Final Day of the 2004 Detroit NOOD Brings More Wind

Participants in this year's Detroit NOOD were given an exemplary demonstration of that rare beast, good sportsmanship, by the skipper and crew of the North American 40, Velero VII, owned by John Barbour, of Detroit. During their third and final race on Saturday, the wind died completely, leaving the five-boat class drifting. Somehow, Velero VII-at the time in second overall with 6 points-managed to cross the finish line inside the three-hour time limit. Unfortunately for the other boats in the class, particularly John Rummel's Majic Star-then in first place with 3 points-were unable to finish within the time limit and given Did Not Finish (DNF) points. At the Bayview YC clubhouse later Saturday afternoon, Rummel asked the race committee for redress, saying that the race should have been abandoned, as it was for the other classes on Circle A that day. His request was denied, and Rummel and his crew were toppled from first by their DNF, despite their strong performance to date. "John [Barbour] didn't know about the protest when he left the club Saturday afternoon," said Velero VII crewmember Sandra Thompson. "But once he found out, he told another crewmember to let the crew of Majic Star know that he'd be withdrawing from the race." Thompson, of Harper Woods, Mich., has been sailing with Barbour for 20 years, 15 on the NA-40. All of Rummel's crew wholeheartedly supported his decision. "When I heard about John's decision, I said that was the honorable thing to do," said Sandy Fullerton, another long-time crewmember aboard Velero VII. "Majic sailed really well on Friday and in the first two races on Saturday, and because of the weather they were denied. You shouldn't be penalized for that." Fullerton went on to say that Majic Star was the first boat in the water every year, and the last to haul out. "Both Rummel and his crew are fine sailors," he said. "They should win under those circumstances." A boisterous crowd filled the tent at the awards ceremony after the final races on Sunday, listening with half an ear to the speaker on the podium until he asked for their silence to make a special presentation. Once the crowd had quieted, the story of John Barbour and the crew of Velero VII's crew was told. Barbour had left earlier to attend his daughter's birthday party, but several members of the crew, including Thompson and Fullerton, were there, and walked to the podium to receive a deafening, minutes-long roar of approval from the crowd. "The owners of both boats are gentlemen," said Thompson, "Corinthian sailors." A few minutes later, they returned to the podium to claim their second-place trophy. It's tough to beat a strong husband-and-wife team, especially when they sail together. Winning the 17-boat J/105 class were Jim and Cynthia Best, of Beverly Hills, Mich. Jim drives the boat while Cynthia trims the main. "We've been sailing together since we met 17 years ago," said Jim. "I don't ever want to go sailing without her; she keeps us fast." Main trimming isn't the only contribution Cynthia makes, she also works with tactician Art LeVasseur, of Grosse Pointe. "Cynthia and I discuss tactics and I tell Jim where to go. Two heads are better than one." Jim and Cynthia have owned their tiller-steered J/105for four years. "A few [15] of us in the Detroit area bought J/105s a while ago," said Jim. "Tiller-steered boats were 1-2-3, in this event, the boat's too small to have a wheel, and in light air, they have an advantage over wheel-driven boats. Dealing with a torn Achilles tendon and an infection in the operated-upon leg, was Ed Bayer, one of the three owners of the J/35 Falcon, and winner of the 9-boat class this year. "I wish I could say that it was hard to do and that I was being heroic, but the easiest thing to do is steer the boat," said Bayer, who owns the boat with his brother John, and Mike Welch. "I was even able to keep the leg elevated like the doctor told me to do. The good thing was that it wasn't too windy, so it wasn't hard to drive." Crescents, Ultimate 20s, and the Express 27 classes all declared Great Lakes Championship winners at the Detroit NOOD. Utopia, owned by David Hume, of Detroit, won the 7-boat Crescent class with 12 points; the Ultimate 20 championship was won by D.U.A., owned by Richard Hunt, of Michigan; the 9-boat Express 27 class was won by Lorax, owned by Ralph and Sara Deeds, of Seattle, Washington. For complete results, see www.sailingworld.com