Bringing It To the Lake In Toronto

Whitecaps on the first day can make you look good, bad, or really bad.

TorontoStory
Dave Reed

Geoff Atkins, of Toronto, has probably heard this already, and he will no doubt hear it again so long as he and his all-amateur crew on the C&C 115 Act II continue to sail as well as they did today in the white-capped opener of the 134-boat Sperry Top-Sider Toronto NOOD Regatta. These guys definitely have their Act together, and if Act II's first act is this good, it makes you wonder how good the next act will be… OK, enough of the wordplay already. In their first race, sailed in a puffy 15- to 20-knot northerly, Atkins and his crew, who he says are recreational sailors who've only been campaigning boat for two years, built a lead so big you could've mistaken them for sailing in one of their circle's other PHRF classes. It was pretty much the same for the next race as the breeze piped up to a gusty 20 to 25. After racing, Atkins, whose boat was rafted up alongside three C&C 115 compadres, shared the day's best performance tip: "In the heavy wind like we had today we've learned that it's all main. We played the main for every puff.," said Atkins, and for the record, there were some biggies. "We had two guys on the main; we're probably the only one with two guys on the mainsheet. One is just constantly grinding the whole race and the other is easing. We were sailing last year in 20 knots and could never keep the boat going straight; it would just want to round up. Today we just watched us gain an eighth of a boatlength in each puff; everyone else was fighting it and we just kept the boat going straight and our speed up." The C&C 115s were fortunate to their weather mark tucked under the lee side of the Toronto Islands, and Atkins says they took full advantage of its placement. "We intended all day to stay in the lee of the island so we didn't get the heavy chop: the boat is light enough that it doesn't like the chop. It was better to be right and even though there was a big left shift in the first race we got part of it and ended up with a good lead. That was partly luck." On the same course, Richard Reid, the Toronto NOOD Regatta's two-time overall winner, was having a hell of a time keeping his Beneteau 36.7 tracking straight, but it in the end it didn't affect his results in the 13-boat fleet. "I was having driving episodes…very bad...," said Reid, of Port Credit, Ontario, shaking his head in self-deprecating shame. "The first beat was very shifty; I was having conniptions; saying to myself, "this can't be…this can't be…I've never seen it like this here, it was all over the place. There'd be this great lift and you'd ride up the lift and then 'bang!"! it would go away and you'd have to fall off 30 degrees. If you were greedy at all on the lift you got hosed." Regardless of his boat's swinging compass and his smart-guy tactician making sense of it all, Reid's Zingara put 2-1 finishes on the scoreboard and assumed the No. 1 spot in the Beneteau 36.7 fleet before the race committee sent everyone packing. "Too bad they called that last race," added Reid. "We needed that race." Atkins, whose Act II was on its own little roll with a win in the second race, was disappointed to be heading in early. "We had only one issue with our genoa halyard shackle breaking," he said. "We were ready to go and wanted a third race; it would have been an easy third race for us." The wind understandably stirred up no of DNFs and DNCs, and there were more than a few elsewhere amongst the regatta's other divisions and classes who were perfectly happy to have races on the table and a late afternoon Goslings Rum fueled drink in hand. "We're happy with what we've got," said the mellow, buzzed head C&C 27 tactician and cooler attendant who goes by the name Masher." He and his mates on Larry Bayer's Yogi Bear, from Niagra On The Lake, Ontario, enjoyed three races and won two of them. They had their problems-blown out headsail hanks and crossed halyards to name but a few, but then again, so didn't everyone else, and tomorrow is another day. The complete results are here, but for those of you've who've read thus and would rather save a step, here's the regatta's leaders by class: 8 Meter: Iskareen, R. W. Weinman; Beneteau 36.7: Zingara, Richard Reid, Beneteau 40.7: Amorita, Fritz Odenbach; C&C 115: Act II, Geoff Atkins; PHRF 110: Hot Water (J/133), John McLeod; C&C 27: Yogi Bear, Larry Bear; J/24: Fifty-Two Scott Collinson; PHRF 200: Still Knot Working (C&C 27 Mark V), Steve Reid; Shark: Toreador, Andrew Morgan; PHRF 129: Bohica (J/27), Erywn Naidoo; C&C 99: Trumpeteer, Bob Wilson; J/105: Planet B, Robert Baker; J/35: Battlewagon, Roger Walker; PHRF 150 (still pending at press time) 2.4 Meter: Bruce Millar.