Day 2 Brings Light Wind, Flat Water, and Sun to St. Pete NOOD

Day 2 of the 2007 Sperry Top-Sider St. Petersburg NOOD Regatta featured conditions that were almost the polar opposite of Day 1. Nonetheless, the top dogs from Friday were, in many cases, able to add to their leads.

SPNOOD Day 2 Story
Stuart Streuli

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - While warm sunshine was a welcome start for the eager competitors aboard 195 boats at the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta in St. Petersburg, Fla. this morning, the talk while leaving the dock was how the wind that wreaked havoc yesterday had managed to disappear completely. Principal Race Officer Peter "Luigi" Reggio, together with the St. Petersburg YC Race Committee, made the call to postpone racing and wait an hour for the light breeze to build into suitable racing conditions. Some of the 17 competing one-design classes saw new names on top of the results board, while other classes continue to be led by the same names. One team that continues to dominate is the Excellent crew. Tactician Rob Smith (Manchester, England) described how skipper John Pollard's (Torquay, England) Melges 24 has managed to lead the 44-boat class. "In today's second two races, the breeze came up a little," he said. "We tried to stay ahead of our closest rivals, Gannet, and doing that we were able to extend our lead. The weather today was totally different than yesterday. Today it was light and fluky. It's amazing that yesterday it was blowing 20 (knots) and today we had two hours without much wind." Gannet is owned by Othmar Mueller von Blumencron (Great Falls, Va.) and it is currently in second place tied on points with Melges 24 class president Scott Gregory (Marietta, Ga.) and his team Satisfaction in third. With Sunday's forecast of gusting wind of around 25 knots, the Excellent crew is looking forward to it. "Tomorrow, since there is no discard, we'd like to have two races. If it is blowing 25 knots tomorrow, about 90-percent of the fleet cannot handle it, so 18 to 25 knots would suit us fine," said Smith. Also on Course B was the J/105 class where the top two positions remained the same - Worth Harris (Raleigh, N.C.) in first with 15 points and Steve and Dee Olinger (St Petersburg) in second. Jeffrey Marks (Dunedin, Fla.) and his Wasabi moved into third place by scoring a 3-1-2.Over on Course A, where seven classes competed in three races, Jim Edwards (Satellite Beach, Calif.) and Chris Gates continued their winning ways in the 12-boat Wavelength 24 class, with a 5-1-1 to lead. "It's really tight between us and Bear," said Edwards of his closest competitor. "We have been battling for the past 10 to 12 years. The skipper is Karen Choate and she's very, very good." Although Edwards and Gates have been involved in the class for a while, they have had their boat Whatta Ride for two years. "It's still new to the crew," said Edwards. "We're still learning the boat. For example in the last race today, on the last upwind leg, we had a tacking duel with Bear where we did, maybe, 12 tacks." In the J/109, there wasn't a change in the top two positions, but the third spot was taken by Adrian Begley (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.) with his Mad Dogs & Englishmen. Begley's team posted a 1-1-5 for 20 points overall, only four points from second placed Steve Rhyne (Seabrook Texas) on Mojo and six points away from first place Vitesse, owned by Jon Halbert (League City, Texas).The most significant lead on this course is in the S2 7.9 class where Spike Boston (Point Edward, Ontario, CAN) and his Frequent Flyer have won every race and stand 14 points ahead of second placed John Spierling (Shelby Township, Mich.) and his Rebel. In third place is Joe and Jeff Pawlowski (East Amherst, N.Y.) on Magic, with 22 points. On Course C, two races were held for the seven classes competing. In the six boat Tripp 26 class, William Zehner (Panama City, Fla.) moved into first place overall with a 4-3 finish. "Sometimes when you're in front it puts a bullseye on you and the rest of the guys give you a hard time," said Zehner. "Actually it wasn't too bad. Slapshot was trying to make points back on us. Also, we usually sail with seven, but today we had six because our foredeck crew was sick with the flu and went home." Zehner claimed that any wind conditions were suitable to his TrippNautic, but he would prefer heavier air because, "It's our comfort zone. We're comfortable with 18 to 20 knots." Tom Freeman (St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada) and his Slapshot are in second place with 13 points, while Dennis Hanncik (King George, Va.) is in third with 16 points. Tomorrow's forecast is for a return to strong wind, in the 15-20 knot range. With that in mind, and a number of midwinter class championships on the line, it is a safe bet that every competitor will be looking forward to another day of racing. Racing concludes tomorrow, Sunday, Feb. 18.