2011 Annapolis to Newport Race
Chip Thayer & Linda Ambrose
The final results are posted here.
The list of prize winners is posted here.
Results of the yacht club team competition are posted here.
Sunday, June 12
0930 - All In!
The quote “patience is a virtue” can be traced back to the poem “Piers Plowman” written in the mid 1300s…it may have seemed to some competitors that the 2011 Annapolis-Newport Race started in the 14th century and took until the 21st to cross the finish line.
By 0615 on the morning of June 8, all 70 boats in the 64th running of the 475 mile biennial race had either finished or retired. Light winds contributed to the frustrations of many some of whom retired due to time restrictions while others patiently waited to make their decisions as to which side of Block Island to pass in hopes of finding breeze that illuded them on their trip out of the Bay.
Nicole Weaver, Watch Captain on PHRF I boat, Shinnecock reported “if it had been a cruise it would have been really pleasant…one of the best. Trying to get somewhere quickly was challenging and we had to anchor for a few hours right outside the Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel.”
Peter Gibbon-Neff, Co-Owner with his wife Debbie of the Farr 395 Upgrade, said that it was “one of the most frustrating Annapolis-Newport Races he’s ever done and appreciated the patience and sense of humor of his crew including his son Peter a Class of 2011 graduate of the US Naval Academy.” Gibbons-Neff celebrated the 50th anniversary of his doing his first A2N race on his family’s boat Prim, a boat with a long history with this race having first competed in 1955 and most recently in 2009.
For the first time in this race each boat carried a Yellowbrick GPS transponder that transmitted both boat speed and position every 30 minutes which allowed the Race Committee to once again award first out of the Bay trophies in each class. Up until about 20 years ago personnel on the Chesapeake Lightship at the mouth of the Bay reported on the exit status for all competitors but when the lightship was replace by an unmanned tower these awards were discontinued.
In 2007 the race had its first double-handed class entrants and in this year’s competition a PHRF cruising class was added. With the Transatlantic Race 2011 beginning at the end of June in Newport, the Annapolis-Newport Race welcomed a large number of competitors who would be continuing their journey back across the pond under sail having landed in the USA in container ships at the Port of Baltimore. For the first time in race history entries included boats from the United Kingdom, Germany and Hong Kong.
The first boat to finish, IRC I competitor George David’s Rambler 100 took line honors at 09:20:33 on June 5, missing the record set by Joseph Dockery’s Farr 60 Carrera in 2001 by only 22 minutes.
IRC I winner from Hong Kong on Beau Geste, Karl Kwok was second to Rambler 100 over the line but continues to enjoy distance races on his Farr 80. Beau Geste broke the Annapolis-Bermuda Race record in 2010 by close to 19 hours.. The first IRC II boat to complete the race, Varuna a Rogers 46 from Germany owned by Jens Kellinghusen at 10:53:32 on June 6. IRC III first to finish Christopher Dragon a J/122 owned by Andrew Weiss crossing the line on June 7 at 02:13:47.
In PHRF I, Michael Brennan’s Sjambok who in 2007 corrected to win the IRC Class in the race finished on June 6 at 09:21:54. The third of seven Service Academy boats to cross the finish line, Navy 44 Swift Skippered by Midshipman Graham Tyson corrected to 1st place in PHRF II. Five boats were entered by the United States Naval Academy in IRC and PHRF classes with the United States Coast Guard Academy putting together two teams in IRC III. The team aboard Vanquish, a R/P 65 finished on June 6 at 02:07:14 with youth on their side. Vanquish is sailed by members of the All American Offshore Team which is only open to U.S. sailors under the age of 30.
PHRF III winner Actaea owned by Michael and Connie Cone has entered every A2N Race since 1999. It was with great pleasure that the Race Committee awarded the Cones and crew the C. Gaither Scott Trophy. The winner of this trophy is chosen at the discretion of the Race Committee, the criteria of which is a well guarded secret. Michael Cone upon hearing that they were awarded this distinctive honor accepted on behalf of his wife and crew. “It is an honor to be considered in the same category as Henry Morgan”. Morgan, previously awarded the Scott Trophy in 2005 completed his last A2N race in 2009 on Dolphin at the age of 85 and passed away in May, a couple of days after competing in an AYC Wednesday Night Race at his home Club in Annapolis.
Although none of the boats in PHRF Cruising completed the race, Annapolis Yacht Club Commodore, Bill Torgerson on his Little Harbor 52 Dragon won the First out of the Bay award in his class. In the Double-Handed class, Jason Richter on Paladin was the fourth and final boat to finish but corrected over an amazing group of hearty competitors to take 1st place.
The Annapolis Trophy was awarded by the City of Annapolis to the winning team representing the Annapolis Yacht Club made up of Kalevala II-Tapio Saavalainen, Windborn-Rick Born and Vento Solare-Paul Milo. Twelve teams made up of three boats competed for this honor, representing the Annapolis Yacht Club, New York Yacht Club, Tred Avon Yacht Club, Storm Trysail Club, Naval Academy Sailing Squadron, Naval Academy Offshore Sailing Team, Corinthian Yacht Club of Philadelphia and Norddeutscher Regatta Club from Germany, the first European team to enter the team race.
