Annapolis, MD, October 28, 2012 -- Ralf Steitz and his team from the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point sailing their recent B&C TP 52 acquisition Flying Jenny 7 have won the HPR Class in the Storm Trysail Club’s IRC East Coast Championship in a fleet of eight HPR entries, the largest to date for this emerging class. Helmed by Chris Larson with tactical help from Alan Terhune, the team amassed a five-point lead over runner-up Interlodge, a Botin TP 52 owned by Austin and Gwen Fragomen. Steve and Heidi Benjamin’s new Carkeek HPR 40 Spookie was third, only 0.5 point behind Interlodge.
The five-race series started with Friday’s 29.6-mile tour of the central Chesapeake, with a light and shifty northeast breeze giving Interlodge an initial lead until she sailed into a windless hole and watched helplessly while most of the class sailed around her. This opportunity gave Flying Jenny a lead she never lost, with Hannes Waimer’s Farr 400 Team Premier and Rod Jabin and Ian Gordon’s sistership Annapolis Farr 400 taking second and third, respectively, in this 1.5 point-weighted race.
The remaining four inshore races of the series were sailed on Saturday in a format shortened by the approach of Hurricane Sandy to the mid-Atlantic states, with organizers giving teams today to prepare for the storm-force winds predicted for the area tomorrow and Tuesday. Three of four of these races were won by Interlodge, who being the fastest in the fleet was able to first break free of a very tight pack of 40-ish foot designs which included the two Farr 400’s, Spookie, Charles Engh’s GP 42 Stray Dog, Jim Carkhuff’s new MC 38 OOAH, and Marc Glimcher’s Ker 40 Catapult.
The 13-17 knot northeasterly conditions sailed against an ebb tide on Saturday tended to favor the bigger boats until the ebb turned to slack in the last race. This made the beats shorter and high-speed runs longer, compressing the corrected times down to margins of mere seconds.
“This was a great opportunity for us to see HPR in action,” said Steve Benjamin, a founder of HPR and owner/helmsman of Spookie. “The racing was extremely close on the water, the best-sailed boat won the event, and everyone had a great time. I’m excited to see more racing like this in the coming winter season.”
For more information on the IRC East Coast regatta, visit the event website at www.yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=587.