Marblehead NOOD, Day Two: Massachusetts Bay Challenges Strategists

Exclusive coverage of the 2006 Lands' End NOOD Regatta at Marblehead Race Week.

Marblehead NOOD, Day Two

Michael Lovett

Marblehead, MA - On the second day of racing at the 2006 Lands' End National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta at Marblehead Race Week, racers witnessed firsthand just how localized the conditions can be in Massachusetts Bay.For divisions starting at the Outside Line, the furthest offshore of the three courses, the breeze remained fairly steady all day. Wade Edwards came out on top in the 25-boat Etchells class by sailing clean races and minimizing mistakes."The biggest shift we saw all day was twelve degrees," says Edwards, who placed second in the first race and first in the second. "So we just concentrated on going fast, staying in the breeze, and connecting the puffs."With the help of some solid crew work, Edwards executed a few key tactical maneuvers. "We pulled off a couple of lee bows coming in to the weather mark in the second race," says Edwards, "Those seemed to make all the difference."On the Tinkers course closer to shore, fluky conditions tested racers' strategies. After picking the wrong side upwind during the first race, J/24 skipper David Carlson chose differently in the second race and ended up victorious."It was an interesting day," says Carlson, "Definitely a little bit shifty out there. There were times when the left paid off, and times when the right paid off. Fortunately for us, the right paid off at the right time."In addition to the Etchells and J/24s, the Town Class, Rhodes 19, Colgate 26, Sonar, Corinthian, Viper 640, International One-Design, J/105, and Skud 18 classes also raced on Friday. The Marblehead NOOD marks the Skud 18s' North American debut. The high performance, universal access dinghy was recently chosen as the doublehanded class for the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing. Skipper Mark Lewis and trimmer Maureen McKinnon-Tucker, both of whom are partially paralyzed, scored two bullets in Friday's racing."We're really psyched about that," says McKinnon-Tucker. "To be able to pull off two firsts was not only unexpected, but really nice, considering that this is our premiere."Two weeks from now, Lewis and McKinnon-Tucker's Team Eagle will compete in Newport, R.I. against seven other teams-four of which are sailing the Marblehead NOOD-for a spot on the U.S. Paralympic Team. "All of the teams here are vying for one spot," says McKinnon-Tucker, "Still, we train together and work together. The Olympic classes that do that end up excelling on the world level, so why shouldn't we?" During Friday's festivities, the Skud 18 teams sat in a circle on the lawn of Eastern YC, eating pork tenderloin from the buffet, watching over one another's children, and exchanging go-fast tips for their brand new boats."The Skuds only arrived here in June," says McKinnon-Tucker, "There's no owner's manual. There's not even a tuning guide. We're all still figuring out how to trim the sails, so when we find a way to make the boats go fast, we share it."The Lands' End NOOD Regatta at Marblehead Race Week runs through Sunday.