'While this is the fifth year for this regatta, we followed the trend and switched from IMS to IRC this year. The net effect has been an increase in fleet size to 43 boats - the most ever - and tighter rating bands. We are looking for the best regatta, yet,' said Bill KARDASH, Regatta Chairman.
The fleet is divided into four classes: Beneteau 36.7, Swan 45, IRC 1 for boats 45-59 feet long and IRC 2 for boats less than 45 feet in length.
In the Beneteau 36.7 class, Art SILCOX (USA) and his recently purchased boat KA'IO, which won the 2004 Mid-Atlantic championship, expects a challenge in the 14 boat fleet. 'It should be a great series with great competition among the equal one designs,' said SILCOX. The fleet includes James KEEN (USA) and Foxtrot Corpen, Seahorse, owned by Garth HITCHENS (USA), Amritha, chartered by Don FINKLE (USA) and Zingara, owned by Richard REID (CAN).
In the IRC 1 class, seven boats - all standouts on Chesapeake Bay - are registered, including two TP52s: Fred DETWEILER's (USA) Trader and Tom STARK's (USA) Rush, along with Yellow Jacket, the Farr 53 entered by the Larry BULMAN, Jeff SCHOLZ and Mike WINSTON (USA) syndicate.
The largest class is the IRC 2 with 14 entries, which includes Blockade Runner, the Mumm 30 owned by Bruce BINGMAN (USA). As a local IRC measurer, BINGMAN summarized the fleet, 'This will be the first time that we have a dedicated three day regatta held under IRC. The class ranges from Promises, a Tripp 38 [rating 1.055] owned by Larry and Anne KUMINS, to Upgrade, a Farr 395 [rating 1.098] owned by Peter and Debbie GIBBONS-NEFF. This represents a tight grouping of over ten boats with a rating difference of only about two minutes per hour of sailing. Thus I would expect to see almost one design type tactics in the fleet. As always, Storm Trysail will present an excellent event and we are looking forward toward an enjoyable and exciting weekend of racing.'
In the small, but competitive Swan 45 class, eight entries will compete with an eye toward preparation for the upcoming Swan 45 World Championship Gold Cup at Key West in January. 'I expect the competition to be as close as it was at the Swan Americans as all of the boats have been sailing hard since that event. I look forward to the competition,' said VIM owner Craig SPECK (USA).
At the awards ceremony following Sunday's last race, the IRC East Coast Championship Perpetual Trophy will be awarded to the yacht competing in the distance race and the windward/leeward race(s), with the best overall performance in the IRC fleet. Keeper trophies will be awarded to the top three boats in each division. The top Beneteau 36.7 will be named 2005 Mid-Atlantic Champion.