Bowman is One with One-Design at San Diego NOOD

A former dinghy sailor makes a successful return to one-design racing in the Ultimate 20 class at the 2005 Lands' End San Diego NOOD Regatta. A tourist takes the early lead in the Beneteau 36.7 North American championship.

SD NOOD Friday
Stuart Streuli

SAN DIEGO-For two races, Steve Bowman's return to one-design racing at the 2005 Lands' End San Diego NOOD was going about as well as it could be. Bowman, who was sailing a Hotfoot 20 he modified to fit within Ultimate 20 class rules-the Hotfoot is the predecessor to the U20-finished first in the opening race and second in the second. "The first race, we were just cookin'," he said. "The big deal was the crew work. The crew was awesome." Then with the wind piping up into low teens for the final race, he ran into a bit of bad luck. "We went around the final leeward mark and had our first botched takedown," he said. "The boat never seemed to get moving again. We went from second to last." Bowman, who thinks he must've snagged something on his keel around the final mark, finished sixth in the race and that was enough to bump him and his team on Silver into a tie, on points, for second place in the seven-boat fleet. Leading the class is Clifton Odom on Ethel Merlyn. Trent Watkins on UFO is the other skipper in second place. Despite his result in the last race, Bowman, a former Navy Academy dinghy sailor, was ecstatic about racing one-design again. "I love it," he said. "We did PHRF for a few years and we did well, but it's not the same as one-design." Also experiencing a bit of bad luck was International 14 sailor Don Mierzeski. After winning the first race, Mierzeski was capsized by the prop wash from a photo helicopter hovering over the course. He finished eighth in the race, out of a fleet of 13 boats, but filed for redress. After a third in the final race, and then a successful redress hearing, Mierzeski is at the head of a very competitive class. In a tie for second is the Henderson/Johnson team and Paul Galvez, each with 10 points. Fourth, with 11 points, is Matt Noble, and Brad Ruetenik is fifth with 12 points. Things are similarly close at the top of the Holder 20 fleet. In fact no one in the seven-boat fleet is more than three points off the lead. Bobby Kawamura was consistent, if not spectacular, with a fifth, a third, and a second. He leads the class, a point ahead of Jim Rosachi, with two boats tied for third with 12 points, and three more tied for fifth, with 13 points. In the 505 class, Gary Lee is in first with six points, while John Billings is second with seven. Out on the ocean course the results proved slightly more orderly. The 10-boat Beneteau 36.7 fleet, which is racing for the class's North American championship, is being led by Charles Bayer on Grizzly. Bayer hails from Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., proving that though the breeze was light and spotty for two races on the ocean course, local knowledge wasn't crucial to winning. Bayer's team produced a first and a second and leads by five points over Gary Tisdale's Top Gun and Martin Burke's Bella Vita, both of whom have eight points. Armando Silvestre was perfect in the Beneteau 40.7, winning both races. He leads by two points over Mike Honeysett's Wiki Wiki, which was second in both races. Warren Gross's Silhouette was third in both races and is, obviously enough, in third. The two other classes who ventured out to the Near Ocean course were the J/80s and the Solings. John Steen's Underdog is now a favorite in the J/80 after winning the first race and finishing second in the second. He leads by two points over Curt Johnsons' Avet. Ian Wareham's Ghost Rider won both races in the Soling class with John Walton following him across the finish line in each case. Racing for all these classes, plus the Flying Dutchman, Fast 40, J/120, J/105, J/24, and Martin 16, will take place at the 2005 San Diego NOOD through Sunday.