A Chicken With Moves in Larchmont

Solid September winds and sun make for a tasty first day at the Sperry Top-Sider Larchmont NOOD Regatta.

David Spence's J/105 Synergy takes the easy cross in tightly-bunched 105 race.
David Spence's J/105 Synergy takes the easy cross in tightly-bunched 105 race.Dave Reed

If you are a sailor in the Northeast and not you were not on the water today, then shame on you. Here, on Long Island Sound, at the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta in Larchmont, September was in its full glory. And if you're from the Northeast you know exactly what I mean: a warm, building southerly, and not a cloud in the sky-that is if you discount the low haze drifting downwind from the nearby megalopolis. And a day with wind on the Sound is a day worthy of a regatta.For a quick snapshot of what really what happened on the water today, take look at the results-there you'll find everything you need to see who finished where. But the results don't do us any justice in showing how close the racing was in many of the regatta's eight classes. With a moderate breeze, there were plenty of packs, crowded mark, roundings, and penalty turns, which naturally makes for some good story swapping on LYC's front lawn.To get at least one good one, all I had to do was find Forrest Williams, a former SW staffer who's now on his second season with Stephen Tesdeschi's J/109 Tastes Like Chicken. Mind you, second season is a big deal, maybe even a tour of duty. "We've had about 40 new crew over the past two years," Forrest tells me. "There's always new people at every regatta." Somehow, despite-or maybe in spite of-such crew turnover, Tedeschi's Taste Like Chicken is arguably one of the teams to beat in the J/109 class. Even last year's Larchmont NOOD overall winner, Alden Begley, was defenseless against the flying chickens. "You guys had unbelievable speed and the height," Begley confesses to them. Speed in height he couldn't match. Yeah, there's that, says Williams, plus "one of the best moves of the season."He describes it as such: Tastes Like Chicken was overlapped and to leeward of Begley going into one particularly tight leeward mark rounding, and there was only one thing to do to sucker punch them-something they'd practiced just for this occasion, a little something they call "the wild thing." Just before the two length zone, toss in a quick jibe of the mainsail to jump onto starboard, throw off your opponent with a little element of surprise, jibe back round the mark ahead. Nice. I wouldn't be surprised to see Begley return the favor tomorrow.Regardless, with a 1-1-2 for the day, Taste Like Chicken has a 2-point lead over Steve Kenney's Gossip, and Tedeschi has no problem with an otherwise flawed scoreline. "It's good not to win every race," he says with a straight face. "It's not good for the class to have the same guy win every race."Tell that to Adam Loory and the crew of the Express 37 Soulmate (currently leading the Level 72 class) and I'd bet you'd get different response. These guys have won more than their share of races and don't seem to mind one bit. They finished off the day with a scoreline neatly stacked with only one, as did John Hammel's Elan in the nine-boat Beneteau 36.7 fleet. With this being only a two-day regatta, that's the kind of first day you want in order to be able to kick back and enjoy the free pour Mount Gay. And speaking of which . . . For results for the J/30, J/27, Shields, and IRC classes, be sure to check the results, and we'll report in from a few of them tomorrow.