Navy offshore sailing team cleans up at Annapolis-Newport prize-giving
A large contingent of Naval Academy midshipmen attended the Annapolis-to-Newport Race prize-giving ceremony, looking sharp in their dress whites.
Navy needed all hands on deck in order to carry away all the hardware its offshore sailing team received in recognition of its performance in the 37th biennial running of Annapolis-to-Newport.
Jahn Tihansky, head coach of the Navy varsity offshore sailing team, was beaming with pride as he watched a dozen midshipmen box up all the trophies that needed to be hauled away following the prize-giving, which was held At The Deck of Waite’s Wharf.
“I’m really happy for all these Navy sailors. They didn’t win everything, but they won an awful lot!” Tihansky said. “These trophies are the reward for working really hard preparing for, and competing in, this great race.”
Navy boats finished one-two in both the ORC 1A and ORC 2 classes, earning varsity offshore sailing team a total of 13 trophies.
Navy entered two Farr 40-footers in ORC 1A and they sailed in extremely close proximity for the entire 475-nautical mile passage with Ranger capturing class honors by beating Zephyr by just under 16 minutes on corrected time.
“We had a great battle with Zephyr and were within sight of them almost the whole way until we disappeared into the fog off Block Island,” Ranger skipper Hayden Kuzemchak said. “Having Zephyr pushing us was great in terms of keeping up the intensity and motivating the crew.”
The Midshipmen registered two of the program’s Mark II 44-footer training vessels in ORC B and that matchup was not quite as close with Gallant beating Defiance by 2 hours and 18 minutes on corrected time.
“Our competition with Defiance was a lot different than what Ranger and Zephyr experienced,” said Gallant skipper Christian Hoffman, noting the two Navy 44s split in the Atlantic Ocean. “We went about 30 miles offshore while Defiance tacked a lot earlier. There is still that same sibling rivalry about wanting to beat your sister ship, but in the case of Gallant and Defiance we sailed completely difference races.”
Phantom maximizes performance, earns overall ORC victory
Along the way, the Midshipmen displayed superb seamanship and boat-handling while racing in heavy winds and high seas throughout the Atlantic Ocean portion of the race.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my team. It was a very tough, grueling race and our crews were more than up to that challenge,” Tihansky said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better race to challenge our sailors. This Annapolis-to-Newport gave them the opportunity to be tested in a tough environment and see what they’re made of.”
Paul Jervis served as navigator aboard Ranger, which posted the second-fastest elapsed time of the entire 52-boat fleet. Jervis was presented with the Cary Arthur Memorial Trophy for navigating for the Naval Academy entry with the best corrected time.
“We thought the race could be done on two tacks, and that turned out to be the case. Our goal from the get-go was to sail the shortest distance possible,” Kuzemchak said. “We never got more than about 12 miles west of the rhumb line. Our crew worked really hard from start to finish. All told, I thought we sailed the boat to the best of our ability.”
Gallant was presented with both the Blue Water Bowl for best overall performance in ORC with navigator Adam Lance received the City of Newport Trophy.
Gallant posted a corrected time of 4 days, 2 hours, 40 minutes and 6 seconds in registering the largest margin of victory among the 19 ORC entries. The Navy 44 also earned the newly-created Chip Thayer Perpetual Trophy for lowest elapsed time among Friday starters (non-foiling).
“I think the key was having our crew stay totally focused. We didn’t see another boat for six hours and it’s easy to take the foot off the pedal when that happens,” Hoffman said. “We kept pushing, even when we were sailing in 25-knot sustained winds with eight-foot waves.”
Phantom, an XP 44 skippered by Chris Schoen of Larchmont Yacht Club, was the winner in ORC B Class. Jeffrey Feehan was navigator on Phantom, which finished with the fastest elapsed time (60 hours, 12 minutes, 24 seconds) in the entire fleet. That accomplishment earned Schoen and crew the Commodore Peter H. Magruder Memorial Trophy.
“It’s amazing to me and very rewarding given all the time, effort and energy that goes into getting ready for this race, not to mention the work we did out on the water in very challenging conditions,” said Schoen, who was making his Annapolis-Newport debut.
“We were just looking at the names of some of the boats on this trophy and it’s amazing. You’re talking about some of the most famous boats in sailboat racing history and now my boat will be on there with them forever, which is really cool.”
