Doug Weakly's J/24 Red Stripe Wins the Lands' End Texas NOOD

A scoreline of straight bullets sends the Corpus Christi-based Red Stripe crew to the Carribbean NOOD Championship

Houston NOOD
Tony Bessinger

Despite a dire forecast for the final day of the Lands' End Texas NOOD two races were sailed by all classes. The passage of the expected cold front early Sunday morning brought breeze, but not as strong as expected. The seas, which had been kicked up by two days of strong southerlies, flattened out somewhat overnight, but came right back up when the northerly began pumping up to 18 to 20 knots by the first start of the day. Thanks to the conditions, another racer took an unexpected swim, making a total of four sailors in the drink over the three-day event. All were recovered, and all kept sailing, but the race committee on the small boat course mandated the wearing of lifejackets for the final race of the event.In the 8-boat J/24 class, the rich kept getting richer, as Doug Weakly's Red Stripe crew scored two bullets, giving them a total of eight first-place finishes in eight races. As a result, Weakly was awarded the overall win at the Texas NOOD and he and his crew will be heading to the British Virgin Islands in November to race against the overall winners of the other eight Lands' End NOOD regattas. "The conditions were challenging," said Weakly. "My crew sailed very well." Weakly's team included Tom Kane in the middle position, David Herschap trimming, Corey Harding on the bow, and Becca Holley, also working the middle of the boat. "We were conservative," said Weakly. "Our plan was to make no mistakes, and sail downwind conservatively. We're from Corpus Christi, so sailing in chop is pretty typical for us. We never wiped out, and we had clean starts."Weakly and his team did suffer one misfortune; before the regatta even started, they'd damaged their spinnaker. "We set it to get out to the racecourse on Friday," said Weakly. "We were planning downwind and a huge puff hit us and ripped the spinnaker." They sailed with a backup kite on Friday, had the ripped kite repaired Friday night, and used it for the rest of the regatta. Weakly said he's never been to the BVI, but was looking forward to testing himself against the other NOOD overall winners on the Oceanis 393s from Sunsail's charter base in Tortola.Other winners at the Texas NOOD included Matt Mayo's Melges 24 trick monkey, which finished 11 points ahead of the next Melges, Beer Goggles, skippered by Sam Vasquez. In the J/105 class, Bill Zartler's Solaris was the winner, 21 points ahead of Barry Brown's Blue Max, which broke a tiebreaker with Vic Forsyth's Aftershock to place second. Tom Sutton's J/35 Leading Edge won the Level 70 class by 10 points over Jeff Kitterman's As-If. The J/109 class had some close competition, but in the end it was all about Jon Halbert's Vitesse, who won the class by four points over Walter Prater's Pirate. Halbert was also given a half-hull trophy at the awards ceremony for winning the J/109 North American championship, sailed in Newport, R.I., last July.The six-boat J/80 class was dominated by le KICKS, skippered by Bill Rose, which scored eight straight first-place finishes to win the class by 18 points. Robert Onsgard's Fifty-Fifty, a Corsair 28R, overcame a first-race OCS deficit of 10 points to win his eight boat class by three points over Marc Waters' Menage a Trois. Only two Etchells sailed the entire eight-race series, and they ended up tied at the end of racing. Taking the tiebreaker was Paul Koeller's Extra Spicey, because they had more first-place finishes than Ken Womack's Flying Colora. The Star class played it safe for most of the regatta, and stayed on the dock. In the one race they sailed, only two boats started, and only one finished, Ben Miller's Bling. As a result, Bling was given the class win. Terry Flynn's J/22 Tejas sailed an immaculate regatta, scoring 8 first-place finishes to win the class by 12 points. Another team rebounding from an OCS in the first race was Pete Harper's Catalina 22 Hummingbird, which flew its way to the win after scoring seven firsts after the OCS. Robert William's Squawline was the winner of the nine-boat Ensign class, but had some competition from Dean Snider's LITTLE OIL, which finished the event only two points behind Squawline. For complete results, see www.sailingworld.com