Rhodes 19 Saturday
In a few weeks the Rhodes 19 class will hold its national championship on the same stretch of water where the Sperry Top-Sider Marblehead NOOD Regatta is playing out this weekend (they’re the largest fleet here). It's a pre-Nationals of sorts and the sailors are treating it as such. With an excellent turnout and a highly competitive series thus far, it’s the highlight of the regatta. The Rhodes 19 sailors have been at it since Thursday afternoon, and as of Saturday evening, local aces Charlie Pendleton and boat partner Jim Raisides lead the series by a slim margin. And, as is always the case, the scoreboard hardly reflects how tough the sailing has really been.
Pendleton and Raisides sailed one crew short on Thursday, a 15- to 20-knot day that saw them racing in a more conservative mode than a competitive mode. “We were just trying to preserve the boat and not break anything,” says Pendleton, a past overall winner at the Marblehead NOOD Regatta. “We hung in there and we’ve been behind the eight-ball ever since, trying to get some points back on the leaders.”
Today was especially taxing for the Rhodes 19 fleet as it, and several other classes on the same circle, waited several hours for a fog bank to clear before they could get in any races. “We were stuck in a holding pattern, and Jim referred to it as a ‘trap day,’ where after sitting so long you can lose your concentration.”
Once they got going, though, Pendelton says their focus was on trying to stay out of trouble, a plan that served them well in the first race. With a strong side current causing boats to pile up at the pin, they almost got buried in the crowd but saw the writing on the wall and jibed around, took transoms, and cleared out to the right side of the racecourse, which proved to be the right way to go. (For a gauge of the current, check out this weather mark rounding.) And for a view of the Rhodes 19 class’s second start, check out this video. Two top finishes on the day put them on top as the previous day's leaders stumbled.
Across the other circles, further offshore, the regatta carried on under sunny skies and light to moderate winds. Sam Altreuter continues to dominate the Sonar class, as does Peter Morgan the J/105s, the two other big classes at the Marblehead NOOD. Want to know what it sounds like when George Loden's _Dark Horse _wins a J/105 race? Check out the vid.
The local-fleet whipping is being doled out by Dave Anderson in the Town class. His Wabi Sabi leads the other classic woodies after two days. With another day of racing on tap for tomorrow, and more wind in the forecast, we’re looking forward to more races, and maybe even an upset or two.