This year’s regatta was very cold with a snow storm on Saturday and lots of ice on Sunday, but bright sunshine and a great breeze.
January 26-27, 2008
Severn Sailing Association, Annapolis, MD
Reigning InterClub National Champions John and Molly Baxter representing Larchmont Yacht Club (NY) dominated their A Division rivals at the 2008 InterClub Midwinters. Eleven races were sailed in each division of this classic college-style regatta, with the Baxters winning 7 of them in the light to moderate conditions. The contest was tighter in the B division, with “Dans” Pletsch and Maggie Lumkes a bit deeper in the standings, but staying close enough in points to secure the regatta win for the Larchmont team. Annapolitans Matt and Lori Schubert won B division with a 13 point margin and consistent sailing to pull their team, which included Brian Bissell and Alexis Rubin, into second place. The Manhasset Bay Yacht Club team, consisting of Pedro Lorson, Mimi Berry, PJ Patin, and Donna Marie Cipollone finished third.
This year’s regatta was noteworthy for the greater number of junior sailors on the water, teaming with friends, fathers, and coaches for some old-fashioned frostbiting action. Now in its 8th decade, the tradition of dinghy frostbiting continues, and is a great way to teach kids the basics of sailboat racing.
With the win, John and Molly move one point ahead of Benj/Charlie in the Wharf Rat standings with two regattas to go. If you haven’t sailed at least one of the three regattas to date, you’re out of luck in the battle for the Wharf Rat this year, and teams who have only sailed one event so far need to sail the final two events (Stanley Bell at LYC March 15-16 and Nationals at Metedeconk River April 19-20) to have a chance.
Jim Bowers/Bridgid Murphy and Paul Adam/Gaelen Phyfe win the uncharacteristically light air InterClub Midwinters. A high pressure system sat over the area all weekend producing light winds of 3-10 knots from the NE. Nonetheless, we raced 10 races on Saturday and 4 more on Sunday morning before the breeze finally shut off for the day. At least this year it was really warm and sunny and felt more like a typical April day.
With much of the water in the Northeast better suited to DN sailing than InterClub frostbiting, it came as a surprise to many that the annual InterClub Midwinters would indeed be contested in Annapolis on February 7 &8.
However, the IC Midwinters has had a charmed existence, and at the last minute the frozen tundra broke up and washed out into the Chesapeake. Twenty-five teams came from all over the New England, New York, New Jersey, and even Ohio to compete in this unique event which is run like a collegiate regatta. Sailing and socializing in equal proportions is the theme of this classic event. Twenty races in total (ten in each division) were completed in blustry Northwest winds, but the short fetch off the Naval Academy breakwater kept the seas relatively flat. The temperature was cold on Sunday despite abundant sunshine, and icing on hulls and rigs added to the regatta’s mistique.
With no drops races, consistency and risk management were vital to ultimate success. The lead changed many times between four teams, and the title came down to the last series. Steve and Jane Kirkpatrick were not having a stellar regatta, but they delivered the goods when it mattered most in the penultimate race by forcing the leading B Division team of Simon Stauss and Lisa Pline into a poor start. In doing so, the Scituate-based team won their third consecutive IC Midwinters by merely three points. Chad Demarest and Whitney Besse sailed a fantastic regatta to capture A Division honors and pull the Scituate team up into the winner’s circle.
Saturday morning at 9:30 am Thomas Point had 30 knots from the WNW and there were some real green meanies rolling down Spa Creek. However, after a one hour postponement, we had 10 races in a quintessential 10-20 knot northwester. On Sunday the breeze was down slightly from Saturday (WNW 5-15) but despite lots of sunshine it was a bit colder with temperatures in the 30s), really nice racing.
Another Great Regatta was held on February 8-9, 2002!
“The InterClub Midwinters has built quite a reputation for itself. That reputation is one of great sailing and socializing in equal proportions made possible by the regatta format, called “collegiate style”. Each boat is shared among sailors from two divisions who form a team for scoring purposes – just like in college sailing. First one division sails a few races, then the other. Alternating between racing and socializing is even tempting for those sailors that normally consider frostbiting as part of the lunatic fringe. As one new frostbiter described, ‘I thought I’d get pretty cold out there, but I was pleasantly surprised that these little tubs keep you moving, and before you know it, your round is over and you’re back in the club eating soup!'”
How much better can you state the essence of this regatta? This year’s event is stacking up to carry on this tradition. As we have bragged about in the past, we have not lost a midwinter’s race due to bad weather in the last 5 years. You are virtually guaranteed two days of great sailing, and with the borrowed boat program (see the NOR), and air fares reaching rock bottom, you can now get here with a minimum of fuss.
