Detroit NOOD, Day 1 Report: A Slow, Pleasurable Start

Light winds greeted competitors on the opening day of the event.


Tony Bessinger

Although the first day of racing at the Sperry Top-Sider National Offshore One Design (N.O.O.D.) Regatta in Detroit, Mich. got off to a slow start, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone among the 1200+ competitors who did not enjoy the day. Light wind delayed the Bayview Yacht Club (BYC) race committee's plans to run more than one race, however enough wind - 5-7 knots - settled in on all three racecourses and every one of the 201 boats competing in 19 classes completed one race, enough to shake off the cobwebs and fuel the tall tales at this evening's after-racing social.

Peter Fortune (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) enjoyed the day, despite being beaten by his son and daughter on another Express 27. "It was a nice race for the race we had," he said of his battle against the boat Just the Tip, skippered by John Van Tol (Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.) and chartered with Fortune's son Perrin and daughter Caitlin. "There was not enough wind, but it was a beautiful day." Fortune's Air Force led the seven-boat fleet off the starting line, up to the weather mark, holding a comfortable four boat length lead. "We had a bad set; they jibed inside us and had us all the way to leeward mark. We came into the next weather mark one-half boat length behind them and they held onto the lead. I'm happy they're doing well, but I'd rather be beating them."

C&C 35 Class favorite Siochail, the 2006 season champion owned by Brian Geraghty (Grosse Pointe Shores), leads the 9-boat class ahead of Spirit, a new boat owned by Jim Bennett (Sarnia, Ontario) and Contender owned by Gary Graham (Grosse Pointe). "The competition is usually pretty fierce considering these boats were all built in the early seventies," said the class's 2006 NOOD champion Frank Tenkel, who is in fourth-place on his Bravo. "It can be great fun and yet at times a bummer," he said of the racing. "Most of the skippers and crew know the peculiarities of Lake St. Clair so no one has an advantage in that regard. This has always been my favorite regatta. The only one we missed was when I was recovering from a gall bladder operation two days before the Friday the regatta started. If I had the operation one week earlier, I would have raced!"

In the 25-boat Cal 25 class, the 2006 champion Dale Marshall (Grosse Pointe Woods) finds himself in seventh-place overall, however with only one race in the bag there are still plenty of opportunities for him to climb the standings. "Last year, when we were fortunate to win the regatta, it came down to the last race with 3-5 boats having a good shot to win the regatta," said Marshall. "This year, we will receive strong competition from Holme Brew (owned by David Holme of Grosse Pointe, which currently sits in second place) and Draco (owned by Brian Shenstone & Bob Orr of Grosse Pointe Woods, which is in third-place overall)." This year Clytie is crewed by Marshall's son Nathan, his wife Jennifer, Fred Anderson, David DeWitt and Nick Marcolini, who returns to NOOD racing after serving in Iraq.

Racing continues tomorrow, Saturday June 2 and concludes on Sunday, June 3 where the overall winner will be named. That boat will receive a Sunsail charter during the 2007 Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta Championship, in the British Virgin Islands, where they will compete against the overall winners from each stop on the nine-regatta Sperry Top-Sider NOOD circuit.