First Day of the Lands End St. Petersburg NOOD Regatta Begins With Breeze

It's breeze on for the first day of the Lands End St.Petersburg NOOD regatta and the 218 boats in 22 classes

The first day of the 2005 Lands End NOOD regatta was a great day of racing, with enough breeze-12-to15 knots-for some of the 22 classes to get four races off. Wind speeds hovered in the low teens, the sky was crystal clear, and the air temperature, while a little chilly, kept crews cool despite the red-hot competition. Don Corey, of Charlotte, North Carolina, knows what it takes to be a winner in the Ultimate 20 class; after all, he has eight years of experience in the class and was the national champion in 2002 with his boat, Uh-Huh, but his score line at the end of the first day of the Lands End St. Petersburg NOOD is a clear demonstration that things change. " We were very mediocre today; middle of the pack," he said. "This fleet is getting better." Corey is sailing with a crew that's never sailed as a team before, but feels they were dialed in despite their results. "The left side of the course was definitely favored, but we went right in the first two races and paid the price. It's not all about skill, it has a lot to do with luck." The largest class in the regatta is the 47-boat Melges 24 fleet, where Gary Schwarting and his crew on Obsession lie in 34th place after four races. "This is a fantastic fleet,' said Schwarting. "You have to get a good start and catch the first shift." For Saturday, when the wind is forecast to drop, Schwarting doesn't plan on changing his boat's setup too much. "The rig is where we want it to be," he says. "We're not going to jump the gun, we'll wait to see what it's like in the morning and go from there." Mike Jagielski is sailing in the Hobie 33 class on Matthew Petrat's Hot Stuff. "We're having a blast," he said. "At first we thought we'd have a rough ride in the breeze, but it laid down a little and we were OK, even though we were shorthanded by two people. Matt's doing well and we've got some great sailors on board and we held the boat together." Hot Stuff is in fifth place in the eight-boat class. Joe Baber, of Dallas Texas, is sailing aboard White Donkey in the Wavelength 24 class, and had a great day in the nine-boat class with a 1-1-1-2 record, which puts them in first by three points. "We were able to go to weather well," said Baber, "but off the wind we seemed to excel. We chose the right place on the course and we're able to read the water very well. In the last race we were concerned with two boats and picked the wrong one to cover, that's why we got second in the last race of the day." Baber gives credit to helmsman Mark Shepard, who, he says: "drove his ass off today." Knowing that his team will have a target painted on them Saturday, Baber said White Donkey's crew have to sail their own race and try not to be overly concerned. "We'll try to have as much boat speed as possible and keep the boat moving."