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New Day, New Leaders In Texas

After three more races in several classes, leads change hands

September 20, 2003

Pete Harper, skipper of Hummingbird, the leading Catalina 22 at the Sailing World Texas NOOD Regatta, explains how he and David Rayberg doublehand their 22-footer: “Most people sail with three, but we think it’s a lot faster with two. We’ve figured out how to do most everything without the third person. For example, let me explain how we go downwind: Ray’s always on the bow and I drive with the tiller between my legs, trimming both spinnaker sheets and occasional trimming the main. He jibes the pole and when we set and douse, he’s like a wild deck monkey. During the douse he trips the pole, gathers the chute, blows the halyard, stuffs the chute, runs back to trim the genoa, and then jumps out and trims from the rail. He’s simply amazing.”

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| Jennifer Davies|

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| J/80 teams were fighting for lanes and room at the marks all day.* * *|

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While breathless after explaining the mechanics of maneuvers, Harper, the current Catalina 22 National Champion, admits that once it blows more than 15 knots, things can and sometimes do get interesting. But thanks to various techniques they’ve learned by sailing other boats, he says, such as cross-sheeting, doublehanding the Catalina 22 is certainly doable. They proved it again today in 10 to 12 knots on Galveston Bay, winning two races, in addition to the two they won yesterday. With an 8-point lead over Gene Ferguson, another past national champion, they’ve got the series all but locked.

The J/80 fleet, which is sailing its North American Championship, is the only class with the luxury of having a throwout race, and even with that, it will be tough for any of the 34 teams to take out local ace and sailmaker Jay Lutz. After three tight races today, Lutz and his team on Peribee scored finishes of 1-3-12, the 12 being his throwout in a string of top-three finishes. Three points in arrears is John Kolius and his team, and another three points deeper is Glenn Darden’s squad.

While conditions were similar to the opening day of racing yesterday, today offered a slightly more challenging wind direction for boats sailing directly off Seabrook’s Red Bluff. Local teams accustomed to favoring the right-hand side of the racecourse, as dictated by local knowledge, found themselves sailing up the left and trying to steer clear of any light-air patches. One of those teams was Dov Kivlovitz’s Children at Play, which still leads its 11-boat division. “We figured out pretty quick that we had to protect the left because the wind kept shifting that way,” says Tom Johnson, one of Kivlotz’s regular crew. That foresight earned them 3-1 finishes for the day, which keeps them only 1-point ahead of Doug Weakly’s Red Stripe. “We’ve sailed against them before and we think we can beat them tomorrow,” says Johnson. “We don’t need to win any races tomorrow–although we’d like too–we just need to make sure they don’t beat us, or make sure there are boats between us.

Surely the J/24 fleet won’t be the only place we’ll see some good-hearted match racing. Expect the same in the Corsair 28R fleet, where Steven Marsh’s Dealer’s Choice unseated yesterday’s leader and Boat of the Day winner Unleaded, skippered by Roy Shaw. Two points now separate these teams after five races, and with two more races scheduled for tomorrow, the gloves will surely be off, just as they will on the J/22 circle where Bryce Ward’s Junk Yard Dog assumed the lead by 1 point over Ken Wolf’s USA 404.

Other class leaders include: Mike Manila’s J/109 Antean (Level 70), Fred Linsey’s J/27 TLT (Level 27), Hal Haltom’s J/105 Cayuse, and John Davidson’s Melges 24 Monsoon II. Steve Rhyne’s Yada, Yada, Yada, leads the Etchells fleet, and Dick Baxter’s Crusader leads the Ensign fleet, which sailed it’s first two races today.

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