Land's End Texas NOOD Regatta Day 1

Light air marks the start of the Land's End Texas NOOD

Everyone likes to blame it on the wind. Too much wind, not enough wind, headers, knocks, holes…there are almost as many descriptions for bad winds as there are kinds of sailboats, but the ten fleets competing in Day One of the Galveston NOODs can't use the winds as a scapegoat. The winds were just about perfect -- blowing at 8 to 12 with just enough velocity changes and wind shifts for an alert crew to capitalize on. "It was a beautiful day for sailing!' said J22 helmsman Terry Flynn. " The wind kept us on the windward rail most of the day but not so much that we were burying the leeward rail. Three first in three races may have sweetened Flynn's outlook but Star sailor Jose Oti agreed. "I don't think you'd want to print how I feel about my sailing today but the conditions were great." Making good use of the wind with lots of close racing was the recently reorganized Houston Star class "It's great to see the local Star fleet, which was organized in 1936 back on the water and doing so well here," said Star fleet captain, Ben Miller. "It's a great boat to sail and our local fleet is very competitive." The steady breeze had enough shifts that the competitors still had to focus on tactics. "We didn't always tack on very small lift that came our way," said Mac Kilpatrick who led the Star fleet with second, third and first place finishes. "It can run you right up the middle of the course where you tack more and don't benefit as much from the lifts. We prefer being on the outside to leverage the shifts. On the last leg, of the day we rounded with second place boat right on us and they stayed in the middle," said Kilpatrick. "We went out on the left and it leveraged us way ahead at the finish." In the J/80 fleet, Glen Darden's Le Glide swapped wins with Jay Lutz's Synergy to leave them tied at the end of the day. According to Darden "On the first race we rounded the windward mark behind Lutz but managed to get on top of them on the downwind leg and take their air. After that, they couldn't get back around us," said Darden. In the second race Darden found himself in fourth place but was again able to use a lifts on the down wind leg to regain second in the race. "Today had good wind but it was an up and down breeze so you had to shift gears," said Darden. "Going to weather we played the out haul and the sheets quite a bit. We were playing the traveler more than main sheet which we think deals with the lumpy water better." Tied for the lead in J109 fleet were Steve Rhyne's Mojo and Albrecht Goethe's Hamburg. Rhyne relied on consistency with two second-place finishes to Albrecht's first and third place finishes. One point back in third, was Jon Halbert on Vitesse with a first and fourth. Rhyne credits his new North Sails "heavy runner" chute with helping them recover from midpack starts and catching back up with leaders. "Even though the air wasn't that heavy, the sail still drove well,' said Rhyne. " If the wind had gone really light we would have been in trouble but in the medium air it helped us project more sail area out from behind the main. With this chute, if you try and heat it up, the entire chute will drop in behind the main and depower," said Rhyne "In order to achieve maximum projection of the chute on the spirit rigged J109, Rhyne puts the whole crew out on the weather side and eases the tack line to rotate the chute out." Since the 109 won't plane our goal is to constantly press down course as far as we can without covering the chute." For Day 2 of the regatta the competitors are looking forward to more goods winds, which are expected to build slightly, for another day of tight racing. -Chris Lee