Sled Shelhorse secures Hampton Yacht Membership Down the Bay Race Line Honors
by Invoice Wagner 7 Jun 16:50 UTC
From Could 28, 2021
Meridian XI, a Carkeek 40 owned by William “Sled” Shelhorse, captured line honors for the 71st Down the Bay Race. © Invoice Wagner
Not many skippers have performed the Down the Bay Race as usually as William “Sled” Shelhorse.
The legendary southern bay sailor accomplished the Chesapeake traditional for the 36 time over Memorial Day weekend. Shelhorse has captured class honors on many events over the previous 4 a long time, however one objective has eluded him.
That field has now lastly been checked.
Shelhorse and his veteran crew aboard Meridian X1 captured line honors throughout the 71st Down the Bay Race for the Virginia Cruising Cup. The Virginia Seashore resident steered the Carkeek 40 throughout the road at 12:06 on Saturday morning to beat Rival in an epic battle to be first to complete.
It was an accomplishment Shelhorse has searched for a while and he is had boats succesful prior to now. He is owned a Holland 42, Tripp 41, Farr 36 and Farr 400 that have been all among the many quickest boats within the fleet for Down the Bay.
“Sadly, there has all the time been one larger boat that bought line honors,” Shelhorse mentioned.
This time round, Shelhorse had the scratch boat and his top-notch crew sailed her to full potential in finishing the 120-nautical mile race, which begins at R2 off Annapolis and finishes at Fort Monroe off Hampton. Meridian XI accomplished the course with an elapsed time of 14 hours, 1 minute and 33 seconds – 33 minutes forward of Rival.
“It means an terrible lot as a result of we have been chasing it for thus lengthy,” Shelhorse mentioned of taking line honors. “All credit score to my crew, which is first-class. We encountered some excessive situations they usually by no means blinked.”
Veteran Quantum skilled Dave Flynn, who served as tactician and mainsail trimmer aboard Meridian X1, credited the opposite Carkeek 40 Rival for pushing its sister ship the entire manner. Skipper Bob Cantwell and crew sailed in proximity to Meridian X1 nearly the entire manner.
“These two boats are very evenly matched, and it was good to have one other competitor to tempo towards,” Flynn mentioned. “We had an extended, knockdown, drag-out combat with Rival the entire manner.”
Turning level within the match race got here round sundown on Friday night when a significant squall blew via, bringing winds of 35 to 40 knots. Flynn mentioned Meridian XI and Rival have been about 15 miles from Wolf Entice Mild on the time.
“It was survival situations for a couple of half hour. We had water breaking over the boat and have been getting blasted with enormous sheets of spray,” he mentioned.
Shelhorse was amazed the crew stored the boat transferring towards the end all through the highly effective squall. “We by no means misplaced management of the boat, by no means rounded up. We stored crusing quick and straight,” mentioned Shelhorse, noting the Carkeek 40 was doing 20 knots of pace whereas beneath reefed essential and genoa.
Meridian XI had been forward of Rival by roughly six minutes at Smith Level, which is just about the halfway mark of the race. “After the squall went via and issues calmed down, we might now not see Rival,” Flynn mentioned. “We put a couple of half hour on Rival throughout the storm.”
Boat captain Will Van Cleef, headsail trimmer Maxwell Plarr and bowman Greg Gendell have been the opposite skilled on Meridian XI together with Flynn. The 73-year-old Shelhorse has turned helmsman duties over to his son Graham Garrenton, whom he praised for “doing an excellent job.”
Michael Collins (pit), Jeremiah Boring (spinnaker trimmer), Mark Stephens (floater) and Harold Warren (runners) accomplished the crew, which loved cheeseburgers and chilly beer after arriving at host Hampton Yacht Membership.
“This race has all the time been a favourite of Sled’s and Hampton is his dwelling membership, so all of us knew this meant quite a bit to him,” Flynn mentioned.
Shelhorse took Meridian XI to Florida over the winter and did the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race, the Palm Seashore Race and the Nassau Race.
“We logged a couple of thousand miles this winter and realized an incredible quantity in regards to the boat,” Shelhorse mentioned. “It is a refined, difficult boat and we lastly have it discovered and dialed in. We’re simply going so a lot better than we have been earlier than.”
Meridian XI additionally corrected to first place within the 11-boat ORC class over Rival, to which it owes time when handicaps are figured in. For Shelhorse, ending first and securing the general fleet victory within the Down the Bay Race ranks alongside his 1992 victory within the prestigious Lloyd Phoenix Regatta as the highest accomplishments in his lengthy crusing profession.
“I’ve all the time liked this race as a result of it is such an incredible problem coming down the Chesapeake Bay. Each time is a bit of totally different,” Shelhorse mentioned. “One factor we have realized is that it’s a must to defend the west aspect of the course.”
