With Light Air Comes A Little Luck

Seven knots (at the most) was good enough to put a few more races on the table, but with back-to-back days of light air, the standings are tight, as expected, in all 13 divisions.

Toronto Day 2 Gallery
Dave Reed

Some people don't like to admit it, but sailboat racing-no matter how good or bad you are-inevitably had some degree of luck. But there are others who aren't afraid to admit that the outcome a particular race involves as much of the lucky stuff as it does smart sailing. One guy in particular is John Fromen, whose Beneteau 36.7 Type A leads its 12-boat division after two days of light-air sailing at this weekend's Lands' End Toronto NOOD. "Today, we were absolutely lucky," says Fromen, from Youngstown, N.Y. "In the first race, we hit the pin end of the line at the start and had to do a 360. Everyone was going left, and what were supposed to do? We go right, and my tactician, said, "Hey, we're up 15 [degrees]. We just kept getting lifted up and up…to 30 degrees, and rounded the weather mark first by quite a bit." Fromen finished second to Richard Reid's Zingara in that race, but buoyed by their best finish yet in the three-race series, Fromen says it set them up for the next, which turned out to be even better. "We had an A-plus start; there were a few boats above us, and everyone else below," he says. "We had the boat hammered in and we were going fast, so the two boats above us tacked away and we controlled everything from there. We saw the windshift, went to it, and were first around the weather mark." Refusing to jinx his lucky run, Fromen acknowledges that, with one more day to sail and only 2 points to spare to Reid's Zingara, the Beneteau title is still wide open. All he could offer was, "We'll see how it goes." The Beneteau 36.7s are sharing the same race circle with 8 Meters, Beneteau 40.7s, Level 40s, and Mumm 30s, and with winds never creeping above 8 knots there were plenty of opportunities for gains and losses. And with the wind often shifting dramatically, the spatial separation between the front and back of a few divisions were measured in half-legs or more. In the 8 Meters, Diane Palm's Venture II continues to hold its lead after winning the day's second race (they finished second in the other). The same is true for Kirsten Werner's Beneteau 40.7, Silver Bullet, which won both of her races by comfortable margins. Fritz Odenbach's 40.7 Amorita, however, is only 2 points back in the overall standings. The overall lead in the six-boat Level 40 division-a collection of 40 footers-belongs to Alek Krstajic's Farr 40 Honor, which put another 2 points between themselves and the division's other Farr 40, Eric Moog's Dynamo. In the Mumm 30s, Jim Richardson's Barking Mad brought the eight-boat Mumm 30 series to a tie with Jeff Maludy's Adrenaline; both teams have 7 points, and the exact same finishes, but Maludy stands atop the standings tonight. Next door on the Lake is the Division B circle, which includes the likes of C&C 34s, C&C 39s, J/105s, J/35s, and three level-rated classes. The wind was equally fluky there, but predictable enough for Derek McGenchie, a longtime local and two-time winner at this event, to extend his lead to a single point over Gavin Pitchford's Accelear in the 7-boat C&C 34 division. The first race, he said, was straightforward-a good start, no problems, and a win by a good margin. The second race, however, wasn't so easy. "The start was very boat favored-we got squeezed out at the start and ended up started second to last," says McGenchie, whose Keros is crewed by friends he grew up sailing with on Lake Ontario. "We got sat on by everybody tacked about 10 times to try and clear our air, and rounded the top mark in last place. "But we managed to pick of a boat or two on every leg, and we caught a good shift on the last leg. We could see that the whole fleet was in less wind and getting headed on the left side of the course, so we went right and managed to pick off three more before the top mark and finished second. That was our most favorite race so far." Elsewhere on Division B, the scores are compressed at the top of the C&C 99 division with Bob Wilson's Trumpeteer on top, tied with Mike Kern's Transmission. Lurking 1 point behind, and third overall, is David Guscott's Cutlass. David Shaver's Re-turn turned in 1-3 finishes to push his lead to five points in the J/105 division, as did Roger Walker's J/35 Battlewagon in its division. Adam Farkas' Flak leads the Level 100 group, and Andrew Riem's Curved Air leads the Level 126. At the head of the 14-boat Shark division, sharing Division C with J/24s and C&C 27s, is Kendra Delicaet's UNC. A first in the day's opening race, and a second in the next, had them celebrating with armloads of Mount Gay and Cokes on the lawn of the Royal Canadian YC. "It was shear dumb luck, but the guy responsible is Mark Wiggins [the skipper]," says Delicaet. "In the first race we started at the pin, banged the left side, and came out ahead, but the key thing that we did was sail outside the wall of C&C 27 spinnakers coming down the course." In the next race, they had a bad start, bailed out to the right, consolidated one third of the way up the beat, and were fortunate enough to round second. From there, luck came into play once again-this time, they were simply lucky to finish. "The entire race was 2 hours and 20 minutes," says Wiggins. "The last run took at least 45 minutes." The top C&C 27 on the day, and the division leader is Larry Bayer's Yogi Bear; the leading J/24 is Todd Irving's Narcoleptic. And in the 2.4 Meter division, which is sailing on its own circle, Alan Liebel and Bruce Miller are tied for first with 20 points apiece. For complete results