2023 Season Kickoff – SSA Spring Series

The 2023 Annapolis Snipe Fleet season kicked off this past weekend May 13-14 with the SSA Snipe Spring Series. We had a wide variety of racing conditions and a great turnout with 11 boats, including new Snipers Avery Fanning/Sam Pilz and Preston Senior/Kate Shermock as well as travelers Bob & Stephanie Adam, Lee Griffith, and Darby Capellin!

The weather was a little unsettled as we waited for a cold front to drop over the area on Saturday night. On Saturday morning there was very little breeze so the Race Committee postponed ashore. After an hour plus, Arthur Blodgett decided to hit the water and do some practicing in the Severn River where there was 5 or so knots of Breeze from the Northeast, but still almost nothing outside the river on the selected race course (that we would share with Soling, Thistles and Day Sailers). As the Race Committee started to poll the fleets about canceling for the day, we were watching Arthur and crew Darby Capellin having some nice practice. The fleet ultimately decided that we were going to go join Arthur and Darby in the river and if the Race Committee decided to cancel we’d continue doing our practice and if they went out, we’d follow them. Win, win!

Ultimately, the official racing was canceled and we ended up doing a bunch of really close and fun windward/leewards across the river with rabbit starts. It was great practice for everyone for a few hours and when we got back to shore, covered up and grabbed a beer it started to rain hard. More winning for all!

Snipes won the “Battle of the Fleet Flags”!

Sunday was a crisp and cool morning after the passage of the front with the predicted NE breeze right on schedule. This was the quintessential day after a cold front breeze, but it was forecast to drop very quickly as the day went on. This time the forecast was right on the money. We headed out to the course and put turns on for the first start. As the Stuart Walker adage advises, go left when the breeze is from the north. That was definitely the case and Arthur/Darby went the hardest left and established an unassailable lead. The Plines were in second around the weather mark, but lost positions to Bradly Adam/Bryan Stout and Lee Griffith/Nikki Bruno on the run, but worked back to third behind Adam/Stout.

Even by the second race the breeze was substantially lighter and getting weirder. Going left again paid, but cracks were starting to show in that armor as the breeze lightened and current built. Staying in the pressure was starting to be as important as the shifts. Again the Blodgett/Capellin, Adam/Stout and Griffith/Bruno teams were the top three and others were a bit jumbled.

By the third race, the bottom was quickly falling out of the breeze and as that happens typically the breeze starts to shift around to the east as high pressure settles in so opportunities to go right start to emerge. But beware, it’s not a sure thing. This was exactly the case and those who stuck to the “go left” found themselves in a world of hurt. Midway through the race, the breeze started to shut off making downwind against the current slow going. However, there were still a few puffs from the left early which really hurt those that assumed the shift was persistent and they fell into a big hole after jibing at the weather mark and when it finally came back from the right towards the end of the leg, it was too late. By the second beat, the wind was definitely right to stay. The final finishes were a bit jumbled compared to the first two races, but the top 3 ended up in a tie breaker at 9 points. Fortunately for Blodgett/Capellin, the two firsts put them on top and it came down to who beat who in the last race with Griffith/Bruno in second and Adam/Stout in third. Fourth through sixth were also close, each a point apart. We decided to call it quits after three races as the breeze was unstable and with a 3pm drop dead time, we didn’t think the developing se breeze would settle there before that point.

Afterwards, we gathered on the porch for refreshments and food from Botanas Fajardo and to enjoy the Spring sunshine. Thanks to the Plines for hosting an impromptu cookout on Friday night!

Full Results:

Pos Sail Boat Skipper/Crew Club 1 2 3 Total
1 30473 La Flama Blanca Arthur Blodgett/Darby Capellin SSA/St Petersburg YC 1 1 7 9.00 1
2 31304   Lee Griffith/Nikki Bruno Surf City YC 4 2 3 9.00 2
3 29044   Bradley Adam/Bryan Stout SSA 2 3 4 9.00 3
4 30302 Touch of Grey Bob Adam/Stephanie Adam Sail Newport 6 5 2 13.00 4
5 30195   Brady Stagg/Gracie McDougall SSA 5 8 1 14.00 5
6 31313 Old Folks Boogie Alex Pline/Lisa Pline SSA 3 7 5 15.00 6
7 29682 Lizzie Lorie Stout/Sunny Sturmer SSA 7 4 6 17.00 7
8 3129   Preston Senior/Kate Shermock EYC 8 6 9 23.00 8
9 30860 Her Fault Devon Feusahrens SSA 10 10 8 28.00 9
10 31061   Rich McVeigh/Carol McVeigh SSA 9 9 10 28.00 10
11 30687   Avery Fanning/Samantha Pilz SSA 12/DNC 12/DNC 12/DNC 36.00 11

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