A Bumpy Start in Larchmont

Sometimes one-designs boats are like magnets, and the breezy opener of the Sperry Top-Sider Larchmont NOOD delivered all the magnetism the J/105 fleet could handle.

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After years of bobbing around in photo boats attempting to be "professional" photographers we (the Sailing World editors) finally got smart and convinced the NOOD regatta management to hire Tim Wilkes and his crew to do what they do best. This, of course, was a calculated move. For if we weren't stuck in the rib or oversized press boat, we'd finally get to sail at the events and bang around the cans with a few of the locals on their own turf.

One call, or rather, one e-mail, was all I needed on Thursday afternoon to find myself a ride. By way of Joerg Esdorn, leader of the local J/105 posse (and soon-to-be president of the class), this morning I found myself searching out Nathan Boylan's JoySea, tucked away in a non-descript marina in New Rochelle, New York. The J/105 class has been around for almost 20 years, and somehow, someway, I can't believe I've never once raced one.

The J/105s will be sailing their North Americans in this same area of Long Island Sound in November, so we have a solid turnout for this year's NOOD, alongside the regular Larchmont one-design fleets: Beneteau 36.7s, Shields, J/109s, Melges 24s and more. In fact, the 105s are the big fleet once again, and in this big fleet, I would learn over the course of four races, there's a whole gamut of talent. Somehow, that talent seems to come together quite regularly at mark roundings. Interesting to say the least.

With that, there was a whole lot of bumpin' happening; the fleet is guilty of a sea of red flags, dents, and bruises. Before the day was out, two boats retired with damage (Jato and Esdorn's Kinsmen (pre-start collision), another took a hard swipe at the race committee boat's starboard rail (botch barge attempt). Even us, on JoySea marked the day with scar across our port topsides (a result of the mother of all weather mark cluster@#$#s). The crew of Peter Rugg's Jaded, somehow had its stern-pulpit sheared off the boat by sprit being where it wasn't supposed to be.

Bumper cars aside, it was a great day of racing, with whitecaps, shifty winds and four hour-long races. On JoySea, we played our consistency card early with a 5-5-4, but coughed it up at the weather mark of the last race with a late port approach. Meanwhile Mr. Consistency Damian Emery, the skipper of Eclipse, has once again found himself atop the fleet-he having masterfully extricated himself from the aforementioned weather-mark incident.

With sun and lighter winds forecast, I'm sure the fleet will be in a different mood tomorrow. Either way, we're bringing extra duct tape. We'll bring you more from across the fleet tomorrow, so stay tuned. Until then, here's the results and how the day went down for everyone else.