Bartlett breaks through, captures Penguin International title
Jonathan Bartlett has been a professional with North Sails-Chesapeake for 29 years.
Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013 10:00 am
Jonathan Bartlett originally started sailing a Penguin because it was a great family boat that he could sail with his daughters. The longtime Annapolis Yacht Club member has enjoyed tremendous success over the years, winning numerous major regattas.
However, one significant event has somehow eluded Bartlett, who is one of the most well respected members of the class. After more than a decade of trying, the veteran North Sails professional checked off a major item on his sailing bucket list — capturing the Penguin International Championship last week.
“I guess it was finally my turn,” said Bartlett, who has been runner-up at the prestigious regatta four times, most recently in 2011.
Bartlett copped the crown in convincing fashion, winning two races and placing second in two others en route to a low score of nine points. That was a whopping 17 better than runner-up Read Beigel, a fellow Annapolis Yacht Club member.
“We got clean starts and had terrific boat speed in the light and shifty conditions,” said Bartlett, who had 13-year-old Caroline McNeil aboard as crew.
McNeil, a Severn School sailor and daughter of the current Annapolis Yacht Club commodore, was making her Penguin debut.
“Caroline was fantastic. It was her first time in the boat and she picked things up immediately. We had a blast sailing together,” Bartlett said.
Penguin was once a stalwart class at Annapolis Yacht Club, which hosted the first International Championship way back in 1941. Bartlett was honored to win the 70th running of the regatta and to have his name inscribed on a trophy alongside such sailing legends as Walter Lawson, Runyon Colie, Gardner Cox, Robert Johnstone, Gary Knapp, Doug Wefer, Bud Dailey and John MacCausland.
Colie, who will be inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame this year, is the standard-bearer in the Penguin class — having captured seven International titles from 1947 to 1962. Wefer was a five-time winner from 1980-86 while Dailey is a four-time champ.
“It’s really cool to finally win this event. You look at the names on the perpetual trophy and it’s a who’s who of sailing,” said Bartlett, whose runner-up finishes usually came at the hands of Dailey or three-time champion Charles Krafft.
Krafft, another class legend and Severn Sailing Association member, was in second place after winning Race 4, but suffered a disqualification in the fifth and final start and fell to fifth overall.
Beigel, a 17-year-old student at Severna Park High and Annapolis Yacht Club junior member, put forth an impressive performance — winning Race 5 and placing sixth or better in three other starts in totaling 26 points. Beigel, who comes from a long line of Penguin sailors and had Maggie Shult aboard as crew, won a tiebreaker with William Lane and Hank Krafft thanks to the bullet and earned the Junior trophy.
Lane, a Tred Avon Yacht Club member, was the top finisher among Grand Master (60 years old and over) entrants. He also picked up the classic boat award, which goes to top finisher among owners with hulls built before 1980.
Bartlett’s boat, aptly named Sister Mary Stigmata after the nun in Blues Brothers, was launched in 1983. He raced for years with daughters Emily and Annie, who are now 26 and 24 years old, respectively. Bartlett wasn’t disappointed that his breakthrough at Internationals came without one of the girls crewing.
“At this point, I’m just happy to win the darn thing,” the 52-year-old Arnold resident said. “Hopefully, one of my daughters will have a chance to help me win again.”
Miles River Yacht Club hosted this year’s Penguin International Championship last Thursday and Friday with winds never topping six knots. Competition was held on Olympic Triangle courses with principal race officer Dick Kelly sending the 15-boat fleet around just once due to the lack of breeze.
Penguin International Championship (15 boats)
1, Sister Mary Stigmata, AYC, Jonathan Bartlett, 1-1-3-2-2=9; 2, Zoom Zoom, Read Beigel, AYC, 6-10-5-4-1=26; 3, Cheshire Cat, William Lane, CBYC, 8-3-2-10-3=26; 4, Feather, Hank Krafft, 3-6-9-3-5=26; 5, Wooden Bucket, Charles Krafft, SSA, 7-2-4-1-16/dns=26