Innovation in Annapolis Yacht Club Signature Regattas
The Annapolis Yacht Club
Sailing Committee is in constant communication with its constituency. Whether
on-site during regattas or through surveys submitted afterward, the club is
always seeking feedback from participants about how to improve its sailboat
That process has produced
one slight change to the AYC Racing Schedule for the 2019 season with the
format for both the Annual Regatta and Fall Series being altered.
Annapolis Yacht Club has
announced that a distance racing component will be added to those two regattas
for the larger one-design classes and handicap divisions.
“We want to make racing
for the larger one-designs and the handicap classes a little more user-friendly
than the typical short windward-leeward courses,” AYC Sailing Committee Chairman
John White said.
For the AYC Annual
Regatta, being held the weekend of July 27-28, the Saturday racing for the
smaller one-design classes remains unchanged. That means the J/22, J/70, J/80,
and J/30 classes will engage in the traditional short-course, windward-leeward
Also on Saturday, the
Harbor 20 and Cal 25 classes will do short-course racing on a separate course
set in the Severn River, most likely off the Naval Academy sea wall.
Meanwhile, the bigger
boats that compete on Sunday – the J/35 and J/105 one-designs along with the
ORC classes – will now enjoy some variety, mixing windward-leeward action with
a distance race around government marks on the Chesapeake Bay. Length of the
distance race will depend on conditions with the race committee finishing boats
near the mouth of the Severn River.
“We have decided to incorporate
both styles of racing into the same day to make it a little more inviting,”
White said. “We want the sailors to have the best of both worlds.”
AYC has moved the Annual
Regatta to the last weekend in July in order to avoid conflicts with the
Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge and the Race to Baltimore.
Annapolis Yacht Club’s
popular Fall Series will be altered in a similar fashion with the first weekend
(Sept. 28-29) featuring strictly windward-leeward racing for the smaller
one-design classes (J/22, J/30, J/70, J/80).
In an exciting
development, the J/22 class will conduct its Mid-Atlantic Championship as part
of the AYC Fall Series.
Keeping with the
philosophical change, the larger one-design classes (J/35, J/105) and ORC
classes will split the second weekend of Fall Series into one day of
windward-leeward competition and another day of distance racing around
Race committee officials
will determine based off conditions which type of racing will be held on
Saturday. Scoring for the distance race will be weighted in such a way as to
ensure equity between the two days of competition.
“We have made a commitment
to even the program between the windward-leeward and longer course racing,”
That second weekend of
Fall Series has been shifted ahead one weekend in order to avoid conflicting
with the United States Sailboat Show.
There will be a third
component of the AYC Fall Series with the Harbor 20 class racing in the Severn
River on Saturday, October 12.
Annapolis Yacht Club Vice Commodore Jonathan Bartlett said the format changes to the Annual Regatta and
Fall Series were driven by competitors.
“I think it’s a good
change because this is something the sailors want, which is more variety,” said
Bartlett, a veteran professional with North Sails-Chesapeake. “We like the idea
of not having just windward-leeward style racing. Skippers have gravitated back
to doing government mark racing because it requires less crew.”
Bartlett said a mixture of
windward-leeward and government mark courses also provides participants with
different types of racing.
“You factor in broad
reaching and tight reaching, which you don’t do in the windward-leeward
format,” he said. “It also reduces the importance of precise crew work because
there is more time to prepare for a maneuver. Sometimes that maneuver may only
involve easing off 10 degrees.”
Cedric Lewis, co-owner of
the J/105 Mirage, welcomed the
addition of a distance race for both the AYC Annual Regatta and Fall Series.
“I am glad they are
bringing back the distance race. It gets pretty monotonous just going
around the buoys all the time. The distance racing around government marks
requires other skills (navigation and tactics) that don’t normally get used
around the buoys,” Lewis said. “You have to be able to change gears to adapt to
conditions and current relative to the race course. I like the variety of
courses. It is a true test of sailing skills where the better teams
Annapolis Yacht Club is
pleased to announce the second installments of a pair of popular point-to-point
races that were introduced last year. The Spring Race to Oxford and Fall Race
to Solomons both attracted large fleets and participants thoroughly enjoyed the
“I think the Oxford and
Solomons races were very successful and quickly became two of the most exciting
events we offer,” White said. “We are making every effort to further enhance
those two races in terms of the on and off water experience.”
Early indications are that
Annapolis Yacht Club’s two point-to-point races to bookend the racing calendar
will develop into annual traditions.
“We had fantastic attendance
for Oxford and Solomons and are really looking forward to building off both,”
Bartlett said. “Both races provide a challenging course with a great
destination and fun party.”
Regatta calendar is posted on their website on the Racing Page, and
Notices of Race will be posted for each in the coming weeks with online
registration open at that time.