Sunday, July 16, 2017

Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge Preview

J/111 sailing Screwpile Challenge(Annapolis, MD)- When you can fry an egg on deck and your dog won’t even go outside, you know it’s time for Southern Maryland’s saltiest summer regatta: the Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge (SPLC)- a.k.a. “the Screwpile”.  This year it will be sailed over the July 14th to 16th weekend outside the mouth of the Patuxent River in Solomons Island, Maryland. As per usual, race headquarters will be at the Holiday Inn Select.

If you’re new to this scene, first thing you should know is this: it’s a lighthouse, not a bad word. Screwpile-style lighthouses, cottages on stilts that screwed into the mud, once marked shoals up and down the Bay but then didn’t work well for various reasons (ice floes). One is left (Thomas Point). So, the memorable regatta name has roots in Chesapeake history, and those who’ve competed in it over its 24-year history have been known jokingly as Screwpilers.

More than 75 volunteers from host club Southern Maryland Sailing Association (SMSA), the local community, and yacht clubs up and down the Bay contribute to making this annual event a success. SPINSHEET magazine has been an active sponsor for 21 years and will be on the water taking photos, tossing tee shirts to the party crowd for Friday night—SpinSheet night—running our popular tattoo booth, and taking lively party photos that surely you will frame and keep forever.

J/70 sailing Screwpile ChallengeNewcomers to this regatta should know this: it’s relaxing and fun, so sailors come back. The race committee is filled with top-notch talent, so top competitors come back. Teams come in from as far north as Baltimore and as far south as Virginia Beach.

Dress code? The parties are very fancy. Just kidding. Wear something cool, as it’s always hot. Bad Hawaiian shirts tend to find their way to the Screwpile, so be yourself- there might even be a “Bad Hawaiian shirt contest”! Don’t be shy. Don’t bother shaving; no one else will. Make sure to bring some cash for food, as Mount Gay Rum sponsors this thing, and the rum flows. They sell some nice shirts at the party, too, so come wallet-ready.

As in the past few years, Friday and Sunday will be set up for buoy racing; Saturday will be for the distance race. Cruising class participants will only race Saturday and Sunday on their own course (but they’re welcome to come to SpinSheet night Friday at the party tent).

The event is a popular one for J/sailors on Chesapeake Bay.  Taking part in PHRF A1 Class are two J/111s; Jim Whited’s BAD CAT (a past regatta winner) and also Jim Connelly’s SLUSH FUND.

In PHRF A2 Class, Mark and Robin Witte’s J/105 RAKALL and Dave McCullough’s J/33 DELIRIUM are taking part.

Finally, in PHRF B class, Larry Ray’s J/70 JRAY, Neal McKinney’s J/80 HOMEGROWN, and Dan Shannon’s J/29 THE DOGHOUSE will be vying for class honors.  SPINSHEET Magazine is the official media sponsor- visit them here    For more Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.