This win was particularly candy contemplating he has been battling Parkinson’s Illness. That debilitating sickness hasn’t appeared to gradual the grizzled sailor, whom Flynn described as “one powerful dude.”
“My objective is to survive Parkinson’s,” Shelhorse mentioned matter-of-factly. “Every thing is more durable to do than it was, and I lose my steadiness on the boat typically, however I like crusing manner an excessive amount of to provide it up. It is my one launch.”
Skipper Scott “Gus” Ward and the Crocodile crew captured the PHRF Spinnaker class, which attracted 18 entries. The Beneteau First 50 completed fifth throughout the road and corrected to twenty hours, 29 minutes and 37 seconds – nearly three hours forward of the runner-up in PHRF.
That efficiency earned Ward the Virginia Cruising Cup for the second time in his profession. He beforehand was introduced with the cup in 2013 when he was racing a Beneteau 40.7. This was the Solomons resident’s first Down the Bay win with the present Crocodile, which he purchased in 2016.
“I am completely ecstatic. This is among the true traditional races on the Chesapeake, so it is all the time an honor to win. My crew did a implausible job,” Ward mentioned.
Shane Morast was navigator whereas Steve Cohan was the leeward helmsman. Pancho Gonzales (essential), Aaron Seligson (headsails) and Stephanie Caldwell have been the trimmers. Rounding out the crew have been Ted Williams (grinder), Jackie Rolleri (pit), Hawk Caldwell and Phil Weiser (floaters).
Storm Trysail Membership-Chesapeake Station began the Down the Bay Race at 10 a.m. on Friday morning in 7 to 12 knot easterly winds. Crocodile reached down the Jap Shore aspect of the bay all the best way to Cove Level, sticking to the rhumb line as a lot as potential. After getting hit by squalls at Smith Level, Crocodile confronted 16 to twenty knots on the nostril the remainder of the best way.
“We had the present towards us the whole race,” Ward mentioned.
Ward makes use of the Down the Bay Race to arrange the boat and crew for the Annapolis-to-Newport Race. He is put in a curler furler system that permits that makes altering sails a lot quicker and easier.
“We will modify and alter gears extra shortly as a result of we need not drop sails,” Ward mentioned.
Unhealthy Cat, a J/111 skippered by James Whited, was the winner of the Chesapeake Racer-Cruiser Affiliation class, which was contested beneath the ORRez score system. Whited, who did his personal navigation, solely had a crew of three with Robert Herbig sharing steering duties and dealing the pit, Rob Miller working the foredeck and Eric Andreas trimming.
“We have been a bit gentle and started to tire shortly after Smith Level,” Whited admitted. “One in all our crew was so exhausted he wanted to go under for some time to get better.
Battling via squalls and heavy air challenged the short-handed crew and at one level Whited determined to hove-to for about 5 minutes to examine the boat’s place and the wind situations.
“I’ve solely performed that after earlier than in a race, but it surely was a break we wanted and allowed us to get a bit of additional west earlier than the winds dropped into the kids and we had a beat to Hampton,” he mentioned.
Unhealthy Cat posted a corrected time of 20 hours, 4 minutes and 48 seconds nearly three hours higher than CRCA runner-up Wind Dancer (C&C 37, Paul Clifford).
“I believe the keys for us have been the paths we took across the first rain squalls then the reefing down earlier than the frontal passage,” mentioned Whited, a Solomons resident. “We actually had a wild experience after the entrance handed however we have been going instantly down the course and have been beneath management.”
Skipper Greg Cutter was victorious in CHESS, which stands for Chesapeake Shorthanded Society. He and crew Benedikt Zihlmann wanted solely to complete as the opposite two boats within the class dropped out.
“We survived and received with none competitors,” Cutter mentioned. “We had loads of alternatives to drop out however stored pushing as an alternative.”
Cutter has now accomplished the Down the Bay Race 20 time since 1986 and referred to as this 12 months’s one of many hardest. He and Zihlmann needed to reef the primary 5 instances, carry out six headsail adjustments in addition to 5 spinnaker units and douses. They have been becalmed a number of instances throughout the race and completed in 28 hours, 21 minutes.
“I’d say the abstract was an excessive amount of or too little wind,” mentioned Cutter, noting that Diablo was becalmed off the Potomac and Nice Wicomico rivers in addition to in Mobjack Bay. “I’d guess we had about 5 hours of zero wind – on the Potomac, the Nice Wicomico and Mobjack Bay. We have been simply spinning round in circles.”
Cutter and Zihlmann motivated themselves to maintain the Andrews 28 transferring by setting a objective of beating as many crewed boats as potential. “We modified the sport,” mentioned Cutter, who received the Doublehanded Class throughout the 2017 Down the Bay.