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NOOD in a Northerly

Seven one-design classes competed on the first day of Sailing World’s event at Larchmont YC.

September 6, 2003
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John Burnham

A crisp, clear but weak northerly wind held sway on Long Island Sound throughout the first day of the Sailing World NOOD regatta hosted by Larchmont YC on Friday. It was a day that, between velocity changes and 30-degree shifts, gave tacticians, not to mention race committees, good reason to pull out their hair. But the northerly refused to die and a successful day of racing was completed for seven classes.

“I’m comfortable now, but two hours ago I was blowing a fuse,” said Joe Waters, tactician on Matt Baker’s J/80 Hyperdrive, after the racing. “We tried to keep track of the master plan, connecting the dots between puffs,” he said, “but sometimes the guys in the corner would look real sweet, going like a dog with a bone its teeth.” The plan worked on Hyperdrive, which after two races shared the lead with local sailor–and recent world champ–Kerry Klingler on 352.

The J/105s and the J/27s were the other two classes racing on the western circle (the J/30s and J/24s are only racing Saturday and Sunday), and all three classes got in two races. The first race had an epic 2-mile beat, and among the 25 J/105s, Moonshine, of Mamaroneck, N.Y., sailed by Steven Sleight and Stephen Langan, protected the left, found the big (5 or 6 knot) puffs there, and established a lead they held throughout the race. They repeated that act in the second race, but their tracks were dogged by another local team, Joerg Esdorn’s Kincsem, of Rye, N.Y.

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On the eastern circle, Larchmont race officer Jan Karel Smeets ran three, shorter races for four classes–Farr 40, Farr 395, Henderson 30, and Soverel 33–in an even more squirrelly wind. “The northerly wind was flukey,” said Tim Carse, a crewmember on Paladin, a Soverel, who admitted the races were far from perfect but in the same breath said, “the PROs did a great job getting in three races.”

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| John Burnham|

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| Mark McCarthy’s Slainte lead the Soverel 33s early in one race. The two boats trailing her, Santana (right) and Deviation held first and second, respectively, after the first day of racing.* * *|

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For the 10-boat Soverel fleet, the event is their 2003 Nationals, and the early leader is Santana, skippered by Paul Jeka, of Elizabeth, N.J. with two firsts and a third. A regular frontrunner, Iris Vogel’s Deviation, finished one place behind Santana in each race and ranked second at the end of the day. But as in most classes, there was a windless hole or two waiting to ruin somebody’s day. In the Soverels it happened in the third race to Paladin and Outrageous, both of which had performed no worse than mid-fleet in the first two races. They started well, sailed to the right, and fell off the edge of the earth, so to speak, finishing last and second to last, respectively.

The marquee class on the eastern course, the Farr 40s, were dominated by Riot, a shiny black boat owned by Mark Ewing, of Glencoe, Ill. Their crewwork and boatspeed always seemed good, and although every boat had its slow moments, Riot seemed to find the wind or simply stay pressured up more of the time. Long-time class members Solution and Diana were second and third for the day, but the U.S. Coast Guard Academy probably put in the upset performance of the day aboard Gem, which they were racing for only the second time this summer. With Jeff Lamont at the helm, Gem’s scores of 5-2-6 put the team in fourth, ahead of Jeff Siegal’s Appreciation on a tie-break.

Many of the Coast Guard sailors have crewed on an academy-owned J/35 and like the upgrade. “It’s easier to work on the bow,” said mast man John Baumler. “It’s just better set up for racing,” said Caroline Bladen, who works the sewer. This regatta is part of their training for the MacMillan Cup, the intercollegiate big-boat championship held this fall at the U.S. Naval Academy, but they admitted to having their eyes on staying in front of Columbia at this regatta. Currently in sixth place, Columbia is raced by their rival, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, and finished ahead of them at Block Island Race Week.

Racing continues Saturday, with the J/30, J/24, J/44, J/120, and Level 72 fleets joining the action, which wraps up on Sunday.

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