Compression at the Top

At the Lands' End Detroit NOOD Regatta, a few of yesterday's leaders are today's followers.

Melges Traffic Jam

Jh Peterson

When Detroit's Lake St. Clair lives up to its reputation as a tricky place to race, anything can happen-and usually does-so after three more races today, many classes at the Lands' End NOOD Regatta in Detroit were turned upside down, left, right and sideways. At the end of the day, top teams were sparse points apart.In the 18-boat Cal 25 division, only 2 points separate the top-four teams after Rodney Rask's Entropy won the first two races and finished seventh in the last race to sneak into second overall, 1 point behind David Holmes' Holmbrew, and tie with Stu Thompson's Target Practice, who led after the opening day.For Holmes it was part luck, part patience in the day's 5- to 10-knot southeasterly, but for Harry Bloom's team on the J/105 Dirty Harry, holding onto second overall required more than a little luck. "We didn't do anything special," says Bloom, whose team had 5-6 finishes before finishing second in the last."In the earlier races there was a big 15-degree shift at the top and we got hammered, but in the last we saw that the wind was 20 degrees different at the top of the beat. So off the start, we sat on starboard tack as long as we could, and after we came around the top mark in fourth, we kept an eye on Wish [the series leader, skippered by Colin Mills] and picked off two boats on the run."But one of the most important things today was making sure on the crossings that we were going for clear air and that we were where we wanted to be. In fact, that was one of the most important things for the day: so important that we wrote on our bulkhead: 'Where do you want 2B.' With 15 boats, all you can think about is clear air."The day's conditions compressed the standings at the top of the J/35 fleet as well where Bill Wildner's Mr. Bill's Wild Ride went 2-3-1 to move into the lead by 3 points. The following two boats in the standings are tied. In the J/120 class as well, class leader Robert Amsler's Merlin is tied with Don Hudak's Capers. In the J/24 division, only 2 points separate the top three, with Jim Van De Veldse's Mind Games giving up valuable points to Josh Kerst's Instant Karma, which won two races. Yet, the most surprising compression came in Express 27 class. Harald Kolters' Das Boot, which had won all its races yesterday, started the day by winning a race, finished last in the next, and then followed up with a sixth in the last. Kolter's finishes dropped him to third overall, allowing Ralph Deeds' Lorax to slip into the lead. The standout of the regatta, with a 10-point lead going into tomorrow's final day of racing is David Shriner's Beneteau 36. 7, Legend, hailing from host Bayview YC. They won all three races today, and with the exception of a third yesterday have sailed a perfect series."We tried to sail smart, and clean, and we're a little lucky because we seem to have a lot of boatspeed on everybody else right now," said Shriner. "We're still learning how to sail the boat as much as we can, but we're definitely going well. We're having a good time and we're hoping this will be our lowest scoring regatta. It's great to win a regatta with all bullets, but this is the most we've had with this boat so far, so we're hoping for some more tomorrow." Complete results from all classes