GALESVILLE MD - Connie Berchem and crew Teri Fosmire (Asheville, NC) overcame light and shifty conditions today on the Chesapeake to take the 1-race Jet-14 Women National Championships. Sailing in their recently acquired #1128, Berchem and Fosmire kept just enough momentum in the final leg to edge out Madison Porter/Nicky Einthoven (Lake Norman Yacht Club / Hunterdon Sailing Club). It's Berchem and Fosmire's first National Championship.
The five boat fleet struggled to get to the race course on time as the promising morning breeze quickly laid down. With a few seconds to go to the starting gun, Paula Hennon and crew Paula Pacheco (Asheville Sailing Club, Lake Norman Yacht Club) found themselves too close to the pin and had to circle back in 2 kt of wind. Porter/Einthoven found a nice left shift and started on port tack, finding some decent breeze and taking the early lead. But as most boats discovered at one time or another, there were many holes to be found and the lead changed several times up the first beat.
Local sailors Laury Parramore and Johanna, sailing the "Yankee Maid" (#1145), found enough wind on the downwind leg to pull within 40 yards of victory when a large hole developed, stopping them in their tracks and even sending them backwards. Hennon and Pacecho were looking for the wind to fill from the right to take them to the boat end of the line but it was not to be. That left Berchem/Fosmire and Porter/Einthoven to finish for the championship.
Unfortunately, any further racing was cancelled because of the light air and the boats were towed back in to West River Sailing Club. The Jet-14 Open Nationals begins Friday with 22 boats registered so far.