Good Things Come to Those Who Race

When the wind finally showed up in earnest, it was time to get down to business in Annapolis, and it was business as usual for 270 entries.


Dave Reed

Sometimes it's worth the wait and today's brilliant weather conditions in Annapolis proved just that. With 10-15 steady knots of wind and bright sunshine, competitors at the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta were treated to a final day of perfect conditions after enduring two days of postponed racing. Paul Van Ravensway (Annapolis, Md.) on Millennium Falcon was named the regatta's overall winner among the 270 boats entered and received a Sunsail charter during the 2007 Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta Championship, in the British Virgin Islands, where he will compete against the overall winners from each stop on the nine-regatta Sperry Top-Sider NOOD circuit. Van Ravensway and his Millennium Falcon finished a mere 2 points over Tony Parker (Annapolis, Md.) on Bangor Packet to win the 16-boat J/24 class. All NOOD sailors who made a donation of $50 or more received an exclusively-designed Sailing for Miracles burgee donated by Sperry Top-Sider and Sailing World. At the end of the regatta, the 1200 competitors raised $3,495 on behalf of Sailing for Miracles and its partner, the Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital. With four races completed yesterday and only two races to try and break the tie in the Etchells class, Rob Hitchcock (Dorchester, Mass.) and Raymond Harrington (Bomoseen, Vt.) needed every ounce of luck and skill for both races. After Harrington finished 6th in the first race, he fell behind Hitchcock by three points in the 17-boat class. Things went his way in the last race; he finished in second place and Hitchcock slipped back to seventh place to give Harrington the class win. Joseph Bainton (Stamford, Conn.) put the pressure on the rest of the top five boats, finishing fourth in the first race, and then winning the last to take third overall. Last year's overall champion, Greg Fisher (Annapolis, Md.) repeated his winning ways and won the 37-boat J/22 class over Pete McChesney (Annapolis, Md.) by three points. Going into the last race, both boats were tied. "We were lucky that was a good time to get a good start and unfortunately for Petey he didn't get a good start, said Fisher. "We were able to watch where he was and sit on him, control the situation a bit. I think we were very fortunate we didn't have bad breaks or get hung out on one side." Yesterday's class leader Devils Play, owned by Bill Abbott (Lakewood, Ohio), struggled in today's gusty conditions and slipped to 7th overall. In Division 2, John Stefancik (Severna Park, Md.) won both of today's races and swept the 6-boat S2 9.1 class on his Hurricane Kelley. The top two boats in the Cal 25 class continued to duke it out among themselves today with Jimmy Praley (Annapolis, Md.) on Upchuck winning by tie-breaker with Timoth Bloomfield (Sherwood Forest, Md.) on White Cap. Excitement continued in the S2 7.9 class where after the first race, Bob Fleck's (Alexandria, Va.) Horizon led David Flechsig's (Port Charlotte, Fla.) Rooster Tail by one point even though Fleck won the race. Horizon won the last race giving it the class overall win. As in most of the classes, the top two Melges 24s were tied for the lead going into today. In the end, it came down to the final race. Chris Larson (Annapolis, Md.), sailing on Panic Attack, described the day. "After first race yesterday, when we had a 5th, we thought we might've blown the regatta," he said. "But things turned around for us and we were tied coming into today. Everything went well for us. It was tricky and shifty. Into the last race, we had a two-point lead on Gill and 3-4 points on everyone else, so as long as we kept a boat between us, we'd be ok. It was looking close on the second upwind leg. We were in light air and chop, and Gill was in a 30-degree lefty. At the top mark they caught up to us. On the downwind finish, Madro (Jeff Madrigali, tactician) rounded behind us and we ended up staying in front. He tried to stretch it out, taking more chances. Luckily for us it didn't work out for him. We finished 150-200 meters in front of them." Panic Attack will compete in the class's world championship to be held next week. There were no changes in the 14-boat J/30 class. Big Kahuna, owned by Larry Christy (Annapolis, Md.), placed second in both races, but combined that with his two wins yesterday to take the class win by two points over Smiles, owned by John McArthur (Stratford, Conn.). Grealy Putnam's (Annapolis, Md.) Better Mousetrap finished in third. With only one race on the board after yesterday, the J/105 class turned in two races today. Peter Schellie's (Annapolis) Freedom did well in the last race, finishing third, and won the 45-boat class over Marty Hublitz's (McLean, Va.) Veloce. In a tremendous comeback, Jim Richardson (Boston, Mass.) and his Barking Mad won both races to move up to second overall in the nine-boat Mumm 30 class. After recovering from a premature start that left him in 7th overall, they excelled in the strong 15-knot wind to win both races and finish second overall one point behind Black Seal, owned by Kevin Young (Windmere, Ohio). In the Melges 32 class - racing for its East Coast Championship - Michael Carroll and Martin Kullman's (Tampa, Fla.) New Wave turned in a consistent day with a 2-1 and finished first overall, just three points ahead of Ramrod, owned by Rodrick Jabin (Annapolis, Md.). In third palce in the 13-boat class was Star, owned by Jeff Ecklund (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). The Melges 24 Underdog, owned by Peter Wenzler (Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.), was selected as the Sperry Top-Sider Boat of the Day and each crew member will receive a pair of performance Sperry Top-Sider shoes. The 2007 Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regattas will sail next into Detroit, Mich., June 1-3. Additional venues for 2007 include Boston, Mass.; Chicago, Illinois;.; Houston, Texas; Larchmont, N.Y.; San Diego, Calif.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; and Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Sperry Top-Sider is the national title sponsor of the St. Petersburg NOOD which is presented by Sailing World. Support sponsors include Gill, Sunsail, North Sails, Budweiser Select, Active Network and Mount Gay Rum. For more information on the 2007 Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta in Annapolis, including daily results and images by Sailing World Editor Dave Reed, go to Additional photos from are also posted in Sailing World's photo galleries. Daily highlights videos will be available online at