Chesapeake Bay Skipjack

9/24/17: Ida May wins the 2017 Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race

The Ida May has pulled off the double crown of Skipjack racing by winning the 2017 Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race today, having already won the Labor Day race off Deal Island.  Wow! We are ecstatic and so proud of the Captain, Shawn Ridgley, and his first mate, Michael Oh.  The race was tight from the start with boats jockeying for prime position.  We were sandwiched between the Rosie Parks on our starboard and the Lady Katie on our port.  These boats were so close to us that I could've jumped on either of her decks.... if I was a pirate.   It was a nerve-racking experience but we had full confidence in Capt. Shawn.  Once we cleared that danger and crossed the starting line cleanly, the Rosie Parks unexpectedly tacked and her bow sprit hit the back of our boom and momentarily caught our mainsail.  Luckily we freed ourselves without damage, but we easily could've torn our sail to shreds and been tangled with the Rosie very near the wharf and lighthouse in Cambridge.  That would not have been good, to say the least.  We emerged from the scrum in first place and led the entire way.  The Rebecca Ruark was our only competition and she almost caught us on the #21 buoy reach.  Capt. Murphy of the Rebecca Ruark was attempting to make the buoy without having to tack.  He was on a beeline for the buoy, and he had to really pinch it to try to make it.  He had to close haul his sails in order to make for the direction of the #21 buoy, and for a moment, we thought he was going to be able to do it, but at the last minute, he was forced to tack behind us.  We passed the last buoy and headed for home.  The Rebecca was close behind us and we thought sure she was going to haul us down, but amazingly, we put distance between us and her and finished the race well in front.  The weather conditions were perfect for us today.  Light and steady.  We are a light boat that responds well to light conditions.  The heavy boats, like the Kathryn and the Rebecca Ruark, do better in the stronger winds and waves.  We had a wonderful time and the owners, Gordon and Elbert, were overjoyed at their good fortune.  We felt like we redeemed ourselves for the capsizing of 2013.

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Tags: cambridge, choptank, deal, heritage, ida, island, maryland, may, race, river, More…sailing, skipjack


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