Monday, Aug. 17, 1998
Virginia Beach sailor wins duel on water
By Sarah Sue Ingram
NORFOLK - The final day of the Mobjack International
Championship Regatta turned into a tale of two gunslingers. And when it
ended Sunday, Virginia Beach's Trey Smith got to be Matt Dillon.
Going by his alias instead of his real name Charles Smith III, Trey
and his crew, Jordan Wintringham, got off to a great start on the Olympic
course in Willoughby Bay. But as he rounded the last leg of the six-legged race,
skipper Rob Whittemore from Richmond drew his gun.
A tacking duel ensued with Whittemore turning starboard
and then Smith turning starboard, Whittemore turning port and Smith turning
point. All the Virginia Beach man had to do was keep his yellow boat between
Whittemore's red boat and the finish line. And he did it to become the 1998
"It was an intense race with him right on our heels," Smith said. "He's
good sailor, and he was the boat we had to beat."
Whittemore said, "We were close but not close enough. We tried a bunch
different strategies. We tried to out-tack him and then we tried for boat speed. At least
we gave them a run for their money."
His father, Case Whittemore, finished third in the 23-boat regatta, while
Newport New's Jim Rice finished fourth.
Asked if he taught his son everything he knew, Case Whittemore quipped,
guess he learned some more that I DIDN'T teach him."
Hampton's Pete Wallio, who crewed for Rice, said, "The young guys are doing
what they're supposed to do - replacing us old guys." Rice said it was one of the most
competitive regattas in years. Rice and Wallio, now in their 50s, won the event in
1986, '89 and '90.
Many officials and competitors cheered the Knoxville, Tenn., pair of Al
Williamson and Tim Moody, who didn't finish last this year. They had done so in five of
their eight Mobjack national championships. This year they finished next-to-last, beating
the boat "Viagra Blue" skippered by Gloucester's Scott Farquharson. Both boats had
broken rudders Friday, caused by strong winds, but even that prompted a memorable
moment for the Tennessee men.
"When our boat was being towed in, I was watching the tow boat, and
everybody started pointing at the water next to me," Williamson said. "A big splash
came up and hit me in the face." He was not only showered with praise in this regatta,
he was showered by a dolphin.
"He was two feet off the side of the boat," Moody said. "We saw a dozen
or more - I think they just wanted to splash us!" Williamson said.
The most bizarre finish went to the Washington, D.C., boat with skipper
Ward Jr. and young crew Duncan Ward. They came in 19th in the regatta and when their
boat crossed the finish line Sunday, Duncan was upside down on the trapeze. Then he
flipped himself back into the boat right side up.
Smith finished fifth in both Friday races but won two Saturday and the
Sunday to capture the championship. He tried to bribe his crew by offering him a new pair
of hiking boots if they won. The boots are for sailors with their toes (normally, instead of
fingers) on the rail with the trapeze. But Wintringham said he would just keep his boots,
now starting to get ragged with holes on top of the toes.
"They're lucky shoes," he said. Turning serious, Wintringham said, "We've
waiting for this for a few years. People talk about just having that opportunity (to win) on
the last day. We had that opportunity, and we made something of it."
Sarah Sue Ingram can be
reached at 247-4767 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright, Daily Press 1998.
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