Thursday, August 13, 2020

Annapolis J/Crews Love Two-Bridge Fiasco!

J/70 sailing doublehanded off Annapolis(Annapolis, MD)- Build It And They Will Come", reported Will Keyworth from Annapolis. "Well, Annapolis Yacht Club built on a race format used successfully in San Francisco Bay called the Three Bridge Fiasco but named theirs’s the Two Bridge Fiasco. The AYC put the Notice of Race on social media and boy did they come!

143 single and doublehanded teams hit the starting line for this fantastic new event, and no one was disappointed! Mother Nature turned on the wind machine to put some relief to the 90+ F temps and smiles on many a sailor's face!

J/22 sailing Annapolis Two Bridge Fiasco Race
It was a wild ride on the way back from the Bay Bridge mark with all of the waves set up by the 15 kt southerly compounded by all of the residual boat wakes from the fleets boiling downwind to the Bay Bridge mark..The SPINSHEET Protector was like a cork on the ocean providing its occupants with their own personal "carnival ride!"

According to Kevin Reeds and Dick Neville, "some were skeptical about the idea of a fun race, modeled after the successful Three Bridge Fiasco in San Francisco. But, it seemed like a good idea to try it here in Annapolis during a season of cancelled events and owners trying to finesse the idea of short-handed sailing. Thanks to the handicapping expertise of Bruce Bingman, starting times staggered based on predicted performance on the course with the fastest entries starting over an hour after the first competitor crossed the line at 1105 AM.  The entries started slowly and then increased to a bold 100 and then more. Ultimately, 133 boats competed in the 10.0-mile Two Bridge Fiasco course which started at G9 at the mouth of the Severn River.  From the start, competitors had to decide which order to round marks at the Naval Academy and Bay Bridges before returning to the finish again at G9.  They could cross the start and finish line in either direction.  So, yes, a not-too-serious, pursuit style race, with all boat types and non-racers welcome, turned out to be very popular. A sunny day with a nice 8-15 knot breeze made it even more successful." 

J/105s sailing Annapolis Two Bridge Fiasco Race
SPINSHEET, the Chesapeake Bay sailing magazine, checked in with Dick Neville, who serves on the AYC’s sailing committee, and Kevin Reeds, who is serving as the principal race officer of the inaugural Two Bridge Fiasco to learn more about this exciting new Chesapeake Bay-area event.

SPIN: Can you give us an overview of the course? Also, are there specific areas that you think will provide tactical opportunities?

DN: The start and finish will be in the same place. We will set a rounding mark in front of each bridge. [Boats can] go to either mark first, then to second mark then to finish. There is a point to round between marks, with shallow water - advantage small boats.

KR: The course will start and finish at a government mark (G9) in the Severn River just outside of Annapolis. From the start, boats must round two inflatable marks before returning to G9 to finish. The marks will be located near the Bay Bridge and the Naval Academy Bridge. Competitors can round the two marks in either order.

SPIN: Some smaller boats will definitely have a potential advantage as they can transit across the face of Greenbury Point, which is very shallow. The challenge for them will be that because they are faster, they will be starting later in the pursuit sequence so they will have to be fast to catch those boats that have already started.

J/80 sailing Annapolis Two Bridge Fiasco
SPIN: What are the best-case and worst-case scenarios in terms of weather/conditions for the course?

DN: [It’s] traditionally light air. Worst [case is] no wind. Best [case is] 10-12 knots.

KR: This time of year, we can see a wide range of weather conditions, ranging from no wind to well over 30 knots if a summer squall comes through. Generally, we are expecting the wind to be between four and eight knots…that would be a perfect July day here in Annapolis.

SPIN: Will the event employ any unusual rules, or will it follow the standard Racing Rules of Sailing?

DN: [It will follow the] regular RRS, but we expect first-timers to not know [the] rules.

KR: [The] AYC is currently using a modified race-management plan because of COVID-19, which includes the elimination of signaling flags and extensive use of the VHF radio to communicate with competitors.

SPIN: We will use this same protocol for the [Two Bridge] Fiasco. This race will also use a pursuit start with the slower boats going off first followed by the faster boats.

Start times will be based on [each] boat’s PHRF rating. For those boats that do not have a PHRF rating, we will be using the Portsmouth Yardstick system to create a rating number for them. Whoever finishes first wins!

SPIN: How important do you think local knowledge will be in this event?

DN: Very.

KR: Local knowledge might prove to be very important for the Fiasco, especially if the wind is light. Knowing how the current works in the Severn River might provide a big advantage. Also, for the smaller boats, knowing where the shoals are across Greenbury Point will be key to sailing the shortest course.

