Flynn Flies in Annapolis
|With a first-time crew, Terry Flynn won the J/80 class—and the overall prize—at the 2010 Sperry Top-Sider Annapolis NOOD.|
As the J/80 freight train rolls northward on its USA Tour, bound for the World Championships in Newport, R.I., in October, the class just keeps picking up steam. The 36-boat fleet at the 2010 Sperry Top-Sider Annapolis NOOD was the largest of the regatta’s 16 divisions, and, arguably, the most competitive.
Over the course of eight races, four boats posted first-place finishes; Houston native Terry Flynn had just one bullet in his scoreline, but his team sailed with enough consistency to win both the division and the overall prize, which includes an invitation to compete in the NOOD Championship in the B.V.I. in November.
The Annapolis NOOD was the first time Flynn had sailed with his crew of David Whelan, Mark Foster, and Charlie Snyder, but the Quantum sailmaker had no trouble getting everyone on the same page. “Too many times, when it’s your first time sailing together as a crew, everybody’s real quiet the first race of the regatta, and you do terrible,” says Flynn. “We made an effort to say, ‘You start giving input, and if we don’t want to hear it, we’ll tell you.”
With Foster and Snyder feeding information to Whelan, the tactician, Flynn was able to concentrate on steering the boat through the light wind and mixed-up chop on Chesapeake Bay. “I didn’t do anything but drive,” he says. “I put my head down, concentrated on keeping the boat moving, and listened to what they wanted me to do. I very rarely got involved in the tactical end of things. I’m pretty good at listening, and they’re pretty good a putting me where we need to be.
“It’s important for everyone on board to give feedback,” continues Flynn. “I’ve been on boats where the tactician doesn’t really share the information, he just kind of tells the skipper when to tack. But I think it’s important that the skipper know the thought process. That way, it’s not like, ‘Why are we doing this?'”
Refined communication, uncharacteristically good starts—”I historically have terrible starts,” says Flynn—and close attention to changes in wind speed propelled Flynn’s team to victory. And, apparently, word is spreading that the affable Texan is a fun guy with whom to sail. “I’ve already had a few people come up and tell me they want to go to the B.V.I. to crew with me,” he says.
Between now and November, Flynn will be competing in the J/80 North American Championships, the aforementioned Worlds, and the J/22 North American Championship. So there’s a good chance that, by the time he hops aboard that Sunsail 39 in Tortola, Flynn could have a few more feathers in his cap—and a few more eager crewmembers.
WindFlow Forecast for Day 3
An Evolution in Sailmaking
|Aaron Serinis (left)—with bowman Nick Moreau—is testing out his Evolution Sails in the J/22 class at 2010 Sperry Top-Sider Annapolis NOOD.|
If Aaron Serinis has any complaints about the sails on his chartered J/22 J/Hawk, he has nobody to blame but himself. “I built the sails myself last week,” says Serinis, who launched Evolution Sails (www.evolutionsails.com) six months ago.
Working out of a loft in Easton, Mary., Serinis, formerly of North Sails, has teamed up with former Quantum and Ullman sailmakers to create new sail designs for J/22s, J/80s, J/105s, and other one-design classes. “We’re really targeting the grass-roots fleets,” he says. “The sails are a bit of a hybrid. We’re trying to take what we think are the good characteristics of [North, Quantum, and Ullman] sails and try to make something new. We try to keep the same tuning, so it’s easy for people to get up to speed.”
For his own part, Serinis has had little trouble getting up to speed in the J/22, a class in which he had only crewed prior to the 2010 Sperry Top-Sider Annapolis NOOD. J/Hawk sits in seventh place; North Sails’ Greg Fisher, defending J/22 world champion, is in the lead. “This regatta has been somewhat of a showcase for our sails,” says Serinis. “There’s another boat sailing with Evolution Sails, and we’re both in the top ten.”
Serinis is happy with his sails’ performance so far, but that’s not to say the design is set in stone. “I’m definitely taking notes this weekend,” he says. “I plan on tweaking some little stuff, batten pockets, batten stiffness, details like that. Other than that, I think the sails are going pretty good.”
Rounding out the J/Hawk crew are Nick Moreau and Severn Sailing Association junior program director Brent Ostbye, whom Moreau describes as a cross between Drew Carey and Paul Bunyan. Moreau moved to Annapolis from Manhattan two months ago at the urging of a fellow University of Kansas alumnus. The veteran Thistle sailor is soaking up Chesapeake Bay’s thriving racing scene. “I was looking for a good destination on the East Coast where I could go sailing, and this place was the logical choice,” says Moreau, who connected with Serinis through mutual friends. “I’ve now been racing five days in a row. Wednesday night, I found a ride as the fifth man on a Melges 24, and it was just nukin’. I spent the whole time standing on the stern pulpit, just like, ‘Weeeeeee.'”
