It Came Down to the Final Beat

John Burnham

“We rounded the leeward mark just in front of Conundrum,” said Damian Emery, skipper of the J/105 Eclipse, “but we needed 5 boats between us to beat them for the series.” The regatta leader before the race, Joerg Esdorn’s Kincsem, had opened the door for both boats on the first beat and eventually struggled to a 16th place finish. On the long, lopsided last beat up-current, first one boat passed Conundrum on the left, then three more on the right. Then, just before the finish, the breeze backed to the southeast, and another boat came slipping along to the finish line under spinnaker to give Emery and crew the last point they needed. “Somehow all the cards fell into place,” said Emery, shaking his head.

The four owners of Conundrum had had good speed early in the regatta with Harald Edegran at the helm and had decided to forsake their usual race-by-race rotation to keep Edegran driving. “We might have been pointing 10 degrees lower than some boats, but we were blowing through them to leeward,” said one partner, Tony Leggett. Who knows, but perhaps Edegran was nervous on that final beat because he was cutting it close to get in and referee a soccer game. Partners Leggett, Mike Puleo, and Jeremy Henderson were philosophical about losing the series and still felt they did well in the regatta in this their second year owning the boat. “The key to racing on the Sound,” said Leggett, “is to keep your spirits up, as well as your speed.”

That’s the way the Sailing World NOOD regatta ended up on Sunday, and tough as it was to have yet another, shortened, light-air race on the J/105 course, it was even tougher for the other 12 classes, none of which finished a race and several of which didn’t even start. The breeze hovered in the 3- to 4-knot range from the southwest and never came in with any strength. So the results from Saturday’s racing became the final. Unfortunately, for those classes that didn’t begin racing on Friday, the series consisted of only one or two races.

The J/27s, which sailed three days, counted the event as their North American championship, which was won by Doug Davies’ Amethyst, of Stony Brook, N.Y. Davies is a past champion (2000) and class treasurer. “We’re consistent,” he said, pointing to his series score of three seconds, but he could’ve been referring to his time in the boat--17 years.

Class president Kurt Weiss finished third in Eorapter behind Robert Ransom’s Anne Rose, and described the renewed interest in the class, concentrated in the Buffalo, Long Island Sound, and Annapolis areas. “People want to buy the boats,” he said, “but even with several hundred boats built, it’s hard to find a used boat.” He said that used boats go for $15,000 to $25,000 depending on sails and trailer, etc., but many are owned by non-racers who love them as much as the racers.

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| John Burnham|

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| Part of the new Soverel 33 national champion crew, led by skipper Paul Jeka (right).* * *|

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In other championship action, Paul Jeka’s Santana team, from Elizabeth, N.J., picked up the Soverel 33 Nationals title with four firsts and a third. Their performance was one of the best for the regatta, and their two victories on Saturday earned them the Hall Spars & Rigging Boat of the Day Award as well.

The J/30 East Coast Championship went to Joe McCann’s Paddy Wagon, of Glen Cove, N.Y., which won the only race sailed (the series started Saturday). Al Constants, of Locust Valley, N.Y., won the one-race series for the J/24 Long Island Sound Championship on Blitz, and Mark Ewing’s Riot, from Glencoe, Ill., handily won the 5-race Farr 40 East Coasts.

The Level 72 Fleet, an 8-boat class made up principally of Express 37s, presented a new perpetual trophy to Matt Baldwin, owner of Cabady from Fairfield, Conn. The trophy, a mounted half model of the 37, is named in memory of Express designer Carl Schumacher. Although it was first won by Adam Loory’s Soulmates, it was only completed a few months ago so this was its public unveiling. Cabady won the first race on Saturday and finished third in the second to beat Lora Ann, Draco, and Troubador by three points. Soulmates won the second race and finished a point further astern.