SPIN: What kinds of safe-play pandemic tactics are you expecting from the racers on the water? Are we talking about standard-issue things like face masks and hand sanitizer, or will the doublehanded crews also be expected to self-quarantine ahead of the race? Also, do you expect that this will be a highly competitive event, or is the spirit of this event more about getting out on the water for some friendly racing?

DN: No special Covid requirements as the single-/double-handed [format] meets requirements. Friendly competition only is the intent.

KR: This race is limited to single and double-handed crews only. Everyone will be expected to wear masks and social distance when ashore at AYC. Boats will not be allowed to raft up at the club and there will be no post-race party.

J/105s sailing Annapolis Two Bridge Fiasco Race
SPIN: We have also recruited three quarantine couples to serve [as] the mark-set boat crews - one couple per boat. Our signal boat crew will be limited to only six people [including] the boat driver. All sailors and race committee volunteers will wear marks before leaving the dock.

Given that this is the first year that the Two Bridge Fiasco is being sailed, are there any traditions that you and the other organizers hope (or envision) will develop? Or, do you see that kind thing unfurling more organically over the years?

DN: Purely a trial to get non-racers involved and see if sailors enjoy it.

KR: Great Question! Our initial intent was simply to create an opportunity for folks to go sailing during the pandemic. We liked that idea of single- and/or double-handed crews for the same reason—limited opportunity to be within six feet of others.

Dick [Neville] and I wanted it to be fun and with no frills or stress for the club or the competitors, and we were hoping to attract some folks that don’t normally come out to compete at regularly scheduled events here at AYC.

One of the traditions we built into the event is that there will be no trophies— other than bragging rights. Hopefully that will become a thing going forward.

The [sailing community’s] response has frankly been overwhelming, and we are very excited that this could become a regular event of our annual sailing calendar going forward.

SPIN: Can you tell us about any efforts that you and the other regatta organizers have made to try to lower the regatta’s environmental footprint or otherwise green-up the regatta?

DN: Deliberate minimal RC involvement to meet Covid-19 [standards] with added benefit of [the] environment.

KR: Environmental issues [have] not been part of our thinking for this event. The focus is just on providing folks an opportunity to go sailing during a pandemic and have a blast doing it.

SPIN: Anything else that you’d like to add, for the record?

KR: I am excited to serve as the PRO for this event. I am originally from San Francisco, so the Three Bridge Fiasco has always a favorite of mine. I am pleased to be bringing a bit of the West Coast to Annapolis in the form of the AYC’s Two Bridge Fiasco. I can’t wait to get started on Sunday, August second and see who wins."

J/70s sailing Annapolis Two Bridge Fiasco Race
In the end, it was not surprising to see a number of J/Teams fare well in their easily sailed, easily doublehanded boats. 

Winning the ten-boat J/22 class was Jake Doyle's ZESTY ENTERPRISE, followed by Jeff Todd's HOT TODDY, and Chris Brady's GODSPEED. Of note, Terry Hutchinson's son and daughter, James and Annabelle, were having fun getting out on the Chesapeake Bay for the first time.  If you recall, Terry is a J/24 World Champion and skipper/ manager of the New York YC AMERICAN MAGIC America's Cup Challenge Team. 

In the five-boat J/24 class, it was Will Bomar & Bri Grenier on BANGOR PACKET taking class honors, followed by Kent Bartlett's SPACEMAN SPIFF and Kelly Fitzgerald & Mike Coe's RUSH HOUR. 

J/105s sailing Annapolis Two Bridge Fiasco Race
There was a great turn-out for the J/105s, with seven boats aggressively pointing their bows across the line...even worse than the J/70's! Winning that class was Arthur Libby & Tom Carter's DOG HOUSE, followed by Brian Robinson's VELVET HAMMER, and Fredrik Salvesen's MIRAGE. 

There was a LOT of strong competition for braggin' rights in the nine-boat J/70 class. What fun it is to race a J/70 double-handed! Winning was Henry Filter's WILD CHILD, followed by David Schoene's UNO MAS in second, and Ray Wulff's BUYING THE CADILLAC in third place. Amazingly, Lighting World Champion Geoff Becker sailed AWKWARD TURTLE into the cellar...more background news on that later!

In the huge 44-boat PHRF Spinnaker class, Kevin McKee's J/80 DEATH RATTLE took the bronze while John Loe's J/33 HORNET placed 7th ahead of twelve other J/crews. 

In the PHRF Non-Spinnaker class of 22-boats, Paul & Sue Mikulski's J/42 FULL CICLE placed fourth while Nick Iliff's J/105 MUSKRAT finished just behind in 5th place.  Thanks for contribution from SPINSHEET.  For more news on Annapolis Yacht Clubs inaugural Two-Bridge Fiasco:
  Add to Flipboard Magazine.