More than 100 American and European ice boat racers are gathering on the Eastern Shore for the prestigious North American and Gold Cup world championships, to be held Saturday through Wednesday on the Miles River near St. Michael's.
Regetta chairman William J. Connell approved the site yesterday after a two-week search for clear ice. It marks the first time in the 24-years history of the races that they will be held south of the Mason-Dixon line.
James Holechek, organizer for the host Baltimore Ice Yatch Club, said the Miles River Yatch Club, a halfmile north of St. Michael's on Rte. 33. will be headquarters for the five days of racing.
He said spectators are welcome at the clubhouse and will have a good view from shore of the tuneup and staging areas on the river. The actual racing will be far offshore and spectators will not be permitted on the ice, so binoculors are a must.
The racers will be piloting DNs - three-runnered, 12-foot spindly craft that attain speeds of more than 60 m.p.h. in competition. There are more than 6,000 DNs in the world, making it the most popular ice-boat class.
The North American championship will be on the weekend and, if wind and ice are satisfactory, the world Gold Cup races will begin Monday. All racing starts a 9 a.m.
The Gold Cup is an annual regatta that shifts yearly between North American and European sites. This year, it and the North American races were slated for Red Bank, N.J., but the ice there was covered by snow.
Crews from Germany, Poland The Netherlands are entered, along with racers from across the United States.
Two Washington area men will compete: Larry Hattwick of Woodbridge and Chris Williams of McLean.
The Baltimore club, which for five years has been foiled by the weather in its efforts to stage its first DN regatta, has once again postponed those races on the Bush River to make way for the big regatta. The Baltimore races are rescheduled for Feb. 12-13,