More often than not, Sailing World reporters take photos at Lands' End NOOD regattas, but this weekend this reporter got to bring a boat along and experience the event as a competitor. Needless to say, with only 3 to 6 knots of wind, our Shields crew was constantly searching for more power, but we were glad the Larchmont YC race committee managed to get off a couple races for us and all of the 14 other classes, except for the Farr 395s and J/44s, which finished three races each. On the White Circle off American YC, where the bigger boats sailed, an 8-boat Express 37 class (including a J/35 and a C&C 115) matched wits, with some of the usual stars, such as Rich duMoulin and Adam Loory struggling. After a fourth in the first race, Mort Weintraub's Troubador finished dead last in the second: "We went the wrong way, what can I say?" said Weintraub. Bill Walker's Afterglow won both races, and Matt and Randall Baldwin's Cabady had a 3-4 to hold second place. Weintraub credited the top boats for their speed and bragged about the class's culture, in which everybody helps each other and likes to socialize. "It's fun," he said, "and if you're not having fun, it would be an expensive way to be unhappy." The class is bringing along new sailors all the time, too: Weintraub's helmsman is Jamie Anderson, a 2004 graduate of Connecticut College who started crewing on Troubadour at age 14. In the here's-something-new-at-a-NOOD department, a five-boat Ranger 33 class hit the water for its Northeastern Championship today. "It's the first major class event in over a quarter century," said Stephen Petri, owner of Witchcraft (of Halloween YC). Petrie bought his Gary Mull design a couple years ago as an inexpensive boat (they sell for between $12 and $25K, he said) he could race and also cruise with a young family, and he's gone to great lengths to get a one-design class going from among the 450-plus 33s built. "We're all here because of him," said Java Jive's owner, Ted Civetta, of Hugenot YC, who was handed Petri's business card at the starting line of a PHRF race in 2004. Civetta added, "I PHRF race my boat and usually finish in the top three, but in this regatta I really know how well I'm going." Civetta won the first race despite having a crew on which he was the only one who had flown a spinnaker before; his luck turned in the second race with a fourth, and Witchcraft, with a second to Java Jive and then a second behind Thomas Fahy's Close Enough, holds a one-point lead. "After the racing, all the owners were grinning from ear to ear," said Petri, who was heading out to spend the night on his boat with his kids. For our Shields team aboard Grace, despite getting jammed up at the favored pin end, we made a good comeback in the opener, picking up breeze and a shift on the left side of the second beat and won the race ahead of Andrew Wertheim's Katherine, of Larchmont, and Bill Berry's Syrinx, from Marion, Mass. In the second race, two other local boats showed the way; Col Crocker's Rascal got the jump off the pin end and led around the first lap, but Fred Werblow's Checkmate made a couple of strong moves on the left to take the lead. With our boat and Syrinx working hard to finish eighth and ninth, Checkmate owns the lead so far, but there are eight boats within 5 points, so we all have lots to play for tomorrow.