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Sails on the Rappahannock: Turkey Shoot Regatta

Local sailor advances to national event

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Click the image above to watch the audio slideshow for the 2009 Hospice Turkey Shoot Regatta.
As the 14th annual Hospice Turkey Shoot Regatta got under way this past weekend, hundreds of turkeys along the Rappahannock River took to the air and flew inland, apparently fearful of being shot or sensing that Thanksgiving was just around the corner, according to race official Allan Young, tongue firmly in cheek. 

Young noted that this year’s event drew a record-breaking fleet of 141 boats from as far north as Nyack, N.Y., and southward to Lexington, S.C. 

Local competitors included 16 boats from Irvington, 15 from Lancaster, 13 from Richmond, and 10 from White Stone with the balance scattered throughout the Chesapeake and Northern Neck sailing areas.

Bob Fleck and Frank Murphy were overall division winners. Their names will be engraved on the Virginia Spirit Hospice Cup.

Both boats and sailors found Saturday’s conditions challenging with winds from 13 to 20 knots and higher gusts. Several boats withdrew with equipment failures.

The pursuit race Sunday was sailed in light winds. The slower boats, which started first, lost their advantage when the wind dropped to zero early in the race. Because of the light air only 10 boats managed to completed the course before time expired at 4 p.m.

“Desparado,” owned by Ric Bower of Aylett, won the Most Beautiful Boat Trophy. The winner was selected by vote of the sailors attending the awards ceremony Sunday.

The Wobbly Compass Trophy, sponsored by the Riverside Health System, was not awarded because none of the wooden boats crossed the finish line in the Sunday pursuit race. Reg Mason won the Riverside Health System Trophy for boats with Riverside staff members aboard.

As winner of the Lightning Division, Bob Fleck of Hardyville won the right to represent the Turkey Shoot in the National Hospice Regatta in spring 2010 in Rochester, N.Y. He will compete against winners from all 30 local Hospice Regattas held around the nation.

The regatta is a major source of funds for Hospice Support Services of the Northern Neck Inc. The other sponsoring Hospices are the Riverside Hospice Agencies of Tappahannock and Gloucester.

The top fund-raising boat was crewed by Christel Earles, Ann Rubio and Anita White of Riverside Hospices, and was skippered by Julie Austin of Merrypoint. The boat was loaned by Premier Sailing. The crew raised over $3,000 from co-workers and friends.

The 140 boats registered surpassed the previous record of 130 boats. The top boats and skippers (in order) in each division are as follows:

Lightning Division (Fleets A and B) — Horizon, Bob Fleck; Midnight Rider, John Haracivet; Don’t Be Blue, David Alexander.
Flying Cloud Division (Fleets C to L) — Last Boat III, Frank Murphy; What Boat, Woody Morris; Salute, Peter Knight.
Top fund-raising boat — Riverside Hospice, Frenzy; Jim Charbeneau, Mrs. C; Charles Costello, On Eagle’s Wings.
Most Beautiful Boat — Ric Bauer, Desparado.

  • Fleet A—Midnight Rider, John Haracivet; Neried, Eric Powers; Battle Wagon, Paul Cross.
  • Fleet B—Horizon, Bob Fleck; Don’t Be Blue, David Alexander; Play It Again, Sam Marshall.
  • Fleet C—Salute, Peter Knight; Osprey, Steve Bland; None, Charles Sink.
  • Fleet D—Desparado, Ric Bauer; Trilogy, Wayland Rennie; Elixir, Joran Gendell.
  • Fleet E—Country Woman, Norman Faulkner; Windblown III, Carol Woodward; Joie de Vie, Russ Seltzer.
  • Fleet F—What Boat, Woody Morris; Poe Bird, Lee Williams; Eroica, Randy Alderks.
  • Fleet G—Avalon II, Helen Quinby; Curlew III, Deidre Tyson-McSweeney; Grey Seal, Mark Giegel.
  • Fleet H—Last Boat III, Frank Murphy; Hilda, Bill Morgan; Quest, Richard Hazelgrove.
  • Fleet I—Packer Tacker, Chuck Thompson; Scuba Kat, Mike Chesser; Sundancer, Steve Shaw.
  • Fleet J—Pleiades, Irvin Blake; Petite Amie, Sam Nuckols/Tim Fitzpatrick; Prudence, Robert Montague.
  • Fleet K—Charlotte Amelia, Barr Brooks; Sea Bird, Wiley Wright; Wayward Wind, David Herndon.
  • Fleet L—Dea Latis, Jim Bearden; Cream Puff, Chuck Carmichael; Ladybug, Ned Crockett.
posted 10.14.2009

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