Mastering a Humber Bay Hurricane

The Rogers Wireless/Sailing World NOOD gets underway.

Four way finish
John Burnham

When not much else is cooking on Toronto's Lake Ontario waterfront, a modest thermal wafts in from the lake as the city heats up and provides a gentle breeze for sailboat racing. For sailors on three courses during the opening day of the Rogers Wireless/Sailing World NOOD-the first international event in the long-running NOOD series-the slow-building breeze delayed racing but eventually permitted each of 22 classes and a total of 208 registered boats to sail two or three races. The light air for the first race mixed things up a bit, according to Dick Steffen, owner of Zoo II. "It was planing weather in one place and a drifter in another," said Steffen, with tongue only slightly planted in sunburned cheek. Zoo II, a custom Graham & Schlageter 30-footer, was called over early at the start, split with the rest of the Level 96-115 class and sailed into first place, then ran out of wind and fell behind again. Bill MacLeod's FastTrak, a custom Nelson/Marek 30, passed Richard Sherk's Heartbeat, a custom Andrews 30, after the first mark and sailed to a one-minute win. Zoo II finished third, but in the next race, as rival trimmer Mark MacLeod of FastTrak put it, "Dick Steffen crushed everybody; he took the start and didn't look back." FastTrak finished third in the second race and moves into Saturday tied for first with Zoo II. In the C&C 99 class, new owner Bert Barrett of Bobby McGee split two races with Mike Kern's Transmission. Mike Minor, trimmer on Transmission, said, "We rounded the last weather mark 5 feet behind Bobby McGee but after splitting jibes, they made a mistake on a jibe and we crossed them by a boatlength." All over the racecourse, small errors made the difference in the light and sometimes fluky winds. Close finishes were common, and four boats finished one race overlapped, with Peter Quackenbush's Moongator, a J/33, finishing one second ahead of Jeffrey Cannizzo's Electra, a Soverel 33, but was later disqualified for fouling Electra on the starting line, which gave Cannizzo's crew the victory. Moongator beat Electra in the second race by over a minute, but Quackenbush came into the dock frustrated, thinking he'd also been racing against the B-32 Busted Flush, which had flown by on every downwind leg. Title sponsor Rogers Wireless put lightweight transponders on the stern of each J/105 racing and tracked the courses of each boat during the race. Planet B's Mark Nelson said, "They came in boxes, about 10" by 6", maybe 5 pounds, and hung on the back of the boat. You put them on and forgot about them." The graphics output at the party at the National YC were in a beta-test mode, admitted the Rogers Wireless rep, but tomorrow at Royal Canadian YC will see an immediate upgrade. Nelson, whose finished the day in third with 9-2-2 scores, said he'd like to get cameras mounted on the backstays, too, so web users could call up real-time images from aboard during spinnaker takedowns.