June 17, 2010
**Final NOOD Thoughts: Is That All?
At registration on Thursday night—15 hours before the first race—a competitor in one of the smaller classes picked up his packet, then leaned over the table and asked, “So how many boats do we have?”
My answer, “Five,” was as surprising as it was disappointing. “Is that all?” he replied. I shrugged slightly, unsure what to say. I told him that sometimes boats sign up at registration, though it wasn’t likely.
Later that weekend, as I thought further about the conversation, I was more and more surprised that this skipper didn’t have a better feel for his class. If I were spending a good chunk of money, time, and effort to sail in a three-day regatta, I think I’d probably check the entry lists on occasion to see how many boats had signed up. Furthermore, if the fleet was looking rather slim, I might make a call to other fleet members in the area—or send out a group email—to hopefully spur a few more sign-ups. While this might sound like a magnanimous gesture, it would be purely self-serving. More boats means more fun. One additional boat in a 5-boat class is a 20-percent increase in fleet size, competitiveness, fun, etc. This is especially important for classes that are hovering at or below the point of critical mass.
This point was driven home on the first day of racing as I, onboard the photo boat, motored out of the harbor and passed right by a potential sixth boat sitting on the mooring.
In most cases, a skipper isn’t going to change from “no” to “yes” due to a phone call or email. But on occasion it will happen. Maybe he’s struggling to find crew, and you happen to have a few phone numbers. Maybe he’s in need of a spare part, and you’ve got an extra he can borrow for the weekend. Maybe he simply needs a nudge, someone saying, “Hey, you know you’ll have fun if you go, and we’ll have more fun if you go. It would be great to see you on the racecourse.”
Some fleets build in bunches. But they are the exceptions. Most do so one boat at a time. For anyone who’s served as a fleet captain, this is filed under “stating the obvious.” For the rest of us, who often sit wondering why there aren’t more boats on the line, it may not be so. When it comes to building our fleets, however, we should all take responsibility.
June 15, 2010
Mark Rounding Video From Onboard the new J/97
Rich Stearns, the local J/Boat dealer, sailed a J/97 to third place in PHRF 4. He had a camera onboard for the regatta. Here’s a link to a clip featuring a very interesting mark rounding. As contentious as it was, the two skippers were laughing about it while watching the video later that night. Thanks to Jeff Mootz, of HorizonTrue camera mounts, for the clip.
A team effort (and a fleet effort) results in overall win for Collaboration 2
Four of Bob Vickery’s six finishes in the 2010 Sperry Top-Sider Chicago NOOD were fourths or fifths. Certainly not spectacular in an 11-boat fleet. But that consistency combined with a few moments of brilliance—a first and a second—lifted Vickery and Chris Jungmann’s Collaboration 2 to the win the class and the overall victory. The competition in the 40.7 was tight all weekend. In the end, just four points separated Vickery and the fourth-place boat, Tom Weber’s La Tempete. Vickery was quick to praise both the fleet and his crew for the overall win. I’m sure he deserved a bit of the credit as well.
What’s that mean to you?
It’s a wonderful award. It’s something you always hope for going into a regatta and the crew works hard at it. Of course this is more of a fleet award because it’s for the most competitive fleet and the 40.7 fleet here in Chicago is an incredibly competitive fleet. Better than that, they’re all nice guys.
Describe your weekend?
Oh good golly. We went into it trying to stay out of trouble on the first day. We didn’t want to get in deep anywhere, sail conservatively, the idea was to be in the hunt at the end of the first day and we were blessed with good finishes. At the end of the first day, we were in first place pretty comfortably and then it just became a question of trying to cover folks. Not necessarily hitting corners or taking risks, just trying to hold everything in control. And the weather made that a challenge.
Stuart Streuli| |**Bob VIckery and some of his crew celebrate their overall win in the 2010 Sperry Top-Sider Chicago NOOD. The crew on Collaboration 2 includes: Bob Vickery, skipper & helmsman; Chris Jungmann, co-owner; Laura Olsen, mainsheet; Brian Licky, bow; Mark Pawlikowski, mast; Eddie Jungmann, pit; John Beery, trimmer; Owen Beckley, trimmer; Sue Stewart, tactician; Sandy Lee, pit; Emily Rebman, floater. **|
What does the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD series mean to Chicago?
