Prospector, a Mills 68, blasts downwind past Beavertail Lighthouse approaching Newport. Photo: Will Keyworth

Local Sailors Finish Fast in Annapolis-to-Newport Race

The 38th Annapolis-to-Newport (A2N) offshore sailing race, which brings big, beautiful race boats to Annapolis Yacht Club biennially, was one to remember. It was the first time in A2N for the overall ORC winning boat, Dream Crusher, owned by a husband and wife and crewed by their two sons, among others.

Dream Crusher lived up to its name, finishing third in elapsed time but winning on corrected time. The Kernan 47 took the class with a corrected time of 3 days, 9 hours, 41 minutes, and 44 seconds. Owners Devin and Shannon McGranahan’s 13-member crew included Devin’s college roommate as well as the couple’s two sons, Lachlain and Declan, who sail at Boston College and Harvard University, respectively.

“We run a program that is first and foremost about spending time with our family and friends,” Devin said. “Obviously, this result is absolutely fantastic for a family-based program such as this.”

Dream Crusher‘s racing crew is a true family affair. Photo courtesy of Annapolis Yacht Club

Prospector, a Mills 68 posted the fastest elapsed time on the 475-nautical mile course: 2 days, 1 hour, 21 minutes and 42 seconds. Prospector easily captured line honors among the Saturday race starters when it finished off Castle Hill Lighthouse Monday at 12:26 p.m.

It felt good to be first for Prospector, who almost broke the A2N course record at its last running in 2019. That year, the boat exited the Chesapeake Bay in under eight hours and found good conditions in the Atlantic Ocean. But that good run came to an end about 30 miles offshore, when they were dismasted in 20–25 knot winds and eight foot seas.

“We had a great race going two years ago and were disappointed we weren’t able to break the record,” said Paul McDowell, one of four owners of Prospector. “We felt like we had unfinished business in this race.”

While conditions weren’t ripe for a record-breaker in 2021, owners McDowell (primary helmsman), Larry Landry (navigator), and Marty Roesch (watch captain), who is an Annapolis Yacht Club member, say they had “champagne sailing” from start to finish thanks to pleasant weather conditions, consulting with a meteorologist along the way. Captain Terry Glackin says Prospector reveled in the 12–14 knot breeze in the Chesapeake. And on approach to Newport, boat speed hit 18 knots. But when handicaps were computed, the win in ORC 1 wasn’t to be.

Among the Friday starters, a 62-footer with a familiar name crossed the finish line first. Chessie Racing, owned by the main funder of the Chessie Racing campaign for the 1987-88 Whitbread Round the World Race, finished in 2 days, 6 hours, 27 minutes and 37 seconds. The owner of the Tripp 62, George Collins, had a team of mostly professionals aboard.

Chessie Racing started among 61 boats in six classes Friday morning, in 4–6 knots. The team was first to benefit when the breeze kicked in just past Cove Point, pulling away from the competiton. They eventually won PHRF 1 class with a corrected time of 3:04:57:09.

The Naval Academy Varsity Offshore Sailing team kicked off its summer training at A2N and entered five boats: the 44-footers Integrity and Defiance started Friday, and Farr 40-footers Ranger and Zephyr, along with J/133 Wasp started Saturday. The pandemic had cost the team its 2020 season, and Coach Jahn Tihansky was eager to give the sailors blue water experience.

“Getting there safe is always the number one goal. Given the overall lack of experience, I think the expectation to win is not really applicable in this scenario,” Tihansky said.

Meg Walburn Viviano