Terry Flynn’s attendance at the Annapolis NOOD was a meeting of logistics and coincidence. Flynn drove from Houston to Newport, RI last week to pick up the J/22, trailered it to Annapolis to sail in the NOOD, and leaves first thing tomorrow morning for a 24-hour drive home to Houston to deliver USA 1501. His crew, imported from Houston and Minnesota, has similarly long treks home, with some extra luggage: the overall prize from the 2016 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Annapolis.
Flynn stayed near the top of the J/22 fleet through three days of unseasonably cold and light racing. Sunday, the wind finally increased above 8 knots, but with it came chilly rain showers. “It was a challenging weekend, with both the weather and the wind,” says Flynn. “We did have a great time, everyone did a great job and in the end we overcame the weather.”
For Flynn and his crew — trimmer Kevin Kenny and tactician/bow Jessie Fulmer — the highlight of their weekend was their seemingly miraculous recovery from Z-flag OCS to finishing third in the same race. Though they kept the penalty on their score sheet, Flynn felt the revival was a shining moment. “The crew gelled, we worked hard and we didn’t give up,” says Flynn. “I’m proud of a lot of races, but that race will always stand out. When you’re in the lead, it’s easy to keep it. When you’re in the back, it’s hard to work through it.”
Luckily for Flynn, he took the overall lead and by the end of racing in the 25-boat fleet, they had a 7-point lead over second place boat Hot Toddy. “The J/22 is a great boat, it went through a slump but we’re coming back strong,” says Flynn. “When you look at the people we had here, it included five boats from the midwinters who performed very well there and they’re all near the top of the fleet, which was great to see.”
The J/22s were one of 12 one design fleets and one PHRF fleet who sailed this weekend, in addition to the North Sails Rally Race on Saturday. The J/70s had the largest turnout, with 43 boats. The lead J/70s tied for first place, with local sailor Geoff Becker’s Papa Wheeli winning the class. On the same circle, John White’s J/80 USA 1162 dominated their class, with three bullets and a 15-point lead over the next boat.
At the furthest racing circle from AYC, the J/105s, J/111s and C&C 30s threw down. The J/105 class, won by Virginian Jim Koningsburg and his crew aboard Inigo won the overall prize. The class was proud to host the Helly Hansen Junior Crew, a team of four local youth sailors aboard a borrowed boat, who finished 11th overall in the 19-boat fleet during their first keelboat regatta —ever. “Besides learning how to completely sail a new boat, we learned a lot about communication this weekend,” says Ben Podlich, the 15-year old grinder on the Junior Crew. “You don’t get to stay in a dinghy forever, or stay in high school forever. It’s the future for all of us, and it’s a great opportunity to get to sail keelboats as early as we are.”
The Annapolis NOOD was an opportunity for the C&C 30s to suss out the leaders in the brand-new class. Newport-based boat Nyabinghi, owned and skippered by Angus Davis, took the top prize. “This class has become really tough to win: the final outcome was not clear until the last 100 yards of the last race,” says Nyabinghi tactician Mike Buckley. “This is a great group of owners, the crews are really impressive in both pro and amateur talent, and everyone is enthusiastic. An example was yesterday when we had engine troubles and the Extreme 2 guys helped us with a tow out. There’s great spirit in this group.”
The spirit of camaraderie continued well into the evening, and despite cold hands and wet boots, every winner received raucous applause for their accolades after three days of what some might say was the worst weather the Annapolis NOOD has ever seen. Helly Hansen USA Vice President Filip Francke, who stepped onto a race boat for the first time this weekend, summed up the attitude of the local sailors perfectly: “There’s no bad weather, just bad clothing.”
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