A Great Regatta = Good Management + Great Location + Fun Atmosphere
29 boats braved the freakish snow storm that hit the Mid Atlantic with 8 inches of snow. We completed 18 races in two days in shifty NW-SW breezes. Team Scituate consisting of Steve/Jane Kirkpatrick and Chad/Kelly Demarest repeat as Midwinter Champions.
Written for the Scituate Frostbite Association Fleet and used with permission (sort of).
Steve, Jane, Whitney and I had the pleasure of competing in the IC Midwinters this past weekend. The Annapolis IC fleet runs it “college style” with A and B division teams splitting time in the same boat. This year saw 27 teams–pretty amazing given the conflict with Miami OCR. The A/B thing makes it very social, as there’s plenty of time shore-side to get to know your fellow competitors. Seeing a lot of old friends and making new ones over copious (though not Berkeley-esque) quantities of free beer is always a good thing. The “boat loan program,” which ensures that traveling sailors are matched with a free charter boat, free housing, and free ride to/from the airport, attracts non-IC sailors…a fantastic thing for the health of the class and an ingenious fleet-building plan. As Annapolis has had the largest average turnout of any IC fleet this season, it also appears to be working. True hardcore IC sailors, like Jim/Suzie Bowers and Jocko/Myrna MacRae, also took advantage of the program–they got hooked up with a gucci Menkart. Mike Birman and Galen Phyfe got to sail a Vanguard for free. All of them were back home in Boston in time for the game.
Racing started on Saturday at the very civilized hour of 11:00, which was good because the front that had almost blown Steve/Jane off I-95 the night before was still kicking up a meaty northerly at 9:30 when we got to the club. When Steve/Jane hit the water an hour later, it was down to probably 15 or so, and the course was set up at the mouth of the Severn right off the USNA field in a flat, breezy, very shifty northerly. Steve and Jane got off to a good start with a 4/3/1 and, at the rotation, Steve’s advice to me was “dude, it’s shifty.” And dude, it was. There was a funneling breeze at the middle of the mouth of the Severn, but there were also huge lefties coming from the mouth of the harbor 90 degrees left of the weather mark. To complicate matters, the current was ripping out but you could duck it on the far left corner. What’s a sailor to do? We tried to tack on every shift and never commit to a side, and it worked pretty well. We lost boat a boat or two on the first beats when we committed to a side rather than taking smaller shifts. We posted a 1/3/5 and turned the reins back over to Steve and Jane. After going back on an OCS, they pulled a 10 in the first race. You all know what happens next, right? They win the next two going away. Law of averages. Whit and I were crucified by a port tacker on the first start of our set, but we clawed back to a 6. The next one was worse, as we were over at a messy pin and never established a lane on the beat. A sweet low-road on the run caught us 6 or 7 boats, and we finished 4th. The last race was strange. Good start, good lanes, great speed, bad finish. We end with a 6/4/8. John Pratt/Kristina Roussel (A) and Paul Adam/Kim Queene (B) from Winthrop sailed an amazingly consistent day, and were 5 points up on us in the overall. Steve/Jane were winning A, but Whit and I were a distant third in B…16 points behind Paul/Kim’s highly impressive 2/2/2/1/3/1. Former Midwinter Champ Bill Healy’s team was close behind us, as was Jim/Suzie/Jocko/Myrna.
SSA hosted a dinner, but the only thing anyone will remember was the desert. Words cannot do the desert justice, so I won’t even try. It was the best food with sugar any of us have ever eaten. The main course could have been *&^% on a shingle and it still would have been an unbelievable meal. There was beer, too, but we lit out for a night on the town that turned ugly and ended in Hearts and Sammy’s in the hotel.
Sunday dawned cloudy with a light SW’ly that built to a solid 10 when A hit the water for a cold, hard and uncivilized 9:30 first gun. It was clearly very wavy and getting windier. We knew the breeze was up when two boats Bruce-ed on the last run. Steve/Jane were deep on the first race after missing a lefty, but powered back to a 5. 808, in case you’re wondering, is very, VERY good at powering back. That boat is NOT speed-deficient. Anyway, they were winning the second race for a while, but they had to chose between covering the correct side and covering the correct competition…they finished 3rd, ahead of Billy, Jim and Pratto. The last race they played the middle and survived a 20 degree lefty to finish 5th. When Whit and I got out to the starting area, we were almost planing in 16 knot puffs, surfing down 2-foot waves. Our only goal, after watching the left pay consistently in the A set, was to be towards the pin and play the left. At 15 seconds we got nervous and bailed from the pin, starting on port behind everyone, and were soon the furthest boat right. And then we got headed. We tacked and never looked back. We came from behind to win the next race on the last beat. We couldn’t get by Jock/Myrna in our last race, and were happy to post a 1/1/2 set. It was only noon, but they sent us in ’cause of the PHRF frostbiters, who, we were told, “play by different rules” than we do. Curiously, this was deemed sound logic.
