Starting around 5:15pm on a Wednesday night, almost everyone walking on the street within a half mile radius of the Annapolis Yacht Club is either wearing or carrying sailing gear. That”s because AYC”s Wednesday Night Racing is the big deal racing night here in Annapolis with about 125 boats registered to race.
(FWIW – Arguements can be made that Thursday Night J/22, J/24 and J/80 racing is better; Friday Night Beer Cans at Eastport Yacht Club is pretty “relaxing” too…).
Fun fact for me: the inspiration for AYC starting up Wednesday Night Racing came from my home yacht club back in Rhode Island. After seeing the Wednesday Night Races at East Greenwich Yacht Club in Rhode Island in 1958, Past Commodore Gaither Scott inaugurated midweek racing at the Annapolis Yacht Club in 1959.
Wednesday Night Racing at EGYC was where I learned how to sail on larger keelboats, getting my first shot on the bow of a J/34. That was a heck of a boat to learn on — no room for error downwind with an “eclectic” crew that always made it fun.
Anyways, one of the cool parts of Wednesday Night Racing is that everyone has to finish in front of AYC; this brings you up a relatively narrow creek that has a drawbridge at the end (see aerial view to right — sadly, the water is actually pretty clean in that satellite photo). It occasionally get pretty hairy, especially on nights where you can carry a kite to the finish or when there”s big breeze. The creek is also where huge gains or losses can be made — many races have been lost coming up to the finish because of the fickle winds and close quarters.
With the finish so close to the bridge, Annapolitan”s rountinely line up to watch the finish of the races, as James and one of his friends recently did. While they were standing there, Christina made a time-lapse video of the finish line and we thought we”d share with everyone on the Stern Scoop today: