Hey Jude Takes Toronto Title

Some would've thought three days of wind and sun in Toronto possible, but the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta goes off without a hitch and Doctor Rathbun gets the overall title.

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Dave Reed

Around the docks at the Royal Canadian YC, Jim Rathbun (not Rathburn, my apologies for the mistake in last night's story) can point out the various operations, and there are many he says, that he's done on the sailors at the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta in Toronto: elbows, knees, hips, you name it. His surgical precision has put many a competitor back on the water in good working order, but this weekend the good doctor stitched together his own winning series to take not only the J/105 class title but the event's overall title as well. There's no doubt the Doctor and his talented crew will do well at the Caribbean NOOD Championship to make his RCYC proud. As a longtime competitor, his sailing skills and his intensity on the racecourse are said to be on par with his good-natured humor as well as his rum pour. Such talents will make him hard one to beat in the Sunsail charter boats of the British Virgin Islands. But in today's light to moderate winds on Lake Ontario it was no easy pickings for Rathbun's crew on Hey Jude. Having revealed the importance of staying away from the packs in light air yesterday, he says it was much the same today. After breaking away from a tightly bunched group after they start, they managed a third in the day's one and only race, which the race committee got off after a long wait for wind and two general recalls. "Third was all we needed," says Rathbun. "It was still a tough day, but we had 7 points between us [with Robert Baker's Planet B, which finished second overall.] But enough of the J/105s already. What of the other hundred or so competitors spread across 16 classes? There was a lot happening across the regatta's four circles. Take the J/35 fleet where the Bayer/Barnes/Bayer trio of owners of Falcon mixed it up on the start before breaking away just enough to finish second to Paul Casola's Stryder. In the end, only a single point separated these two boats-this after nine tough races over three days. Mind you those were nine races in winds that peaked at 25 knots and went as low as 7. And let's not overlook the Sharks, the regatta's biggest fleet, and the local one-design standout. This ubiquitous design may be approaching 35 years (as I'm told), but it has found a permanent home here in the Toronto area. Those who race them do so with fervor. At the end of each day the class had a new leader, but class standout Kendra Delicaet came out on top. Her team on UNC didn't win a single race, but they had plenty of top-five finishes in the 18-boat fleet, and sailed every race, including the gear buster on Friday afternoon. Take a look at the scores and you'll see how important it is to keep the alphabet out of one's scoreline. PHRF fleets were a new addition to this event, and given the wide variety of boats scattered across Lake Ontario, there were some interesting match ups in the four divisions. With winds blowing across the range, no one boat could claim to have it their way all weekend. The standouts of the PHRF contingent, however, were John McLeod's J/133 Hot Water and Erwyn Naidoo's J/27 Bohica, which went undefeated. As the big boat in its fleet, Hot Water sailed a near-perfect series (that would be six firsts and a second for the record), and from this writer's perspective on the media boat, their boathandling was superb with every rounding. If there's one thing that stands out about this event, compared to others on the nine-stop NOOD circuit, it's prevalence of young crew and family teams. Fritz Odenbach's Beneteau 40.7 is one such program. With wife Sandra, the kids and other youngins, Odenbach's Amorita won three of seven races to earn their win, all the while enjoying a close contest with Kris and Kirsten Werner's Mullet. "We had a 2-point lead going into today," he says, "and we knew we only had to stay close. It was a battle but we drove them back to fourth place. It was a good way to win it after a hard week, especially after Friday; we only had nine in the crew and we were definitely lighter than anyone else, but [with finishes of 1-2] we were happy to do as well as we did." Last year, says Odenbach, they skipped the awards and drove home disappointed with their third-place finish, but this time they were sticking around for the awards. And awards they got: first overall and the Beneteau First 40.7 Lake Ontario Championship title. Perhaps it's fitting to give the final word of this regatta to Bob Wilson, who has now won it four times straight: the last three with his C&C 99 Trumpeter. He all but had the regatta in hand, but left nothing to chance in the day's final race. "We were only trying to cover Bear Necessity [skippered by Dexter Hallsal] and we had the regatta won. So for the second race I did what I did yesterday. I left the course, took down my No. 1 and put up my No. 2. When the wind gets up into that 12- to 14-knot wind range it's all about sail choice. When you have 12 to 14 you know you'll have gusts to 15, which definitely puts you into the range of the No. 2-with the No. 1 you'll be sliding sideways when those puff hits. Maybe people just get too comfortable with the sail they have up." When it's all said and done the scores speak for themselves, so to see what happened in the regatta's other classes go check them out. Marblehead is next for the NOOD regatta team in July, so be sure to be there or stay tuned to find who else will go up against Canada's sailing surgeon in November.