We finished up with a comfortable combined win, and managed to win both divisions to boot. We were all proud to represent SFA, and I think the rest of the world is starting to see that we’ve got the most competitive frostbiting in the country. Scituate on Sundays is the most intesive learning session you’ll find, anywhere, and it lasts all winter long. What a bargain!
A quick plug: the Annapolis IC fleet really goes all-out for this event. There was hot food between every set, the kegs were always tapped, and the RC work (though not Charles-esque) was damn good. The competitors were all very nice and very social (and very lubricated). The hot water in the showers worked. The raffle was good (not quite Kirkp…oh, you get the idea) and the Winthrop crowd absolutely cleaned up (they had 4 teams) on tee-shirts and hats. Someone not named Jim or Suzie won the sail. It was a first-class regatta.
The four of us had an absolute blast. We will all do everything we can to go back next year, and we encourage anyone else interested in a really great regatta to come down and give it a shot. Skill levels are totally irrelevant…the sailing is good, but the atmosphere is what makes it such a fun weekend.
1 – Guck (808) w/ Ched North
2 – Menkart (699) w/ Benj North
3 – Original woody (34?) w/ Ched North
4 – Menkart (672) w/ Ched North
5 – Vanguard (757) w/ New Doyle (–these guys were blazing fast in the flat water Sat!)
The InterClub Midwinters has built quite a reputation for itself. That reputation is one of great sailing and socializing in equal proportions made possible by the regatta format, called “collegiate style”. Each boat is shared among sailors from two divisions who form a team for scoring purposes – just like in college sailing. First one division sails a few races, then the other. Alternating between racing and socializing is even tempting for those sailors that normally consider frostbiting as part of the lunatic fringe. As one new frostbiter described, “I thought I’d get pretty cold out there, but I was pleasantly surprised that these little tubs keep you moving, and before you know it, your round is over and you’re back in the club eating soup!”
Lots of New Englanders consider the IC Midwinters a “must do” regatta. As its name implies, the InterClub was originally conceived as a class of boat that could be shared among sailors from different clubs. Annapolis IC Fleet members have always been extremely generous in loaning their boats out to frostbite brethren from up north. With no boat to bring, these travelers usually hop a shuttle flight from Boston, Providence, or New York for the weekend. Boston’s frostbite ace, Jim Bowers, says “coming to the IC Midwinters is a no-brainer each year because the sailing is as great as the party, and it’s just so easy”. This formula also drew sailors from New Jersey, Buffalo, and, and even New Orleans.
For most sailors in this regatta, college is a fading memory, but the sailing skills that make All-Americans are the very ones that make winners at the IC Midwinters. The winning team this year consisted of Steve & Jane Kirkpatrick, Chad Demarest, and Whitney Besse from Scituate, MA. Both crews won their respective divisions with the skills that earned them All-American status in college. Those skills include crisp boat handling and accurate split-second decision making. In second place were Jim & Susie Bowers and Jocko & Myrna MacRae from Winthrop, MA. In third were Bill Healy, Leah Anderson, Brent Jansen, and Paige Hannon. Healy, a fixture at this regatta since 1998, put a team together with Saint Mary’s College sailing team members. The top local team consisted of Wayne Pignolet, JoAnn Jones, Hal Gilreath, and Lisa Pline in fourth place.
Saturday’s racing was held in a typical winter Northwester ushered in by building high pressure. Winds ranging from 5 to 15 knots with quick oscillations made lead changes in each race inevitable. At the end of the day, Paul Adam and Kim Queen (Winthrop, MA) held a commanding lead in B Division and a respectable overall lead with teammates John Pratt and Kristina Roussel. However, skippers Kirkpatrick and Demarest rallied on Sunday in a difficult southwesterly that added a nasty chop to the equation. Demarest and Besse sealed the regatta win with a resounding 1,1,2 in the final three races.
Once again, PRO John Potter and the SSA race committee team defined race management efficiency by firing off 12 perfect races on Saturday and 6 on Sunday. After the event Potter said “sometimes when a regatta goes off this well, I don’t know what to do with myself afterward”. But Potter knows all too well that there will always be another regatta to run, and TESOD is just around the corner.
Demarest put it nicely when he addressed the crowd while accepting his championship trophy; “The IC Midwinters is a great regatta for the class because it gets so many new people involved each year. The class needs more fun events like this, and more sailors to fill the ranks”.
The Annapolis InterClub Fleet would like to thank our suppliers; Phillips Seafood, The Bagel Connection, Fawcett’s Boat Supplies, Kinder Industries, Harken, Guck, Inc., Ronstan, Annapolis Performance Sailing, Sailing Magazine, Layline, Seitech, North Sails, and Riff Raff Graphics.