Learning to Love the Light Stuff

Diane Chase

For sailors participating in the Sailing World Larchmont NOOD regatta, Saturday was another tricky day of racing in light air. Shifts, lots of powerboat wakes, and a breeze that maxed out at six and a half knots meant that luck was as much a determining factor as skill.

"It was incredibly challenging out there," said Neil Rattan, of Westport, CT., owner of the Henderson 30 Love Letter. "We didn’t make many mistakes and we forced others to make some. We’ve got a good driver, Kerry Klingler, and the crew has sailed together for three years." Thanks to Klingler, a well-known name in the J/80 and J/105 classes, and an experienced crew, Love Letter stands atop the class with an enviable scoreline of 1, 2, 2, 1. "Our game plan tomorrow is the same; it’s definitely about catching the shifts, that’s critical in a Henderson in these conditions."

For Leo Vasiliev of New York City, tactician on Matt Baker’s J/80 Hyperdrive, clear lanes are the key. "You’ve got to stay in clear air all the time," he said. "That’s the trick." Patrick Hopp of Alberton, Ga., who trims the kite on Hyperdrive, has no problems with the light and shifty breeze. "I’m a lake sailor," he said. "I’m used to this type of wind." Hyperdrive stands in third in the J/80 class, where the battle is between Geoffrey Pierini’s Bada Bing!, with 4 points, and Jason Balich’s Over Achiever, with 5 points.

Alek Kristajic’s Farr 40, Honour, continued its winning ways on Saturday with another pair of firsts in the small but competitive Farr 40 class. "The chemistry on the boat is fantastic," said pit man David Ruskin, of Toronto. "The helmsman (Kristajic), is able to keep his head outside the boat and doesn’t worry about anything the crew does." Kristajic’s enthusiasm for the boat is clear, while the crew relaxed at Larchmont YC after Saturday’s racing, he was working on the boat. "He went out and bought a tap set for a repair we needed," said Ruskin. "He’ll probably be out there ‘til midnight, he just loves to tinker."