Windflow Weather Data for Day 2
Saving Sailing, One Kid at a Time
|Having mastered the mainsail, 11-year-old David Williams trims the spinnaker aboard LinGin, his father’s Alberg 30.|
On the way out the racecourse this morning, as the crew of Tim Williams’ Alberg 30 LinGin ran spinnaker sheets and polished off the last of the powdered doughnuts, the conversation turned to Nicholas Hayes’ new book, Saving Sailing. One problem with our sport, everyone agreed, is that we don’t do a good enough job of ensuring that junior sailors become grown-up sailors, that, somewhere between Optis and Alberg 30s, the kids disappear.
That may be the case elsewhere, but not aboard LinGin, where 11-year-old main trimmer David Williams was happily transitioning from the solitude of his Opti to the chaos of a seven-man team. David is a fourth-generation Alberg 30 racer; his father, Tim, learned to sail aboard LinGin when the boat belonged to his late grandfather. LinGin, like so many boats here at the 2010 Sperry Top-Sider Annapolis NOOD, is a family affair. Tim keeps the 40-year-old 30-footer on the dock behind his mother’s house on a wooded inlet just outside of town, and when I arrived this morning, David made a point to show me the rock beneath which the watersnakes like to hide. For me, a newcomer to the Chesapeake Bay racing scene, it was wholly unfamiliar, yet pleasant, to begin a day of racing from a suburban backyard as opposed to the bustling docks of a yacht club.
|At the dock on Whitehall creek, Glen Becker (left) and the crew of LinGin tidy up after an idyllic day of racing.|
For the LinGin team, having David aboard is not just about bestowing the love of sailing on a younger generation. The presence of a fifth-grader sets a positive tone for the rest of the crew, keeping potty mouths at bay and, during the more volatile moments of the race, keeping tempers from flaring. David is just the right size to sit behind the helmsman and tend to the mainsheet, and just the right size to take a ride in the bosun’s chair when, shortly before the first race, the spinnaker halyard gives way.
We got off to a rocky start, losing a few boats to a botched layline in Race 1 and losing a few more to penalty turns in Race 2. With a second-row start in Race 4, things were looking bleak. On the first beat, we took a fortuitious flyer to the right corner and came into the windward mark just ahead of T.C. Williams’ Argo, the team to beat in the seven-boat fleet. We managed to hold off Argo and the rest of the competition for the remaining three legs, coasting across the finish line to the lovely sound of a shotgun firing. It was a hard-fought and well deserved bullet, and I can only assume it helped to set the hook for our youngest crewmember, who was so focused on the race he forgot about the streak of yellow mustard smeared across his cheek.
WeatherFlow Wind Data for Day 1
Four Races, No Complaints
Just getting off the water after a picture-perfect day of racing aboard Tim Williams’ Alberg 30 LinGin. More on that experience later.
In the meantime, check out the Day 1 results. You’ll see the competition’s particularly tight in the Catalina 27, J/80, and Melges 24 divisions.
J/Boats Coming Out in Force
|Jeremiah T.D./ www.timwilkes.com|
|Expect another strong J/Boats turnout at the 2010 Sperry Top-Sider Annapolis NOOD.|
Here’s a regatta preview from J/Boats’ Stu Johnstone:
Looks like it will be a stellar turn-out for this weekend’s NOOD Regatta sailing on Chesapeake Bay. More than 201 boats to enjoy a sunny, bright weekend in the 80s and warm southerlies—at least that’s the forecast from Meteo Norteamericano. One hopes NOAA Marine meteorologists have got it right for once.
The J Fleet is enormous, with more than 117 boats attending (nearly 60 percent of the entire NOOD fleet) and representatives from across the spectrum of one-design classes, coming from all points of the compass across the Eastern seaboard, from Toronto, Ontario, Canada (our ice-hockey mad friends from way up north) down to Houston, Texas (our Tex-Mex bronco-busting cow hands from the real South) and from Boston, Mass. (that sport-crazy town renowned for the Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics—what else is there?) out to Chicago, Il. (another sport crazy town).
