One-Design Revival at San Diego NOOD

San Diego NOOD--Day 3

Dave Reed

Herb Zoehrer, of Coronado, Calif., hasn't raced his J/35 Z-Force in a one-design series in four years. But when fellow 35er Brad Russell rallied other owners from around the area, Zoehrer jumped back in. "A lot of 35 owners went to the J/105s and that was the end," says Zoehrer, "but now, with five owners here and more coming, it's like the rising of the phoenix." In 8- to 10-knot northerly winds today off San Diego's Point Loma, Zoehrer won two races and swept the class with six wins, but says it wasn't as easy as the scoreline would lead one to believe. "I've never raced against anyone in this fleet so there were a lot of unknowns," he says, "but my tactician Steve Davies, who came here from Halifax, Nova Scotia, made a lot of great calls." Zoehrer went uncontested, but that wasn't the case in the 29-boat J/105 class where the lead changed every day, and with every race. The victorious team on Ed Cummings' Bold Forbes, sailed what Cummings says was "our most intelligent race-ever." "We were tied going into the first race today, and we knew Nemesis was fast in light air so we were happy when the breeze came in. On the first leg, we went left with them and managed to knock them back, but in doing so, put us tied with the third-place boat. We had to match-race them at the start of the second race and managed to shut them out at the boat. Then we covered them the whole race, but we couldn't let seven boats between us so eventually we disengaged from them to work on the closest pack." Smart tactics also played a role in the victory of Jed Olenick's J/120 Dr. No, which nearly lost the overall lead it sailed so hard for yesterday. "In the first race we were over early and were looking at DFL, but yesterday there were some big lefts that came through so we knew we'd be safe by not following the fleet and going hard left. One big left shift later, we were back to second and that was it." Rising through the ranks in the Ultimate 20 fleet was Bob Aman, of Albany, Ore., who has sailed this event six times. Aman says that today everything came together. "We finally figured out the shifts, the currents, and our boatspeed," he says. His crew Andy Carson adds: "Think of it this way--we had two days of practice." In the other classes, Jeff Pape, of San Diego, eked out a win in the 19-boat Etchells class while winning a tiebreaker with Craig Fletcher's It's OK. Sheldun Ecklund's Tickler, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., went 1-2 today to lock up the Melges 24 class by 5 points. In the 7-boat Soling fleet, Ian Wareham rallied with a 2-1 series to seal his win. Stig Osterberg's Zsa Zsa, had a 2-2 performance today and a 4-point win in the One Design 35 class. In the 8-boat Beneteau 36.7 fleet, Saturday's leader, Tom Lewin, finally succumbed to his Great Lakes nemesis, Gary Tisdale. Mike Honeysett's Beneteau 40.7, Wiki Wiki, had its worse finishes of the series, but with four bullets in their scoreline, the overall win was in hand. Holder 20 skipper Glenn Van Heel went 3-3 and wrapped up his regatta with a 1-point margin. In the J/24 class, Julie and Gary Mitchell's Geraldine was virtually untouchable and won with 10 points to spare in its six-boat class. The same was true for David and Amanda Hammett's DnA, which sat out the final race and still won by 3 points. Some crews in the International 14 class enjoyed today's lighter winds on the San Diego Bay Course, but Brad Ruetenik and Todd Czarnecki, who fast in all conditions, were the top team for the weekend. Bill Jenkins and Dan Merino have their 505 dialed in--and went uncontested in eight races. Jeff Reinholdt, the Martin 16 national champion, preserved his reign after winning three of nine races. --Dave Reed