Nancy Noyes Correspendent
Capital Gazette August 27, 2016
It was a classic August experience on the Chesapeake Bay: the breeze softened up enough that fewer than half of the racers could finish before the time limit expired last Saturday. But once again the real winner of the this year’s Boatyard Bar & Grill Regatta to Benefit CRAB was its beneficiary and the mood at the post-race party was upbeat and celebratory, marking another year of success where it counts for the event.
Where it counts, of course, for nearly everyone who took part, is in generating support for one of the region’s outstanding and creative non-profits, Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating — CRAB — which provides access to the thrill and freedom of sailing to physically and developmentally-challenged individuals, recovering warriors, and their families, regardless of financial circumstances.
This year, 85 teams registered to race in a 7-mile pursuit-start contest out on the bay, while 15 Harbor 20 skippers signed on to sail their own course, up the Severn from R’2′ to a finish off the deck at host Eastport Yacht Club.
In a pursuit start race, where each boat’s PHRF handicap is applied before the start so that the faster boats start later than the slower ones, and the first over the finish line wins, the goal is for teams on faster boats to pass those who started ahead of them while holding off anyone starting afterward. This year, the last to start became first to finish when Bruce Bingman’s and Taran Teague’s Blockade Runner crew sailed through the entire fleet to take first overall.
“It made us feel good,” Bingman said. “We were pleased with how we sailed the boat. We believe strongly in supporting the Boatyard Regatta because it benefits a great cause.”
With Teague on the helm and Bingman navigating and doing pit, the Blockade Runner crew included Scott Dodge (tactician), Andy Hughes (headsail trimmer), Steve Reeves (main), Alex Ramos (bow) and Jackie Rolleri (mast). Bingman explained that the whole team strongly supports CRAB, especially Reeves, owner of Bacon Marine, a long-time CRAB sponsor and promoter.
With Blockade Runner — a Farr 30 with the lowest PHRF rating in the fleet — last to start the pursuit race, Bingman said he and Dodge decided to start on the shipping channel side of the line to take advantage of a strong ebb tide. A big header soon changed the plan, and they tacked toward the Western Shore. “We noticed that some of our top competition did not tack,” Bingman said. “We felt the header was more important than the current.”
After picking up a favorable shift and tacking back left, Blockade Runner had climbed through the fleet to be sixth around the turning mark off Thomas Point. “Fortunately, we rounded a few minutes ahead of Wanda, which would prove crucial,” Bingman said.
Christian Jensen’s Wanda is a Viper 830 that Bingman once owned and raced under the name Rattlesnake. The Viper is faster downwind than the Farr 30, and made up about a minute and a half on Blockade Runner during the run to the finish.
Bingman said sailing downwind against the tide was tricky. Blockade Runner“played the covering game,” against Wanda, which the afterguard figured was the main challenger. “It all came down to whether or not we could hold off Wanda,” Bingman said. Score sheets show they held her off by a mere 17 seconds at the end. “Taran drove the whole way and did an outstanding job. She has really developed into an excellent light air driver.”
As soon as the pursuit start race was out of the way, the race committee set up the start for the Harbor 20s, competing in both single-handed and fully-crewed divisions.
First over the finish line was Bill Sutton’s Fuzzy Logic, competing in the full-crew division, and right behind was Garth Hichens on H20, winning the single-handed division. This is the second year Hichens has done the Boatyard Regatta, and the second year he has claimed the single-handed title.
“The most difficult aspect was the run from the start at R’2′ to the turning mark at R’14’ off the Naval Academy,” Hichens said. “I had one arm stretched back holding the tiller and the other arm stretched out trying to push the main out. I had to stay in that position for almost an hour and it was hot.”
Hichens said he hit R’14’ and had to round again, but felt he made gains on the second leg, a beat back to R’5.’ He went right toward Severn Sailing Association to get into shallow water and out of the current.
“The Harbor 20 class is very conscious of charity regattas,” Hichens said. “We do the Hospice Cup, CRAB Regatta and Leukemia Cup. Dick Franyo does a great job with this regatta, Eastport Yacht Club provides great race committee and a wonderful party.”
Find full results at http://eastportyc.org/bbg-crab and photos at
Staff writer Bill Wagner contributed to this story
Boatyard Bar & Grill Regatta to Benefit CRAB
PHRF (24 boats):
1. Blockade Runner, Bruce Bingman/Taran Teague
2. Wanda, Christian Jensen
3. Tenacious, Scott Gitchell
PHRF Nonspinnaker (24 boats):
1. Muskrat, Nick Iliff Jr.
2. Redshift, Kenneth Koester
3. Dianthus, David Tabor
Alerion 28 (4 boats):
1. Skimmer, Jack & Marti Detweiler
J/70 (3 boats):
1. Down the Line, Trevor Perkins
J/80 (7 boats):
1. Snowstorm, Anthony Flake
2. Mango, Ken Mangano
3. CoolJ, Alex Kraus
Overall, Pursuit Race (69 boats):
1. Blockade Runner, Bruce Bingman
2. Wanda, Christian Jensen
3. Snowstorm, Anthony Flake
4. Down the Line, Trevor Perkins
5. Mango, Ken Mangano
Harbor 20 Single-Handed (8 boats):
1. H20, Garth Hichens
2. Velella, Marino deMarzo
3. Mofongo, Walter Laird
Harbor 20 Full Crew (7 boats):
1. Fuzzy Logic, William Sutton
2. Elixir, Brian Wiersema
3. A Train, Robert Reeves