June 16, 2009

Rendezvous Recap

The Fleet held its annual rendezvous on Saturday, June 13.  Five Alerions, their owners and guests got together for some casual racing and an awards ceremony and reception.  The regatta took place on the West River near Galesville on Maryland’s western shore.  The after reception was hosted by Casey and Renee Brennan under the oak trees at Chalk Point Marine.

Three boats from the area, Ergo (Dave Cochran), Patriot (Casey Brennan) and Resilient (Bob Spann and Beth Whiteley) were joined by two boats from further north on the western shore, Orion (David Gantz and Cate Fagan) from Annapolis and Summer Solstice (Mike Chernesky) sailing out of the Magothy River.  Guests Bill Marras and Paul Rohrkemper crewed on Ergo and Patriot, respectively.

At the captain’s meeting at Chalk Point before the regatta, Race Chairman Bob Spann noted the very light NE winds forecast for the day and proposed a short, 2 mile course around three race buoys near the mouth of the West River. All the participants hoped that this venue would provide stronger winds for a superb test of level-racing sailing skills.

It was not to be.  As the five boats converged on the starting line, the Chesapeake’s summer-time winds appeared to have settled in for the duration.  Five knot northeasterlies, with gusts to eight, were the order of the day. Casey on Patriot had the best start at the northern end of the line and led all the way in the light and variable conditions. Boats were heading every which way trying to find a puff, a lift or a favoring current only to be met with little wind and oily seas.  Patriot’s winning time of 1 hour 22 minutes for a race of about 2 miles windward, leeward does not fairly represent the lively sailing qualities of the Alerion Express 28.

Midway through the drifting match, Garth Hichens of Annapolis Yacht Sales arrived on the course in his outboard runabout and, with a borrowed camera, took some of the great pictures featured here.  AYS and Chalk Point Marine helped sponsor the event; many thanks to them for their support.

By unanimous consent (and an unspoken desire to find the shade of an oak tree and the coolness of a beverage), the regatta was ended after the one and only race.  Most of the participants motored back to Chalk Point.  Renee was waiting for us with plenty of iced drinks and snack trays.  Casey was declared winner of the perpetual trophy for 2009 by the Race Chairman and additional prizes, donated by Annapolis Yacht Sales, were distributed to all the participants.

Some of the Alerion owners and guests crossed the river to enjoy the West/Rhode Riverkeepers’  Festival, a dinner, cocktails, live music, silent auction, door prizes event on the grounds of Hartge Yacht Harbor.  Bob Gallagher, a prior owner of an Alerion and Executive Director of the Riverkeepers organization, was our host.  As best we can recall, a good time was had by all, capping a fun filled, if windless, day on the West River.  Plan to join us for the next Rendezvous and put your AE28’s name on the perpetual trophy.

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