Chasing the Sun with BCYA
Three years ago, the team I race with decided we should toss off our gloves, turn up the yacht rock, and properly celebrate the longest day of the year as many others do with a summer solstice cruise.
We’ve enjoyed our tradition so much that we wanted all of our fellow sailors to realize how special the beginning of summer is—and what better way than with a race! We got a few other members of our club onboard with the idea, and so was born the Baltimore City Yacht Association’s first annual BCYA Summer Sailstice June 22.
Envisioned as a race into the sunset, 10 boats rendezvoused off of historic Ft. McHenry at 6:15 p.m. for this inaugural event. After a combined fleet start, we embarked on a 22-nautical-mile course out into the Bay, rounded Craig Hill Lighthouse, and made our way back to Baltimore’s beautiful Inner Harbor. The finish line was right off of Anchorage Marina, which hosted a spectacular midnight breakfast for all who raced, complete with mimosas and warm croissants.
Although our sunset was obscured by heavy cloud cover, sustained winds of 18-22 knots (with gusts over 30) ensured that this race would be one to remember. The predicted rainfall held off for the most part, but the north-northeast wind direction gave the course a long reaching leg, and plenty of waves breaking over our bows meant a wet and wild ride for many racers—particularly for us bowmen who tend to get that lucky first spot on the rail.
After rounding Craig Hill Lighthouse, most boats were able to carry a spinnaker all the way up until the Key Bridge, while the aforementioned gusts kept us all on the edge of our seats as we did.
Racing with BCYA is always a fantastic experience, and the Summer Sailstice was no exception. A welcoming atmosphere, an expertly run race, and a great after-party always keep me coming back.
"You will find a specific reference to ‘Corinthian spirit’ in our bylaws” noted former Commodore Cliff Hardwick, who served as a RC volunteer for this first Summer Sailstice. Cliff also pointed out that with this new race there are plenty of similarities to the early days of BCYA’s Race to Baltimore and Harbor Cup. Both races have grown from a steady foundation to regularly draw over 50 boats from all around the Bay.
“Boats are meant to be sailed—we had a lot of fun and can’t wait to see more competition,” stated Chris Korpman, who raced PHRF A aboard Monkey Business and was also instrumental in organizing the event.
BCYA’s Summer Sailstice has become one of my new favorites, and I hope many of you will join next year so it can become one of yours, too! ~ By Adam Podbielski
BCYA Sailstice Race Class Winners
PHRF A ›› Monkey Business, Jonathan Pollak
PHRF B ›› Project Mayhem, Ian Craig
Cruising ›› Mangas, Mark James
Want to do your own Summer Sailstice adventure in 2019? Click here to the Summer Sailstice website to learn more.