|The Start, shot by Tom Norris|
RAPPAHANNOCK RECORD JULY 19, 2012 – By 2011, the local Typhoon fleet had grown to become the largest in the world. Area sailors were used to racing in weekly Spring and Fall Series events. Ron Mihills, former commodore of the Rappahannock River Yacht Club, had become the number one Ty booster, finding boats all over the country for people interested in hauling them back here and, fixing them up.
About two years ago, Ron decided it was time to strike out past the Chesapeake Bay and launch the annual Typhoon Nationals. The first Nationals in 2011 were a big success with three days of events and two days of racing. Winning a national sailing race was appealing and it started attracting more sailors in earnest last year. Boats were bought and additions made to home fleets. Ned Crockett, Typhoon Fleet Captain, added more races to the 2012 schedule. “There are now over 50 opportunities to get out and compete with some of the top Typhoon racers on the East Coast,” said Ned.
Over 45 boats are berthed on Carter’s Creek, part of almost 70 owned in the area. Because it’s a very stable and easy boat to sail, the Typhoon appeals to both older and younger sailors. “This year’s Nationals saw four generations of racers competing against each other, 12 competitors were over 70 years old,” said Ron Mihills. “One of the toughest competitors, Frank Birdsall, is a mere 82. Frank’s one of the newer Typhoon racers and came in second in this year’s Spring Series with crew member Jeff Wainscott.” In this year’s generational mix, the 2012 Nationals also attracted more students who have racing experience.
Students Graham Shivers and Archer Ruffin won second place in the Corinthian Fleet on Lobster Girl. Graham Shivers is a rising junior at Christchurch and just completed his second year of sailing for their team. Archer graduated from Christchurch in 2011 and is attending VA Tech. He was named to the VISA All-State Team and has instructed youth sailing at Fishing Bay Yacht Club.
Matt Wallin, a recent grad from Christchurch crewed on Teacup skippered by Harry Wells. They and Jane Wells, won third place in the Corinthian Fleet. Matt sailed Varsity for CCS for five years, starting there in 8th grade. He will be a freshman at VA Tech and is currently working as a sailing instructor at Ware River Yacht Club where he’s instructed the past four summers.
Even Matt Guthrie, Christchurch’s head sailing coach, has gotten in on the action. He skippered Patriot with Bill Turenne the first day of this year’s Nationals. Matt was head coach when the school team went to Seattle for the National High School Sailing Competition this spring. “My younger brother Justin Guthrie, a recent college grad, sailed with Bill the second day” said Matt. Christchurch’s sailing program has competed in four out of five ISSA national Fleet Racing Championships. Their tough young sailors are perfect for the Ty Nationals since they have great experience racing 420’s also a small boat.
The 2012 Ty Nationals was clearly a mix of young and old – everyone cheering each other on. And while this year’s Nationals have ended, there are a lot of racing opportunities left this year. Multiple blogs, Facebook, and social media sites such as Flicker are being used to inform and update current racers and attract new racers to weekly racing opportunities. Next year, we predict that the competition will be even steeper as more young racers join in. You can follow the action at http://www.facebook.com/TyphoonNationals or at http://typhoonnationals.blogspot.com/ or http://rryc.org/typhoonracing.asp