Larchmont NOOD, Two Short Days On the Sound

On Long Island Sound, light winds are par for the course on Long Island Sound, and 81 teams made the best of it on the opening day of the 2006 Lands' End NOOD Regatta in Larchmont.

Many weekend regattas span three days, and for good reason. The first day is for sizing up your competitors and working out the forgotten kinks in the crew work. The second day is for taking a few risks to claim a spot somewhere in the fleet hierarchy. And on the third, you either play conservative, letting the guy ahead in the standings tank a race or two by banging the wrong corner, or throw down a few risky moves for one last desperate attempt a better stake in the overall standings. But the Larchmont NOOD regatta is a two-day affair, and by the looks of things on Long Island Sound today, you'd never know it was the first day of racing. In the light air that streaked across the sound in shifting patches, competitors were scattered across their racecourses, leveraging hard for extra wind and a lucky shift or two. There are 81 boats total here this weekend, spread across nine divisions, and not surprisingly, J/105s have pulled in the greatest attendance with 17. At the top of the heap is Damian Emery's Eclipse, who could likely sail his sprit boat with his eyes closed. In three races, today, Emery's team from Shoreham, N.Y., put three top-three finishes on the scoreboard, and all were hard earned points. "Our first race was good [they won it], but in the second we were over early," says Emery. "We were able to clear quickly and just sail off for clear air." They found plenty of the clean stuff on the left side of the racecourse and clawed back to finish second. The third race was tough, too, and after switching sides of the racecourse in search of better wind-this time finding it on the right by watching boats further up the course-they managed to end the day with a third and a 6-point lead over Kevin Grainger's Cyan, which had 5,6 finishes and won the third race. While Emery's crew was sweating its points, Roy Halverson's Crossbow, from Tenefly, N.J., eased into the lead in its seven-boat Beneteau 36.7 class. With each race there was a clear division between the top half and back of the fleet and Crossbow was regularly out front. "It's simple; it's all about great crew work," says Halvorsen, who culled his multinational squad from his connections at Manhattan YC. But there's more to his lead than solid crewwork; there's his helmsman, Anthony Pulgram, a New York opera singer, and says Halvorsen, "an excellent sailor." "We struggled a bit when the wind was under six knots," says Pulgram. "But when the wind picked up we had great speed. Each race was tricky because the fleet kept splitting, but we just tried covered our side the best we could. The left was steady all day." Crossbow is one of three teams to win all three of its races, the other two are Adam Loory's Soulmates, in the seven-boat Express 37 division, and Simon Strauss' Melges 24 Team Gill. The J/109 division has 15 teams in attendance, and at the top of this fleet is Adrien Begley's Mad Dogs, hailing from Atlantic Heights, N.J. Begly, a software developer on Wall Street is relatively new to the 109, and has had mixed results so far this summer. But this weekend he pulled together an all-star "Jersey crew" and it's working for him. Begley says his tactician, Dave Dempsey, kept them in the better wind all day. "We had two good starts and one bad race-it was an effort to get back in the fleet in that one," says Dempsey. With a second, a seventh, and a definitive win in the last race, Mad Dogs closed the day tied with Steve Fumuary's Patriot, from Rye, N.Y. The top-five boats are crammed together, separated only by 6 points. David Nauber's Wolverine leads the eight-boat Frers 33 division; Fred Werblow leads the 13-boat Shields division by 1 point; John McArthur's Smile is the top J/30, and Roger Wagner's Endurance has a 2-point lead in the Farr 395 division.