The eight-boat J/109 class will have class champions Rick Lyall and Bill Sweetser vying for honors in this closely fought fleet. Rick’s J/109 STORM is dashing south from winning the first day sailing at American YC Spring Series to participate in the first event of the J/109 East Coast Championship. And, rumor has it Bill Sweetser’s RUSH is ready to rock-n-roll. Should be an interesting match up that sets the standard for the rest of the J/109 season series!
The J/105 class has twenty-five boats showing up along with some past class champions. Amongst them will be teams like Jack Biddle’s RUM PUPPY, Andrew Kennedy’s BAT IV racing with Drake Johnstone as tactician, Jim Rathbun sailing HEY JUDE who finished third in the 2009 North American Championship, Bob Reeves on A-TRAIN, Carl and Scott Gitchell on TENACIOUS and Travis Weisleder on LUCKY DOG. All these boats are well-sailed and any one of these boats are capable of winning or getting podium finishes.
With thirty-five boats, the J/80 class is by far the biggest at the regatta. The J/80s are racing the fourth event in the 2010 USA Tour that leads up to the Worlds in Newport. A strong Texas contingent is showing up, including past World Champion Terry Flynn on B-TEAM, class leaders Jay Lutz and Gary Kamins on FIRED UP, and Bruno Pasquinelli. The Massachusetts teams from around Boston/Buzzards Bay are fielding some remarkably strong crews, including past J/105 North American and Key West Champion Brian Keane racing SAVASANA, past J/105 New England Champion and Sonar Champion Henry Brauer who has Stuart Johnstone aboard as tactician sailing RASCAL and Henry de Groot on WIRED. The locals from Annapolis who expect to give everyone a serious run for the money include Ken Mangano’s MANGO, Brian Robinson’s ANGRY CHAMELEON, Aaron Galvin’s WILLY T and Chris Johnson’s DRAGONFLY.
In the J/22s, twenty-two boats will include a strong local contingent comprised of the current J/22 Midwinter and World Champion Greg Fisher racing WHAT KINDA GONE and Jeff Todd on HOT TODDY going up against some of the Rochester gang such as Chris Doyle on SOLID LAYER and Travis Odenbach on INSTIGATOR.
For the fifteen J/24s sailing, local legend Tony Parker on BANGOR PACKET (remember him leading the J/24 Worlds for a day or so?) will be leading the charge and still teaching some of the kids new tricks on how to get around the race track like the crafty old fox that he is.
The J/30s and J/35s are each eleven boats strong! That’s a terrific turn-out for these two classes and familiar names like BIG KAHUNA, CHAOS, REBEL YELL, MEDICINE MAN, BAD COMPANY, AUNT JEAN, MAGGIE, BAD GIRL will be mixing it up with everyone for bragging rights in these perennial one-design classes.
Prime Time for a Tune Up
On Thursday, North Sails’ Chuck Allen and Will Welles are hosting a free clinic for J/22s, J/24s, J/80s, Etchells, and Melges 24s. For details, download the PDF here.
What’s Happening in Your Fleet?
Later this week, I’m headed down to Annapolis to cover the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD regatta. With more than 200 boats competing in 16 classes, I’ll definitely have my hands full reporting on all the action. That’s why I’ve reached out to the event’s class coordinators, who’ve helped bring me up to speed on their respective fleets.
Brad Kauffman, Farr 30:
There are a lot of new things happening with the class. We are under new management, run by the owners, and are seeing numbers on the increase for regattas. We have 11 registered for the NOOD this year, when we could only muster 5 last year. New this year is a perpetual trophy funded by the owners to be awarded annually to the winner of the Annapolis NOOD. See attached trophy. We have boats here from as far away as Chicago. Also, the 2010 NAs are going to be held in Annapolis at CBYRA Race Week over Labor Day weekend.
We expect some competitive racing this year at the NOODs. Turbo Duck is the boat to beat, as they were the winner last year at the CBYRA Race Week (NAs), where we had 12 boats. Also Adrenalin and Snooker are very competitive and could easily take the top spot. Our fleet is making a transition from the Grand Prix to mostly Corinthian. We expect changes in the class rules this year to attract new owners. We did not have a class at KWRW but are expecting one next January.
Tim Williams, Alberg 30:
We race on the same boat my grandfather taught me to race on 30 years ago. My 11-year-old son is the fourth generation to race on LinGin. We’re not the fastest boats out there, but we’re a very competitive class and evenly matched.
Kristen Robinson, J/80:
We have many stories to tell, from the Road Warriors who have done every stop on the 2010 USA Tour, to the new owners experiencing J/80 racing at its best for their first regatta in the boats. We also have numerous past champions attending, boats new to traveling, and teams of families.