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Sailing - New England - January

Close finish at IRC East Coast championship

After three days and six races, just three seconds separated Stephen Murray Jr.’s TP 52 Decision IV from Mike Williamson’s King 40 White Heat in the battle to claim the overall title at the 2009 IRC East Coast championship. Thirty-eight yachts raced in five classes at the event, held Oct. 30-Nov. 1, with overall results calculated on average corrected speed for each of the class winners for the entire regatta.

Decision IV, of New Orleans, sailed in IRC Class 1 while White Heat of New Castle, N.H., sailed in IRC Class 3.

“This is a very prestigious regatta, with great race management and top-notch competition,” says Murray, who also raced in the 2007 IRC East Coast championship. “We really wanted to make the commitment to win it. We came to Annapolis a month before this regatta so we could race locally, tune the boat and improve our performance. I’m happy to say that effort paid off.”

This marked the ninth year that the East Coast championship was organized by the Storm Trysail Club’s Chesapeake Station and the fifth year it was run under the IRC rule. The Storm Trysail Club has long been a strong advocate for IRC racing in the United States.

Conditions ranged from 7 to 23 knots during the three days of racing, with light rain leading ahead of a cold front on Sunday. In Class 1 the standings couldn’t have been tighter with Decision IV scoring 17.5 points vs. 18 points posted by the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy’s STP 65 Vanquish; third place went to Richard Oland’s Southern Cross 52 Vela Veloce from Canada, which amassed 24 points.

Class 2 featured a one-design start for six Farr 40s. Matt Beer’s Sundance from Washington, D.C., won the class over Preben Ostberg/Todd Olds/Bud Dailey’s Tsunami from Annapolis, Md.; third place went to Kevin McNeil’s Night Shift, also from Annapolis. Racing was very close, with four of the six boats winning at least one race each.

Class 3 was won by Williamson’s White Heat on the strength of three bullets in six races; second place went to David Murphy’s J/122 Pugwash from Westport, Conn., followed by Marc Glimcher’s J/122 Catapult from New York City.

In Class 4, the Annapolis boats made a sweep of the event with Ed and Molly Freitag’s Beneteau 40.7 Down Time winning the class, followed by Bill Sweetser’s J/109 Rush. This broke Sweetser’s multiyear dynasty in the class, while third place went to Jason Mazzoni’s Navy 44 Swift.

Class 5 held a one-design start for seven Beneteau 36.7s, with Peter Firey’s Pegasus from Vienna, Va., narrowly defeating Jim Keen’s Foxtrot Corpen from Solomons, Md., and Don Finkle’s KA’IO from Youngstown, N.Y., coming in third.

This article originally appeared in the New England Home Waters Section of the January 2010 issue.