help_outline Skip to main content
Shopping Cart
Rappahannock River Yacht Club
37 39 24 N, 76 26 07 W

News / Articles

RRYC Racing Season Kicks Off With Singlehanded Regatta

Tom Chapman  | Published on 6/15/2020

Racers have been anxious to get back on the water and eight PHRF boats and four Typhoons showed up to race on Saturday June 6. Our largest Singlehanded regatta ever! With our social distancing issue Singlehanded racing was a great way to start. 

To keep race committee requirements to a minimum PHRF Fleet Commander Glenn Solt and Vice Commodore Ian Ormesher decided to use only a starting pin and government marks for the racecourse.

Saturday morning as the RC gathered at the Club porch the weather forecast did not look good… five knots from the West going to 2-3 about the time of the planned 1pm start, sunny and over 90 degrees.   PRO Hal Starke made the decision to give it a go and hope for the best.  Using R6 off Towles Point and R2 at the mouth of the Corrotoman as the course marks, Commodore Kuper suggested rounding marks to starboard to have the opportunity for a windward first leg.  The first leg was set as 1.9 NM with the second leg 2.25 NM and the third 1.9NM for a total of 6.05NM.

Hal Starke and Lisa Watlington headed out to the racecourse in Doug Power with Marshal Orr and Paul Neumann supplying the pin, safety and photography boat.  Gary Hooper also manned another safety boat while Commodore Daniel Kuper manned another safety boat and TyToo tender.


PRO Hal Starke Jr and Scorer Lisa Watlington Heading Out

At the start the wind was holding up nicely with 5-7 kts from the WNW.  George Kuper in Ty Too got the best start in the Typhoon fleet and everyone headed out on the favored starboard tack which almost fetched the mark. Lew Thatcher in his Catalina 320, Catitude won a close start in the PHRF fleet over Tom Richardson in his Flying Scot, Goshawk with Tom Chapman in his J-24 Hot Air close behind. 


John Congdon in Mad Cow when there was still breeze,  on right Burke Johnson in Starry Vere and  Mad Cow


As the boats headed up the first leg the wind held up pretty well for the first half but then started to lighten and get patchy.  As the wind got patchy it started to back and die on the left side of the river, so a lot of the fleet tacked to port to keep in the wind.  More than halfway up the leg George Kuper in TyToo still had the lead with John Congdon in his new Ty, Mad Cow about to overtake followed by Gregg Shivers in Ca’ Va and Shawn Thaxter in Orion having shifted to a port tack. John Congdon tacked to join others searching more wind on the north side of the river. In post-race discussion, George said he stayed on his starboard tack seeking the new (never occurring) SW wind return and drifted into a wind hole a thousand feet short of the windward mark which he never achieved.  George did mention that at least on Starboard tack he stayed in the shade.

In the PHRF fleet halfway up the leg, Hot Air had taken over the lead, but Glenn Solt in his Alerion 28 Freedom was within 20 seconds.  Unfortunately, Freedom tacked to port in the hopes of more wind while Hot Air continued on starboard as it was still favored tack and with some wind.


At the windward mark rounding the wind was very patch, with almost no wind on the South side of the mark meaning you had to come abeam of the mark and tack back to starboard in the hopes of keeping your boat speed up as you rounded. Although current was supposed to be slack as Hot Air approached the, there was already a better than 0.5 kts ebbing current that would attempt to take you into the mark as you rounded.  Hot Air rounded first with a nice lead. As the wind kept getting patchier and the ebbing current kept growing rounding the weather mark become the Waterloo for many of the competing Napoleons.  Freedom was second to round the mark with Mad Cow the first Typhoon. 

hot air
Hot Air Rounding the Weather Mark  Ian Ormesher and Shawn Thaxter Rounding


Seeing the writing on the wall, PRO Hal Starke decided to shorten the course and headed up to R2 for the finish. Even after the course shortening, a frustrating time in the hot, sunny weather and languishing at the weather mark, calls to the RC for withdraw of some boats started coming in.

Tom Ri
Tom Richardson in Goshawk and Lew Thatcher in Catitude heading for the finish line.  


First across the line was Hot Air followed by Freedom a number of minutes later and the very well sailed Mad Cow next.  Goshawk battled Catitude for the next boat across the line finishing only 3 seconds behind Catitude but correcting for a significant advantage. Complete results are below.


Congratulations to the most intrepid racer, Jesse Swartz who raced his J-30 singlehanded for the first time and finished.


Awards were presented on the Club porch after the race and all participants thanked PRO Hal Starke and his RC of Lisa Watlington, Marshall Orr, Paul Neumann, Gary Hooper and Commodore Kuper for giving them the opportunity to kick off the racing season. 








PHRF Fleet




Hot Air

Chapman, Tom




Solt, Glenn

Alerion 28



Richardson, Tom

Flying Scott



Thatcher, Lew

Catalina 320


Starry Vere

Johnson, Burke

Flying Scott



Ormesher, Ian

Gloucester 22


Irrational Exuberance

Swartz, Jesse





Catalina 30


Typhoon Fleet

Mad Cow

Congdon, John




Thaxter, Shawn



Ty Too

Kuper, George



Ca' Va

Shivers, Greg