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A Day of Upsets Off Alcatraz

After three more races on San Francisco Bay, some teams leave celebrating and others licking their wounds.

September 1, 2003
Dave Reed

A series lead is never a sure thing, especially in San Francisco. At the start of racing today, the second and final day of the SailingWorld NOOD Regatta presented by Mount Gay Rum, four of eight individual class leaders were sitting firmly atop their classes, but things changed quickly after several more races in 10 to 15 knots.

The biggest upset of the day, which was no surprise to the locals, came in the 32-boat J/105 class. Yesterday’s leader, Bruce Stone’s Arbitrage, had a tough day with two mid-fleet finishes, and while they struggled, North American champs Chris Perkins and Dave Wilson’s Good Timing, flaunted their winning form, turning in a 2-2 performance to win the regatta’s largest class.

“We’re on a roll this season,” said Perkins, who normally drives, but trimmed jib this weekend, handing the helm over to his brother Phil. “Our team has sailed together many years, but we’re finally getting real consistent. We had a 15 yesterday, which was a bit of a disappointment, so we went into today aiming to win both races. As usual, getting off the line with a good start was key.”

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| Dave Reed|

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| Racing was tight in the J/105 class; collisions and penalty turns were aplenty.* * *|

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In the 29-boat Melges 24 fleet, overall leader Jeff Ecklund, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., knew he’d have hard time keeping tabs on the determined Italian entry campaigned by Giovanni Maspreo and skippered by Lucas Santella. In the day’s first race, the Italians nailed a perfect start and were rewarded with their second win in the six-race series. Ecklund finished third to keep his lead to 4 points, but then called it quits for the day, leaving the Italians to tangle with Don Jesberg’s local team on Ego. With a 2-2 in the final two races, Santella locked up the regatta and packed his bags to return home to the Mediterranean to practice before returning for the Melges 24 Worlds in October.

“As a Med sailor we’re not used to tides, but we came here to get used to it,” said Santella, the 2003 European M24 champion who only started campaigning the boat in January. “We really needed the practice in windy conditions, too, because every U.S. regatta we’ve done well at has had light winds [they were fourth at their first event in Key West Race Week and second at Acura SORC]. But we’ll go home and work on our speed and boathandling.” With past U.S. Olympic 49er sailor Morgan Larson on his team, Santella said he was confident they’ll be one of the top contenders at the Worlds.”

Scott Seller’s team on the Express 27 Swamp Donkey swept its first three races on Saturday, earning the Hall Spars and Rigging Boat of the Day award, and there was virtually no touching them today, either.

“Yesterday was a bit of a surprise,” he confessed, perhaps trying not to jinx his team before the class’s national championships here next weekend. “I guess because most of us on the boat were dinghy sailors we naturally sail the boat more aggressively than others, with roll tacks and jibes, and this boat is best sailed that way.” Sellers and his teammates have raced their Express 27 in the last six San Francisco NOODs, and have won three straight. “It’s as simple as keeping the crew together,” he says.

That same advice was echoed by J/120 class winner Barry Lewis, another Bay area champion, who traded in his Laser 2 dinghy for his first keelboat two years ago. “This is our second year with the boat and our team, as well as everyone else in this fleet, has gotten dramatically better,” says Lewis. “For us, this weekend was a matter of finally figuring out how to trim the new carbon-fiber main.”

In the eight-boat Farr 40 fleet Jim Kilroy’s team on the Farr 40 Samba Pa Ti, made damn sure Jim Richardson and his team on Barking Mad didn’t walk away with the win. With the Farr 40 course set directly off the St. Francis YC, and with tide flooding into the Bay, Kilroy played the current like any good local team would and finished 2-1-1 in today’s races, the final two with huge leads. Bill Wright’s Zsa Zsa did the same on the 1D35 circle, winning the last two races, and punting Chris and Kara Busch’s Wild Thing into second overall. Jens Jensen’s Hamburger Haus also won its last two races to win the Olson 25 class, and Wayne Cough preserved his lead in the J/24s with 2-3 finishes.

For complete results: http://www.sailingworld.com/sw_article.php?articleID=1985

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