The Organizing Authorities wish to thank once again the generous supporters of the 2011 Annapolis-Newport Race, Primary Sponsor, Thomson Reuters and Yellowbrick Tracking Sponsor, Blue Opal Consulting.
For more information on the race including class and special trophy winners, go to the AYC Racing website, www.race.annapolisyc.org.
Plans are already in the works for the 2013 Annapolis-Newport Race.
For the Race Committee
Wednesday, June 8
0930 - All In!
All boats have finished or retired. The last boat finished about 6:15 this morning. The light winds resulted in quite a few retirements as people ran out of time. There were 14 retirements.
The All-Hands Party last night seemed to be populated by a happy group of sailors. They seemed to have had a good time on the race, not just happy to be ashore. Most said they found the race a challenge, tactically interesting and hardly anyone complained about the light wind. All voyages generate sea stories - and that's what counts when you get to the bar!
Tuesday, June 7
0900 - Slowly but Surely
Overnight and into the morning hours, 15 boats have crossed the finish line and headed to their berths for a hot shower, bed rest of the non-rocking variety and possibly a cup of coffee or something a wee bit stronger.
The first to arrive on 7 June, IRC II competitor Reindeer with a finish time at Castle Hill of 00:15:31 followed just two minutes later by Irie, the first of six J/120s competing in PHRF I. Between 02:24 and 0800, 13 additional boats finished including a couple who “drifted over the finish line” and were happy to have completed a “very challenging journey”.
Pat Tucker, crew on the Naval Academy’s Farr 40 Seawolf, reported upon finishing this morning that on 4 June at 23:07 they had a close call with a fishing vessel and although they hailed the vessel and shined a light across their bridge, they had to alter course to avoid a collision.
At 0900 Skipper Mark Rickey on Capricious called the A2N Sailing office to alert us that they were retiring and that during the night they turned back from their current heading to tow Roust, a PHRF Cruising competitor who had retired on 6 June and had recently lost power and were concerned about a lack of navigation lights. Capricious towed them close to Cape May, New Jersey where they felt comfortable safely continuing on their journey.
Monday, June 6
One of the major strategic choices facing the navigators and tacticians is – “Should we go inside or outside of Block?” The traditional wisdom is, go inside (west) of Block Island only on a flood tide and never ever go there on an ebb. At midnight Sunday, Varuna, Aurora and Decision were close together, 56 nm from the finish. Varuna was doing a horizon job on the rest of IRC II. Varuna tacked onto starboard heading for the Long Island shore, perhaps signaling an intent to go inside Block or perhaps simply looking for more wind on the shore. Aurora and Decision carried on on port for another hour before tacking and heading straight at Block – both options open. Decision tacked about 5 minutes later. By four o’clock Decision was at the east end of Block (DTF 9nm). Varuna (DTF 27nm) had arrived at Montauk Point. Choices made – Aurora and Varuna inside, Decision to the outside.
At 0610 Aurora cleared the north end of Block, 12 nm from the finish. Decision, on the other side of the island was now only nine miles from the finish. Decision and Aurora have similar ratings with Aurora rated slightly faster. At the finish it was Decision at 07:53:38 and Aurora at 08:49:41. Right answer Decision. Now it could have been the wind was better to the east of Block, overcoming a tidal current advantage on the west side. Oh the life of the tactician, even an America’s Cup tactician (Gary Jobson aboard Aurora). I’m looking forward to hearing his decision making process.
Jazz and Bella Pita, the next finishers, went outside (east) of Block and finished about five minutes behind Decision. Phillip MacKee, Bella Pita’s navigator, said, “When we approached, there was no breeze near Block, so going east of Block was the only choice we had.” Bella Pita’s approached Block from the southeast so that made the choice a bit easier. Still waiting for Gary’s explanation.
Among the entries for this year’s race there are clearly a number of boats with the capability to shatter the course record held by Carrera, the Farr 60, of 42 hours, 58 minutes, 12 seconds since 2001. The race committee was sufficiently impressed that the AYC contingent planned to get to Newport by noon on Saturday to join their compatriots from NYYC and ILYC and establish watch keeping at Castle Hill Lighthouse. We have again proved the truism that course records are as much about weather as about the boats.
