New boat, New year, Let’s go
Published on January 12th, 2021
Will Passano III entered the Annapolis to Newport Race within minutes of receiving the email announcing registration was open, anxious to lock down his 2021 racing schedule and the 473 nm course was an important piece of the puzzle.
“This race is a great way to get the boat to Newport, where we plan to spend the summer,” explained Passano, who will then do the Marblehead to Halifax Race, Edgartown Race Week, and the Around the Island Race.
Following a year in which major offshore distance races throughout the world were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, Passano and other diehard practitioners of that type of sailboat racing are chomping at the bit.
“I just think there are a lot of sailors who want to go racing,” said Jim Praley, Chairman of the 2021 Annapolis to Newport Race. “There’s a lot of pent-up frustration from not being able to get out on the water as much last year due to COVID.”
This will be the fifth A2N for Passano, who made his debut way back in 1981 aboard his father and namesake’s Rhodes 41 named Pegasus. In 2011, he crewed aboard ICAP Leopard, a 100-foot maxi designed by Farr and Associates.
In 2015 and 2017, Passano and a crew of close friends campaigned a J/37 named Carina in Annapolis to Newport. That 2015 edition was memorable because Passano had failed to realize his daughter’s high school graduation was the same day as the A2N start.
Principal Race Officer Dick Neville approved Carina’s late start – six hours after the rest of the Friday fleet. Strong strategy combined with a little luck enabled the J/37 to place second in the Performance Cruising 1 class.
Passano recently purchased a Sydney 47 from an Australian owner and it was delivered just before Thanksgiving. Previously owned by Noel Cornish who twice captured class honors in the Sydney-Hobart Race, he has renamed the new boat Polaris and is eager to see how she performs against the likes of Rival (Carkeek 40) and Wahoo (Ker 50).
“We’re looking for a quick trip to Newport. It’s all about the tactics of getting out of the bay and the strategy out in the ocean,” Passano said. “This boat is a big learning curve for me and my crew. We’ll have to get up to speed quickly in order to maximize its capabilities offshore.”
The 38th biennial Annapolis to Newport Race will start June 4th and 5th on the Chesapeake Bay. Annapolis Yacht Club will be offering starts to boats rated under the ORC and PHRF rules systems. Those will include an ORC Double-handed division and a Classic Yacht class that will race PHRF.