The NOOD is such an important event because it carries such publicity. It allows us to be good ambassadors and helps us build the sport.
What’s the magic about sailing for you?
The magic is giving it back to the sport, having fun with friends, going out and being competitive.
Are you looking forward to going to Caribbean?
Oh good golly, my crew’s already making reservations. They’re ready to go.
You mentioned it being tough to cover in the light air. The last race was the lightest of the bunch. How did you manage the competition?
We of course, with any sort of situation like that you need a good clean start. We were able to carve out a good start and we had good boatspeed. But the fleet started to split and at that point you turn to the guys on your crew and say, “Which way are you going to cover?” And you hope that you’re right. I’m blessed with a very good crew. People I’ve sailed with for quite a while and they helped us point it the right direction.
What was the crew focusing on today in the light air? The maneuvers can seem easier, but fluidity is so important.
Momentum and weight placement. You have to keep the crew in the right spot, keep them centered over the middle of the boat. Keep the right heel. Heel is important. If you read Sailing World magazine you can read all sorts of stories about heel and it certainly proved that way for this regatta.
It’s a bit of a mental game in light air, but the crew must still stay active and alert.
The crew loves this regatta. The NOODs are a big deal, everybody’s excited. It’s a three-day event so it becomes a family affair. This becomes the highlight of the season. We point to the NOODs, everyone looks forward to coming here and it’s a wonderful thing. At the end of it, the third day is the toughest. To be out there today, in light breeze, made it even more of a challenge.
How stressful was that final race? Were there moments when you were not sure whether you were on the podium?
Well, I got to tell you, the last leg of the last race for us, the last third of it, we sailed in the glue and there wasn’t any way to get through it except fight through the glue and get to the finish. We went from a first place to a fourth. The second-place boat was one behind us. We started the day tied for first and it was nerve racking.
How close were they down the run?
They sailed well and came up late in the game. Typical story, they brought the breeze up from behind and they came from ninth to finish right behind us. So we ended up winning by one point. I got to tell you the 40.7s are so equal. And it’s everything you want a fleet to be. It’s a wonderful boat to cruise. We have a race in Chicago that takes us up to Mackinac in the middle of the summer and it’s a very equal race. More importantly we get to come back with our families. The boat’s just wonderful in that regard, true race cruiser.
You sail with four fiancé, your boat partner and his son are both on the crew. How important is family and what does it bring to the boat?
Family is important for us. A number of our crewmembers that have sailed with me for a long time that are now bringing their kids. Owen has a 14-year-old and a 12-year-old that sail with us with regularity. I have three daughters that are usually out here and it is a big deal to us to make it a family event. That’s what I was alluding to with the cruise back from Mackinac Island. It’s something to share sailing and the adventure of it.
You have a number of women on your crew and in some key positions. What are sailing teams missing when they go with an all-male crew, or only having me in the important positions?
They’re missing an incredible source of enthusiasm an knowledge. These gals are every bit a good as the guys, they may not have the horsepower at times, but I’m very proud of the gals on our crew and I’ll always sail with women on board. It helps balance it and keeps the boat well centered.
And makes all the men behave?
Well it’s a team. And it you let it just be all guys, it’s imbalanced, if you well. The women are an important part to keep it a team. We’re trying to build our fleet and built the sport, you can’t do it with just men.
June 13, 2010
Stuart Streuli| |**Robert Vickery (left) steers Collaboration 2 to a hard-fought win in the Beneteau 40.7 class at the 2010 Sperry Top-Sider Chicago NOOD regatta. With the top four boats separated by four points, Vickery and boat partner Chris Jungmann were also selected as the overall winner of the Chicago NOOD. **|
June 12, 2010
Day 2 Results Recap
June 11, 2010
Day 1 Results Recap
**NOOD Overview**** **
I’m sure Chicago has many less attractive faces, but it was hard not to love this city as I stood in Lincoln Park at sunset, surrounded by a rampart of high rises, listening to a free blues concert. The only thing that could’ve improved the situation was the satisfied glow that follows a full day of racing. I spent the day on the photo boat.
