“Since 2005 we have been hosting this regatta and every year it gets stronger and stronger,” said Regatta Chair Bill Kardash (Annapolis, Md.) of regatta host Storm Trysail Club’s Chesapeake Station. “Part of its success is our race committee, headed by Race Committee Chairman Dick Neville and Principal Race Officer Wayne Bretsch, who are two well-known figures in sailing race management. Along with their team of more than 20, they can always be counted on for excellent courses and a user-friendly environment.” The regatta began in 2000 and was raced under the IMS rule, however with the growing popularity of IRC handicap racing the switch was made in 2005.
Vincitore and Mayhem last lined up in September at the Rolex Big Boat Series, hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club, in San Francisco where they finished 5th and 8th respectively.
“We plan on participating in Key West Race Week and Miami SORC again this year so Annapolis seemed to make sense,” said Wolfe. “Originally we planned to race the Newport to Cabo race on the West Coast, however some of our competition decided to head east. In efforts to keep the field competitive we decided to follow suit. My boat has never sailed on the Chesapeake Bay before, nor have I. My ultimate goal is to win the regatta, however I would be quite pleased to have a great time participating.”
As of the October 15 early registration deadline, the largest fleet is IRC 2 with returning champion Tsunami, owned by Preben Ostberg & Bud Dailey Jr. (Rockville, Md.) alongside a total of 12 boats, to date, including two NYYC Club 42s, a Melges 32, two J/122s and four Farr 40s.
“Several local Farr 40 owners are interested in generating interest in a local Farr 40 fleet,” said Erik Wulff (Washington, D.C.), who finished second in the AYC fall series. “My hope is that this regatta will highlight the competitiveness of these boats beyond the grand prix circles for which they are most known. This is one of the premier regattas each year, with a very high level of competition. It is a must-attend regatta for those who are serious about yacht racing.”
Four U.S. Naval Academy Navy 44s make up the bulk of IRC 3 - 11 entries to date - with two Beneteau First 40.7 and two J/109 entries, one of which is Rush, owned by Bill Sweetster (Annapolis), winner of its class in 2007. According to Andrew Roberts (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.) making the trip to Annapolis is always a highlight. “It is a great end of year event” said Roberts who owns Overlap, a Beneteau First 40.7. “Racing has ended in our home waters of N.J., and it is a way for the team to do one more major race at the end of the season. We've been doing this race for years, and though we've raced in shorts and tees, and hats and gloves over the years, we always have a great time.”
In IRC 4, the fleet is made up of all Beneteau 36.7s with returning champion Art Silcox (West River, Md.) in the mix with KA-IO. For Keith Mayes (Tracys Landing, Md.), owner of Jubilee, this regatta has double meaning as the fleet will also determine its season’s high point winner.
“The top 3 boats, KA-IO, Jubilee, and Pegasus are very close at the moment,” said Mayes, who finished sixth in class at the 2007 regatta. “I expect very close racing up and down the nine-boat class with stiff competition from Dreamboat Annie, Foxtrot Corpen and Team Aegis. We are delighted that Gary Tisdale from Youngstown, N.Y. will be chartering a local boat ( Vitesse) - Gary was second in the 2007 Beneteau 36.7 North American Championship in Buffalo, so we are expecting that he will extremely competitive and test the skills of the local skippers.”
The schedule calls for up to six windward/leeward races on Saturday, Nov. 1 and Sunday, Nov. 2. Races not completed on Saturday may be sailed on Sunday. Races not completed on Friday or Sunday will not be sailed. A distance race is set for Friday, Oct. 31, of approximately 30 miles for smaller boat classes and 45 miles for larger boat classes. The IRC East Coast Championship Trophy will be awarded for Best Overall Performance at this regatta.
The regatta is open to any IRC boat that meets the requirements of the IRC Rules and has an IRC Certificate with a rating for 2008.