block Island Race Week in 2017.
Team is coming back to the Chesapeake Bay for the first time since making his debut and hopes to add the Annapolis Fall Regatta to his long list of accomplishments. He has entered the J/122 in the ORC Chesapeake Championship, which will be determined based off the combined results of the Annapolis Yacht Club Fall Series (Oct 13-14) and the Annapolis Fall Regatta (Oct 19-21).
“We love Annapolis and recall that racing on the Chesapeake Bay is pretty good during that time of the year,” Team said. “Coming to Annapolis to do those two events on consecutive weekends makes a lot of sense.”
Teamwork is a family-based program with Robin sailing alongside his brother Adam and sons Alston and Coleman. Bill Fuqua, who has been best friends with Robin Team since they met at Camp Seagull as youngsters, might as well be family.
Truth be told, three Annapolis-area sailors are also adopted Team family members after racing aboard Teamwork for almost 15 years, dating back to when Robin owned a J/120 that earned PHRF Boat of the Week honors at Key West.
“Jonathan, Kevin and Jeff have been integral parts of our program and we would love to come up there and win that regatta in their hometown,” Team said.
It won’t be easy as ORC for the Annapolis Fall Regatta is shaping up as a strong class. Ian Hill and his Sitella team will be back looking for a three-peat after taking the title in 2016 and 2017. Mark Wheeler will call tactics aboard the XP 44, which has enjoyed considerable success during the three-year ownership of Hill, a Chesapeake, Virginia resident.
Sitella is a two-time winner of the Virginia Cruising Cup as overall winner of Storm Trysail Club’s Down the Bay Race. Veteran Quantum pro Dave Flynn joins Jimmy Hardesty as primary headsail trimmers while crew boss Martin Casey is the mainsail trimmer.
“Storm Trysail Club always puts on a great regatta and we love the format of two days of buoy racing along with one day of distance racing,” Hill said. “It provides a good mixture and gives us a chance to use both the inshore and offshore components of the ORC rating system.”
Hill does not need a primer with regard to the challenge coming from Teamwork, having raced against the J/122 in various venues over the years.
“Robin Team is a great competitor with an outstanding crew. That boat is just a class act all around,” Hill said. “We’ll see them at the AYC Fall Series so it should be two straight weekends of stiff competition.”
Not that it sets up as a two-boat regatta as Stuart Jones from Philadelphia has entered his speedy Sydney 38 Kurranulla and Annapolis Yacht Club member Keith Cole has registered his J/124 Lucky Eights. Steve Young will skipper Patriot, a Farr 30 campaigned by U.S. Patriot Sailing.
“It’s a great group of boats and we’re counting on some hot competition,” Team said. “We hear it can blow pretty hard on the Chesapeake Bay during October and certainly hope that’s the case because our boat loves big breeze.”
The Annapolis Fall Regatta has developed into a Chesapeake Bay tradition since the Storm Trysail Club-Chesapeake Station founded the regatta in 2002. It was initially called the IMS East Coast Championship and featured the Beneteau 36.7 North American Championship.
Organizers switched to the IRC rating rule in 2006 and the regatta saw a peak participation of 46 boats at one point. Recognizing the rising popularity of the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) rating rule system, the Annapolis Fall Regatta made another switch a few years ago.
“We are really pleased to continue to help support the Storm Trysail Club with ORC rating and scoring tools for this classic fall regatta,” said Dobbs Davis, Communications Director for ORC.
“The wide variety of boat types, the usual mix of weather and the different course geometries makes this system ideal because the ratings will be tailored to each of these variables, giving the fairest possible racing in corrected time.”
Longtime Storm Trysail Club member Dick Neville will serve as principal race officer for the Annapolis Fall Regatta. The Annapolis resident is widely recognized as one of the best in the business, having served as on-water chairman for Block Island Race Week and Key West Race Week among many major regattas.
Neville will send the fleet on a nice tour of the Chesapeake Bay during the Friday distance race, which will be divided into two parts. Storm Trysail Club-Chesapeake Station will start the distance race off Greenbury Point with course options ranging between 16 and 25 miles depending on conditions. There will be a scoring gate at the mid-point, providing competitors with an opportunity to recover from a poor start or bad leg to still earn a placement.
“It will effectively be two races. No one else does that on the Chesapeake Bay and we have found it to be a fun formula for the sailors,” Neville said.
Neville plans to conduct five windward-leeward buoy races (three on Saturday, two on Sunday) off Thomas Point Lighthouse to complete the regatta. Racing will begin at 10:30 each day with the goal of getting the boats back to the docks at Bert Jabins Yacht Yard by 4:30 or 5 each afternoon.
Jabins will once again serve as home base with Storm Trysail Club-Chesapeake Station serving drinks and appetizers in the gazebo following Saturday’s action. There will be another party and awards ceremony on Sunday evening.
C&C 30 class has attracted six boats for its East Coast Championship that will be conducted as part of the Annapolis Fall Regatta. Annapolis resident Sandy Askew may rate as the pre-regatta favorite after topping the one-design class at both the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta and capturing a competitive PHRF class during the NYYC Race Week at Newport, presented by Rolex.
“We have an experienced crew that knows the boat and sails it quite well,” said Askew, who has been working hard to hold the C&C 30 class together in the face of some challenges. “The Chesapeake Bay is a great place to sail in the fall and I’m hoping our class enjoys some spirited competition.”
Organizers of the Annapolis Fall Regatta are also offering competition in an ORC Sportboat class, which last year was captured by skipper Mike Beasley and his GP 26 Rattle-N-Rum. Laurent Givry has entered his Farr 40 Jeroboam and Neville is encouraging owners of similar boats to sign up for the Sportboat class, noting that Davis can assist with obtaining an ORC certificate if necessary.
“ORC is the world’s largest measurement-based system with over 10,000 certificates issued in 40 countries, so the rating tools are well-tested and proven,’’ Davis said. “Here in the Chesapeake region, both Storm Trysail and Annapolis YC are now using ORC with other races also trying out the system, too.
“It’s a little more work to get a certificate, but the value is in having ratings calculated by an objective and scientific method and the confidence this gives the sailors and race managers that the boats are being fairly rated.”