2005 Lands' End St. Petersburg NOOD Wrap-Up

John Bertrand and the crew of Fusion M take the overall trophy at the the first NOOD regatta of 2005.

The final day of the 2005 Lands' End St. Petersburg NOOD regatta ended with a whimper, with the breeze shutting down after most classes had finished one race, but with at least seven races sailed in each class for the three-day event, nobody seemed all that bothered. For the first time at a NOOD regatta, an overall winner was announced, and nobody could disagree with the race committee's decision to award that trophy to John Bertrand and his crew on the Melges 24 Fusion M. In the seven races sailed by the Melges class, Fusion M never scored worse than a third-place finish, an impressive feat in a 47-boat class packed with talented teams. Scott Nixon, a sailmaker from Annapolis, was Fusion M's tactician. "Speed kills," said Nixon. "We felt we were really fast. We've worked a lot on sails, and after getting second at the Melges 24 pre-Worlds at Key Largo last December we decided that we were having problems with starts, so we've been working on that." Bertrand and his team hired Ted Kaczmarski, the head of the Annapolis YC's junior program, as their coach, and have seen an improvement. "We were seven-for seven with our starts," said Nixon. "It makes my job easy." Bertrand, Nixon, and the rest of the Fusion M crew will be heading to the Annapolis NOOD for their next event, which is the Melges 24 national championship. It's all part of Fusion M's march toward the world championship, which will be held in Key Largo next December. Winning the six-boat Sonar class with another great scoreline was John Robertson, of the United Kingdom, on Chimera. Robertson bound to a wheelchair as the result of a motorcycle accident in 1994, said that consistency was the key to his win. "We got in the front row and didn't bang any corners," said Robertson. "We also kept in phase with the shifts, or tried to, and when the wind went light we changed gears and softened everything up." Robertson and his crew sailed the Olympic Classes Regatta in January, and won that regatta as well. Next stop for Robertson is home, where he plans on training until his next event, when he'll be heading to Sweden for another Sonar regatta. The youngest helmsman in the regatta was 16-year old Ian Buck, of Duluth, Minnesota, who steered the Tripp 26 Mustang Sally to a fourth-place finish in the nine-boat class in his first big regatta. Asked if he was intimidated by the older, more experienced drivers in the class, Buck said: "No, not so much; it's exciting, but it's a little tough to get back on the helm after five months off." Buck sails out of the Duluth Community Sailing Center and said that he's already looking forward to coming back to the St. Petersburg NOOD next February. Manhattan Magic, a Soverel 33, owned by Jeffrey Guice, of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, won their six-boat class with a scoreline that would have rivaled John Bertrand's if they hadn't broken a main halyard in Race 4, which pushed them back to last place for the race. But Guice and his crew bounced back and finished the event off with three straight first-place finishes, which gave them not only the class win, but the Soverel 33 Midwinter Championship. "We had good teamwork and a great crew," said Guice. "But we also had a little bit of luck. Today we got out on the left side and it worked out for us." Five other classes held their midwinter championships during the St. Petersburg NOOD. In the Tartan Ten class, Jeff Sampson's Chris Hill for 3 won the Midwinter Championship, as did St. Pete Sailor Tim Snow, sailing his Blind Chance in the SR Max class. Brad Boston won the Ultimate 20 Eastern Midwinters on Honour; John Mauri's Mauri Pro Sailing was the Hobie 33 Midwinters champion; Matt Paterson and his team on White Donkey clinched the Wavelength 24 Midwinters.