Design: Beneteau First 305 (30.5 ft)
Year built: 1985
Builder: Beneteau Yachts
History of the Boat:
Split Decision (SD) was purchased from Annapolis Yacht Sales in May of 2005. This boat replaced the Panacea (25ft Hunter) which was extensively raced and cruised on the Potomac and Chesapeake since 1980. The boats name came from its original owners, the Waltz brothers, who evidently made a “Split Decision” when they acquired it. Phil suggested just calling the boat Split, which to him sounded kind of racy. Frank Jr. said “naw, then our fellow racers will call us Spilt Splat.” So it was just registered under its original name.
In 2005, while pulling away from Burt Jabins Marina, Phil said, “This is a small mediocre boat compared to all the mega yachts around here.” Upon arrival to WSM, after clearing the Woodrow Wilson Bridge by only a few feet, SD had grown in stature and to the crew it is a luxury yacht to be used 70% for racing and 30% for cruising.
Major maintenance/changes: Bottom job down to bare hull, feathering prop, UK and North sails, all new Layline sheets and halyards, replace batteries, GPS, repair instruments, traveler – vang – galley rearrangement, electric bilge pump, mast renovation, engine cooling leaks, transmission water leak, and furling/spinnaker fowling fix in progress.
About the owners and crew:
Phil Akers (owner) first developed and interest in sailing when crewing for his younger brother on a IOR 44ft Nelson Merrick designed boar on Lake Michigan. He made dozens of cruising trips down to the Caribbean. However, it was in 1980 when he acquired his first boat, the Panacea, and extensively cruised the Chesapeake and Potomac. In 1985, Phil joined DISC, formerly DICF, and his love of racing and cruising continues today.
Frank Palermo (owner) and Frank Jr. are a huge asset to the maintenance and operation of SD. They cruise SD almost every Wednesday night, weather permitting. Frank Jr. fills in as skipper for the races that Phil or Dave can’t make. When you’re not a live-aboard, the boat is underutilized and floats at the dock most of its life. Sharing the pleasure or sailing with good boat partners is definitely a positive experience.
David Ellison (owner) David’s first exposure to sailing was aboard a Morgan 51′ ketch operated by the Navy ROTC unit at the University of Pennsylvania where he took the opportunity to sail her on the Chesapeake and Inter-Coastal Waterway for summer training credit. After college, David didn’t sail for many years, but began again while living in the United Kingdom. Through the London Business School’s sailing club, David was able to join several one-design races around the Isle of Wight aboard Jeanneau 36’s. This inspired him to get his skipper’s certificate from the Royal Yacht Association, qualifying in Solent waters. This has come in use for several bareboat charters in warmer locales. Since moving to the D.C. area in 2002, David has raced with the DISC fleet regularly, first as foredeck crew on Panacea, then as an owner on Split Decision. David especially enjoys the spring and autumn weekend races for their superior breeze, varied scenery, and challenging courses.
Kathleen Myer started sailing in the late 1950s with her family on a 19’ sloop (Lightning #72) at age 6 and subsequently soloed a sailing dinghy at age 7. She was 10 on the first family cruise on a 40’ sloop on Long Island Sound for a week. During the summers while growing up, Kathleen was in a racing program at Noroton Yacht Club on Long Island Sound. She taught sailing as a summer job when she was 16 and raced with the Tufts University sailing team for 2 years. She has significant sailing and racing experience in east coast waters having participated in a competitive sailing program from age of 8-15, taught by Olympic and top collegiate sailors, participated in collegiate sailing at Tufts University, and raced in Marblehead, MA on a C&C 39 from 1973-1976. During 1977-1982, she cruised/raced a Sabre 28 sloop in and around Marblehead and cruised to Maine and Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket and during the mid-1990s, crewed on an Ericson 39. In 2001 Kathleen campaigned an Yngling with her sister during the pre-Olympic women’s team qualifying season in Newport, RI, Annapolis, MD and Key Biscayne, FL.? Since moving to DC in 2005, Kathleen has enjoyed crewing on Split Decision, primarily being responsible for trimming the main and spinnaker, and cruising on the Chesapeake Bay and Lake Erie.
Thom Ennen started sailing in the late 1950s, with his uncle when he was 8 in Thistles on lakes in Michigan. Thom sailed Snipes and raced E Scows as a teenager and sailed/crewed on the foredeck of a 47’ lake cutter when he was 16. He raced foredeck on Shields at Larchmont YC in New York the summer he was 17. Thom sailed extensively in his 20s, 30s, and since, on many boats, both sail and power. He also crewed/skippered on transports of both sail and power boats between the Chesapeake Bay and Maine and sailed twice to Nova Scotia. He has extensive experience on both power and sail boats – mostly 30’-plus boats in the Midwest lakes and Great Lakes, Long Island Sound, US East Coast: Chesapeake Bay to Nova Scotia; Virgin Islands, and Gulf of Mexico. Thom sailed and lived aboard a 46’ Seawolf Ketch in the late 70s and early 80s. Since moving to DC in 2005, Thom has enjoyed crewing on Split Decision,
Scott Leis started sailing in 2008 after moving to Maryland for work. I grew up in Wisconsin and moved to Kansas for graduate school in 2003. After school, he moved to Micronesia for Peace Corps, living there until 2007. Scott really enjoys crewing on Split Decision and learning sailboat racing. He’s SD’s rock star.