Great Racing Starts Off the First Day of the Lands' End Toronto NOOD

197 Boats on four race circles sailed as many as four races in the shadow of Toronto's CN tower.

The second annual Toronto Lands' End NOOD Regatta began on a warm, somewhat breezy day, and 197 boats on four race circles racing at least two races, with D Circle racers really going for it and getting off four. At the beginning of the day it looked as though the Lake Ontario weather might not cooperate; it was dead calm, but with no starts planned before 12: 30, there was plenty of time for the sea breeze to fill in, and it did. Eric Coghwell sails on Roger Walker's J/35 Battlewagon, last year's class winner. "We got a 5, 2 for the day even though we were short one body," said Coghwell. "On the first race we were also a little late for the start, then we had a port/starboard situation which forced us to veer off, then the boat we had a problem with sat on us. We haven't been out too many times this year, so the first race was a good practice run." In the second race the crew of Battlewagon began to settle in and had a much better finish in the 11-boat class. "We had a much better start," said Coghwell. "We had clear air and were reading the wind and water better. We also figured out the short-one-man issue, even though the guy we were missing was the tactician. His replacement did a great job, and we got second." Battlewagon lies in third place behind Wally Hogan's Jake, in second, and Mark and Kurt Sertl's Das Blue Max, in first. Coghwell's girlfriend, Mehnaz Ahmad, is the mastwoman on Michael Sonosky's Beneteau 36.7 Full Scale. "In the first race we were second or third from last," said Ahmad. "The boat's brand-new and we've only had three week's worth of practice. Our mainsail trimmer is out of action with a bad knee and we replaced him with Gwen Evans and she kicked ass. She only weighs about 125 pounds, but she was trimming just like any 200-pound guy would, especially since she wasn't trained for it." Although Full Scale isn't setting the regatta on fire yet, Ahmad said that tomorrow "we'll stay upbeat, try hard, and get better starts." Monte Friesner, racing on Circle B's Level 60-69 class on his C&C 41 Passion III, had no idea what his finishing place was at the end of the day, but it didn't seem to matter all that much. "We did good today, but our first start wasn't great," said Friesner. "I got cut off, but that kind of stuff doesn't bother me, I just love regattas like this." His enthusiasm also extends to his boat; it's the third C&C 41 he's owned. "I've had this one since 2001, when I bought it and had it completely refurbished," he said. "It's a nice boat to handle: comfortable, fast, and in today's windspeed, 18 knots, the boat is perfect." Friesner is also enthusiastic about his crew. "They do a great job," he said. "Most of the crew have been with me for two or three years. I get a kick out of training crew; I'll take beginners out a lot and teach them how to sail." Friesner has a tradition that his crew must enjoy. "I've got a policy," he said. " I make Pina Coladas out of kiwi fruit and coconut rum for everyone at the end of racing every day. I get a kick out of doing that." "We started in eight knots of breeze and ended the day with 12," said NOOD PRO Sue Reilly. "The committee work has been excellent. We ran eight races on B Circle for the J/105s, Ultimate 20s, Levels 90-96, Levels 123, Levels 132-135, Levels 144-150, and the C&C 34s." All the circles are running four-leg races for the regatta, with gates and offset marks. Because the water depths run over 150 feet, the race committees on Lake Ontario use the cinderblock method of mark setting. "We're using cinderblocks tied with polypropylene rope, and when it's time to move a mark, the mark boat crew simply cuts the line, retrieves the buoy, and attaches another cinderblock. The stern of our committee boat is loaded with cinderblocks." Friday night's festivities were hosted by the National YC, with ferries bringing racers over from the Royal Canadian YC to enjoy drinks and dinner and collect their daily prizes. Saturday's party will be hosted by RCYC, which means that the sailors camped out in National YC's small tent city next to the clubhouse will be guaranteed the peace and quiet they may not get tonight.