Annapolis-to-Newport Race favorite dismasted in Atlantic Ocean
Rick Hanson has always named his sailboats in honor of a Bruce Springsteen song. The North East River Yacht Club member was the PHRF 1 winner in the 2017 Annapolis-to-Newport with a J/109 named Rosalita.
Hanson replicated that feat in the 2019 edition of A2N while racing a J/120 named No Surrender. Kyle Hanson, 29, once again served as tactician for his father and helped No Surrender notch the best elapsed time among 18 PHRF entries.
Hanson had three College of Charleston offshore sailing team members aboard as crew in Will Hundahl, Shane Kilberg and Jordan Wiggins. As a result, No Surrender was winner of the Youth Challenge competition for entries with three or more crew members under the age of 25.
“We had four returning crew members from 2017 and that consistency and experience helped,” said Hanson, an Avondale, Pennsylvania resident. “All three of the college guys knew how to drive and that was important as far as pushing the boat. As an overall group, we worked really hard in a real difficult race and I’m quite pleased with our performance.”
Skipper Albert Bossar led the J/42 Allegiant to victory in PHRF 2 class, which had all six participants finish the grueling 475-nautical mile passage. That marked a major turnaround for the Herrington Harbour Sailing Association entry, which finished 13th out of 14 boats in PHRF 3 during the 2017 A2N.
“We’ve had a lot of crew turnover since the last Annapolis-Newport and there’s a more harmonious atmosphere onboard. I thought the vibe was incredible this time around,” said Bossar, a Shady Side, Maryland resident. “We’re just a better team all-around.”
Twiga, a J/109 skippered by David Esseks, was the first PHRF 2 boat to exit the Chesapeake Bay, but was overtaken by Allegiant in the Atlantic Ocean. Bossar and navigator Noah Kanter made good use of routing software to plot a course, choosing to sail offshore for a good ways before turning left toward Newport and holding fairly steady to the rhumb line.
“We’re a pretty blue-collar group of sailors. We trained hard for this race and our goal from the outset was to be aggressive,” Bossar said. “I thought we did a really good job of putting the boat in the best position to be successful.”
Nicole, a Cal 40 with an impressive pedigree, captured class honors in ORR 2 – a 10-boat fleet with six finishers. Tom Campbell bought the boat from fellow Oxford resident and Tred Avon Yacht Club member Tad DuPont, and was fortunate to inherit most of his crew.
Navigator Doug Campbell, strategist Alan Campbell, watch captains Bob Mathews and Andrew Devlin along with Jim Ryan and Harry Seemans have approximately 25 Annapolis-to-Newport races under their collective belts.
Nicole started on Friday and had no choice but to head 40 miles offshore almost the edge of the Gulf Stream before picking up the right-hand shift that enabled her to tack toward Newport.
“We had great crew work and I would say we sailed the best possible race we could,” Tom Campbell said. “We’re pretty pleased and excited to win our class.”
Divide by Zero (PHRF Performance Cruising), Revonac (PHRF Classic) and Temptress (ORR 1) were the only finishers in their respective classes.
Temptress, a Taylor 41 owned by Jay Gowell of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, experienced some drama aboard as an engine fire caused considerable concern around 3 p.m. Sunday. Gowell said the crew was charging the batteries and it caused an electrical fire.
“We saw a lot of smoke coming out of the engine box so we got the life rafts into the cockpit and harnesses on,” he said.
After waiting 40 minutes, Gowell looked into engine box and realized the motor was fried. All the electronics aboard Temptress had to be shut down and that meant sailing with a hand-held VHF tuned to Channel 16 and sailing using the Windex.
“We were about 90 miles south of Delaware Bay and had no instruments for the rest of the race, but we were able to keep the hammer down and just kept racing like we were sailing a dinghy,” he said. “We had some good helmsman
This was the first Annapolis-to-Newport Race for Gowell as a boat owner. He previously completed the passage in 2005 as crew aboard a J/160 named Aquarius. Gowell is the current chairman of the 2020 Newport-Bermuda Race and a felt a certain responsibility to support a similar event.
“Annapolis-Newport is an iconic race and a significantly challenging one. Our preparation and buildup to the race was a lot of fun,” he said. “I thought Annapolis Yacht Club provided tremendous hospitality and the sendoff party was one of the best I’ve ever attended.”