Gumption/Mack Daddy Wins Larchmont Overall

Report from the 2005 Lands' End Larchmont NOOD Regatta.

Larchmont NOOD Sunday

Jennifer Davies

The 123-boat Lands' End NOOD Regatta at Larchmont YC concluded on Sunday with top finishers in 15 classes receiving trophies and the highly prized NOOD regatta crew shirts (embroidered by sponsor Lands' End Business Outfitters, of course). Most classes finished the five or six races in the series, and the overall NOOD champion was named, Kevin Grainger's J/105 Gumption, which won a tiebreaker to take the 17-boat class over frequent champion Eclipse, owned by Damian Emery. Their prize is a week's stay at Sunsail's Colonna Resort in Antigua for the Caribbean NOOD championship, a fun event against all the other NOOD champions in January. Grainger overcame a few hurdles simply to sail in the regatta as his boat had an "unfortunate incident" a few weeks earlier when it ran aground. "Basically, we tried to sink the boat," said Grainger, "but fortunately, my good friend Brandon Rose, owner of Mack Daddy, hadn't been sailing his boat much and loaned me his." Then all the 36-year-old former Wall Street trader had to do was learn to sail with a tiller, which Mack Daddy has, instead of a wheel, which Gumption has. "I only learned how to sail in 2000," said Grainger, "and I'd never used a tiller before." "It's great to beat Damian," said Grainger. "We've gauged ourselves against him for a long time. He sails incredibly well." Gumption won two races to Eclipes's one, which spelled the difference on the tiebreak. Grainger said his crew of the last two years may be a bit "rag tag but definitely greater than the sum of their parts," with a tremendous positive attitude toward self improvement. Sailing with him were Jean-Claude Zuccuni, Bill Howard, Jamie Morris, Tom Wey, and Cullin Wible. All of them are planning out their trip to Antigua already. As for Grainger, another year he might be tuning up for next week's J/105 NAs, but instead, he's going home to hang out with his wife Noelle, who was due to have their first baby today. "Hopefully it'll come soon," he said, "but not tonight. I'm too tired." In other classes, Tom Fahy's Ranger 33 Close Enough made history by winning two races to take the class's first championship since the '70s. Fahy, who sails out of the Housatonic Boat Club in Stratford, Conn., got "good clean starts and worked the favored right side," according to class ringleader Stephen Petri, whose Witchcraft fell out of the lead to third place with a 5th in the last race. Norman Kilarjian's Tolo finished second for the series with a pair of seconds on the day. What's next for the R33's-Fahy and Petri were talking about heading for Block Island Race Week next June, and then coming back to Larchmont. "I know of 13 boats in the area," said Petri. "And," said Fahy, "one of my crew is thinking of buying a 33." Making the biggest splash at the awards ceremony, held on the Larchmont YC lawn, was Afterglow, owned by Bill Walker, who despite two 5ths today, beat Rich duMoulin's Lora Ann by one point. DuMoulin, who finished with a 1-3 today, helped present the class's annual Carl Schumacher award to Walker, and then reminded him of the class tradition, which involved carrying Walker to the end of the launch dock for a September swim. Walker has owned the boat for only a couple years and has restored it a great deal. Now he's learning to make it go fast, too. The other highlight of the awards ceremony was the appearance of Olin Stephens, who had made it to Larchmont to watch the Shields fleet race as a tuneup for the Shields Nationals at LYC next week. Stephens reminisced about meetings he'd had at the club over 40 years ago with Corny Shields as they planned the Sparkman & Stephens design of the Shields. Then he presented the first-place award to one of the local fleet's longest-time competitors, Fred Werblow, of Scarsdale, N.Y. Werblow (who beat this reporter's team aboard Grace by 1 point for the series) described the phone call he got in 1973 from Corny Shields after he'd won the Rhodes 19 fleet for the season. "He said, 'Fred, it's time for you to sail a Shields,'" Werblow related. "I told him I was flattered but didn't think I could afford one. he told me, 'I'll give you my boat,' which is the boat Werblow has competed in to this day. Werblow did pay for the boat eventually, and carries on the tradition of Long Island Sound light-air speedsters. In third behind this reporter's boat was Syrinx, Bill Berry's boat from Marion, Mass., just ahead of Com Crocker's Rascal and Rob Dailey's Lady.