From our perspective Day 1 of the Sperry Top-Sider Chicago NOOD had a little bit of everything. The first race on Circle B, the southern-most of the three circles finished in a steady, but fading, southeast breeze. That breeze all but vanished as PHRF 4, led by Robert Armstrong’s modified J/100 Good Girl, rounded the first windward mark in Circle C’s second race. Local J/Boat dealer Rich Stearns is sailing the new J/97 in that fleet. The 100-yard offset leg took him a few minutes to complete when the wind dropped to nothing. But the breeze returned and the J/97 showed some light-air legs on the run.
The wind neared double digits as the very aggressive PHRF 1 fleet jockeyed for position on the starting line of Race 3. This is a wild mix of boats including former TP 52s, some old IMS warhorses like Talisman and Promo (ex-Ptarmigan), a Judel/Vrolijk 66 that was once called Bella Mente, a Santa Cruz 52, and just about everything in between. But many of the boats go about the same speed and the racing is very intense. No fewer than three boats were OCS on that start and there might’ve even been a little paint swapped in the midst of the mid-line scrum. A few minutes later, PHRF 2 had an equally as competitive start that resulted in a general recall.
The free blues concert, part of the three-day Chicago Blues Festival wrapped up about 9 p.m. But as any fan of the blues knows, that’s hardly the end of the evening. We dropped our bags at the hotel and hotfooted it to Buddy Guy’s Legends, which has just moved to a new location. The party there was just ramping up. I thought I’d heard some blues before. But it quickly became apparent that there is blues and then there is Blues, the latter served up in low-ceilinged bars throughout Chicago, the former being a reasonable, but hardly complete, facsimile. We were even treated to a cameo from Mr. Guy himself, who thanked everyone for visiting his new joint and sang a few bars of a bawdy blues standard. It was a perfect way to wrap up the day.
June 9, 2010
A few notes from the two Beneteau fleets racing in Chicago this coming weekend.
Tim Wilkes/www.TimWilkes.com **| |With 17 entries, top honors in the Beneteau 36.7 fleet willbe tough to come by. **|
The Lake Michigan Beneteau First 36.7 fleet continues to grow. The 17-boat section that will be competing in the 2010 Chicago NOOD Regatta includes two new additions to the fleet. We are a competitive fleet with hard racing, and you know your team did a great job when you won the regatta. The Lake Michigan Fleet races a competitive one-design schedule for three different championships through the season. The Chicago NOOD Regatta is the second event in the Lake Michigan Championship for our fleet. Last year’s winner of both the Chicago NOOD Regatta and the Lake Michigan Championship was Bob Foley and Team Tried & True. Off the water, the First 36.7 Owners and Crews are some of the nicest people you will meet. Everyone is always willing to lend a helping had or a tip or two to help out. This will be a tough section with strong one design racing.
The Lake Michigan Beneteau 40.7 Fleet was organized to promote amateur one-design racing among it’s members.
The fleet was formed in 2000 with the first six Beneteau 40.7’s who were racing out of Chicago. Since then the fleet has grown steadily and then maintained our peak membership of 14 boats for the past four or five years. We generally get 10 to 14 boats for the major regattas and events and 8 to 10 boats for the weekend regional events. Aside from one regatta each year, professional sailors are not allowed on our boats in our one-design events.
The fleet runs an active schedule each year which includes buoy and long-distance racing. In addition to racing events the fleet hosts several off-season gatherings for the crews and their friends. The 40.7 fleet also organizes rafting parties at major events.
The website of the Chicago Beneteau 40.7 Fleet is at www.first407.com. There you will find a list of member boats, news stories, interviews with some of the fleet’s sailors, current and past year standings and results, photos and videos, the current racing schedule, fleet rules, and other useful information.
Each year, upon completion of the annual series of events, the Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation names the best Beneteau 40.7 on Lake Michigan.