The Annual Don Backe Memorial CRAB Regatta on Saturday, June 15th was one of the best in memory with strong winds, sunny skies and the new Annapolis Yacht Club Sailing Center serving as the venue. Peter Gordon, Principal Race Office of the Race Committee stated, “In the decades the AYC has hosted and organized the Don Backe Regatta, we have not seen a more competitive group of sailors and exciting racing in Annapolis.”
This year’s top finisher was Jay Streit, a disabled veteran from Severn, who started sailing three years ago with CRAB. With 4 bullets and a 2nd place, Team Jay with his girlfriend Dee Perry, Paul Van Cleve on jib, and Amanda Salvesen on mainsheet swept the fleet off the race course only letting up on the last of five races. One of Team Jay’s first-place finishes included an over the line call at the start and the necessary return to start again before lapping the fleet. Scoring a 6.00 in five races.
The other top racers bringing home AYC silver were: Second place – Kevin Detwiler of Leonardtown with Maude Laurence and Jim Hayes alternating on jib, and mainsheet handled by AYC tactician Allan Wilkins. Scoring 12.00.
Third place went to John Tarrant, of Arlington, VA, was joined by Dan Pendergast on jib and AYC tactician Scott Gitchell on mainsheet. Scoring 14.00
The CRAB skippers finishing in 4th, 5th, and 6th were Rob Klein of St. Petersburg, FL; Julia Dorsett, West Chester, PA; and, Tom Ostrye, of Severna Park.
Prior to the AYC awards ceremony, Maryland Department of Disabilities Secretary Carol Beatty presented a proclamation to CRAB from Governor Larry Hogan declaring June 2019 as Adaptive Boating month in the state. The proclamation’ final whereas states, “CRAB is seeking to create a premier Adaptive Boating Center in Annapolis to expand its operations and greatly increase the number of special guests it serves without limitations on operations or boating.” Secretary Beatty said, “Both Dept. of Veterans Affairs Secretary George Ownings and I are huge CRAB supporters and look forward to having the Adaptive Boating Center serving more veterans and citizens with disabilities in 2020.”
The regatta was started in 1999 by members of the AYC and Don Backe, founder of Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating. From its humble beginnings serving as a qualifying race for the national disabilities sailing regatta, it has evolved into a strong joint-venture with the AYC Race Committee and J-boat tacticians sailing with CRAB’s skippers with disabilities. The teamwork that is required and exhibited makes for very competitive racing, particularly with winds in the 12-18 knot range on Beneteau First 22A’s (A for adaptive).