DETROIT–For most fleets at the 2002 Sailing World Detroit NOOD regatta, having 20 boats on the line is a dream. For the Cal 25s, its an off year. “This is the first year in the last few that were not the largest fleet at the NOOD,” said Mike Hoey, who co-owns Stormalong with Robert Orr Jr. There are 33 Cal 25s in the Detroit area, he said, and another 20 in Port Huron.
But though the gross numbers might not have matched expectations, that hasnt affected the competitiveness of the fleet–no boat has won more than one race and just five points separates the top three boats. “Theyre the most level of boats” says Hoey. “The 20 boats that are here are all good. Theres 12 that could win a race.”
Hoey and Orrs Stormalong is fifth after six races with a quartet of top-four finishes, an eighth, and a 14th. The eighth came on Friday when they broke their boom just before the start of the last race. Rather than sail in they changed to their big genoa and, in the 15- to 20-knot northwesterly, still managed to pull off a respectable finish. Today the wind on Circle C, the closest to the host Bayview YC started off below 10 knots from just south of west, but picked up to the mid-teens, and clocked to the northwest, by the third race. With memories of yesterdays blow fresh in the minds of much of the Cal 25 fleet, many boats hoisted their No. 3 jibs and some even put in a reef. By the second downwind leg, however, the breeze had abated significantly and the smart boats began to surreptitiously change jibs. Hoey and crew went to the No. 2 and were able to pass a few of the front runners who didnt keep a close eye on the breeze and finish fourth. However, he added, some of the boats behind them went all the way up to their No. 1 and were able to grind past Stormalong. “It was a bit like bringing a knife to a gunfight,” said Hoey of the No. 2. Dale Marshall and David Holme are the only two Cal 25 skippers whove been able to keep their boats in the top five through six races. Not surprisingly Marshalls Clytie and Holmes Holme Brew sit atop the standings with 17 and 20 points, respectively.
Further down in the standings sits Tim Hoeraufs Chubby Pickle. Currently 17th with a pair of DNSs because of a crewmember who had to return to the docks early in order to get to work, Hoerauf isnt having his best regatta. But, sitting around the class keg trading stories with his fellow competitors, he was having as much fun as anyone else. Hoerauf is fairly unconventional when it comes to his approach to boat ownership. While most sailors buy a boat so they can more behind the tiller or wheel, Hoerauf used his ownership privileges to place himself on the bow. “I realized this year that I get frustrated when I cant move about the boat. Today I was able to move around and do whatever I wanted to.” As for his results, Hoerauf was unphased. “We had one less person than yesterday but we raced well together except for a few tactical maneuvers that pushed us back,” he said. “We had fun, were all safe, and we didnt break anything. Thats a good day of racing.”
Many sailors echoed Hoeraufs comments, regardless of finish. For the second straight day, Lake St. Clair served up bright sun, warm temperatures, and fairly steady wind. Both the A and C Circles, which sailed on the Canadian side of the shipping channel, got in three races for all classes. Circle B, which was comprised of the bigger boats and yesterday received the most wind, sat for two hours off Grosse Pointe Shores before getting in a start. “We did not have a breath of wind,” said John Baubour, owner and skipper of the North American 40 Velero VI. “And then when it did come it was very patchy. PRO Ted Everingham is very experienced and he waited it out. It eventually settled in from the west and then went right.” Baubour entered the day with a one-point lead over second and a two-point lead over third. He kept that in tact with a first and a second, and looks on pace to add to his six NOOD wins over the past decade. But he knows that Marc Hollerbach, of the second-placed Mandalay, and Peter Griffin, of the third-placed Kemosabe, arent going away. “We didnt win the NOOD last year, we were second,” said Baubour. “Peter Griffin won. I won the local season trophy and Hollerbach won the Port Huron to Mackinac race and I was second.” Also racing on Circle B was the J/105 class. On Friday, Chuck Stormes Detour won all three races and the Hall Spars and Rigging Boat of the Day award. Today, Stormes and his crew showed they are mortal, if just barely, by placing second and third in the two races. That was still enough to win the day and extend their lead in the 20-boat class to nine points. With a first and a sixth, David Latties Patriot is in second.
On Circle A Brian Langs Islander 36 Marksman continued to show near perfect aim. After a second in the first race of the regatta, Lang has reeled off five straight victories and leads the eight-boat Level 141 class by 11 points. Rich Stearns kept ahold of first in the 24-boat Tartan Ten class despite an 11th in the second race which was largely the result of losing the spinnaker halyard up the mast on the first set. But when the wind picked up for the third race, Stearns New Ten once again showed the fleet its heels winning the boat at the start and stretching away on each leg for an easy win. Also helping out Stearns is the fact that Money Shot, which trailed Stearns by only two points entering the day was over early in the first race and never re-started. The OCS dropped it from second to fifth. Len Chamberlain, a long-time T-Ten owner, is currently in second, 9 points behind Stearns.
Racing in the 2002 Sailing World Detroit NOOD Regatta finishes tomorrow.