I did a little research for you. The year Carrera established her record, there were strong northerlies at the start and the remains of tropical storm Allison moving up the coast. Allison overtook the big boats and Carrera reported being under storm trysail for several hours. In 2009 the previous Rambler a 90’ maxi also threatened the record. Rain squalls and northerlies resulted in one of the fastest trips down the Bay in memory and the record seemed sure to fall. Light air off Long Island thwarted the attempt. The 2009 Rambler made the run from the start to the Bridge-Tunnel in eight hours and twenty minutes. This year Rambler 100 took nine hours and twenty-eight minutes as light winds in the southern Bay slowed her up. More light air on the trip up the coast prevented her from really showing her speed. Nonetheless, as she closed on the finish the record still looked within reach. She finished just twenty-two minutes over Carrera’s time. How to you say bummer, or whatever was actually said aboard. A great effort by a great team, but Mother Nature can be cruel.
Sunday, June 5
The boats are moving!! All but two boats are out of the Bay. The lead boat, Rambler 100, is 65 nm from the finish. Is the course record going to be beaten? At 10 pm a weather buoy 30 nm south of mid Long Island was reporting 8 kts from the northwest. By 11 pm the same buoy was reporting 19 kts, gusting to 21 from the southeast. The three boats leading the fleet were quite a bit south of the buoy, but in that time period boat speed on Rambler went from 8 kts to 18 kts and she changed course by about 90 degrees. Her speed has gradually dropped to 10 kts at 0330. So will she break the course record? We still don’t know. It depends on her speed over the remaining 62 miles to the finish at Castle Hill Lighthouse. She needs to finish before 0858 today to do it.
George David’s Rambler 100 finished at 09:20:33 taking line honors in the 70 Boat fleet. ICAP Leopard is approximately 20 miles away with Beau Geste 56 miles from the finish moving at 12 kts. Rambler 100 missed the course record by 22 minutes.
Current frontrunner in balance of entries is Vanquish, the All- American Offshore Team’s R/P 65 is 150 miles from the finish.
George David’s Rambler 100 finished at 09:20.33 taking line honors in the 70 Boat fleet. ICAP Leopard is approximately 20 miles away with Beau Geste 56 miles from the finish moving at 12 kts. Rambler 100 missed the course record by 22 minutes.
Current frontrunner in balance of entries is Vanquish, the All- American Offshore Team’s R/P 65 is 150 miles from the finish.
The 3rd finisher to date is also the 3rd boat to finish in IRC I. Beau Geste crossed the line at Castle Hill Light at 15:36:35 and Navigator, Matt Wachowics reported in that it was a great race, thanked the Race Committee and said that it was “down to the wire” with the crew working to the very end to keep the boat moving as fast as possible.
At 11:16:48, ICAP Leopard crossed the line second after Line Honors Winner, Rambler 100. The estimate for the next to cross based on current predictions is Vanquish, the All-American Offshore Team. Vanquish is approximately 6 hours out from the 3rd finisher Beau Geste currently showing winds at 6.5kts at 282 degrees.
The R/P 66, Aurora owned by Gus Carlson and sponsored by A2N Race Sponsor, Thomson Reuters was 91 miles to the finish at 1600 with Bella Pita, a Tripp Custom 75 owned by Jim Grundy , close on their heels with 93.4 NM to go.
Saturday, June 4
The first of the trophies have been won! ICAP Leopard wins the First Out of the Bay trophy for IRC I. She went through the Bridge-Tunnel at 03:32 this morning. Beau Geste was next, followed by Rambler 100. The first IRC II boat was Varuna at 07:17. Shakti and Gracie were next in class. The leader of PHRF I, Donnybrook, hit a rock at the bridge and was forced to retire. She went in to Little Creek on the western shore. All aboard are OK. First through the Bridge-Tunnel for PHRF I then reverted to Sjambok at 07:14, followed by Irie and Shinnecock. The double hander Dragon, a water ballasted Class 40, was first out in the D-H class. The first IRC II boat was Vamp at 1355. She was followed by Vento Solare and Carina.
The wind in the lower Bay held through the night in the 8-12 knot range, but at about 9:30 started to drop and by noon was in the 1 to 3 knot range. The lead IRC I boats are still making pretty good speed but the northwesterly will not let them sail the rhumb line.
Friday, June 3
All of the First Out of the Bay winners have been decided except the Cruiser class and in that group AYC Commodore Torgerson and his crew aboard Dragon appear to be poised to win. Since the last update, Wharf Rat has taken the PHRF II trophy. She was followed by Integrity and Spirit. Bingo takes PHRF III, followed by Belle Aurore and Razor’s Edge.
The wind at the Bridge-Tunnel late this afternoon has been frustratingly light – 4 kts “gusting” to 5 from the ENE. Twenty miles offshore at the Chesapeake Tower turning mark it’s only a little better – 8 kts from the NNW.
Meanwhile out in the ocean the fleet is demonstrating one of the things that makes this race so much fun to sail – decisions, decisions. The race presents so many tactical choices – one of them is with the wind ahead should we tack inshore or head further out to sea. Sometimes, when the wind is light, the race has been won by short tacking close to the coast to take advantage of thermals – on-shore during the day and from the shore at night. Other times it pays to head offshore to find some breeze. We shall see.
Two boats have retired – Donnybrook as reported earlier and now Downtime – IRC II