Marblehead (Mass.) July 29, 2001 – For husband-and-wife crew Kim and Christina Pandapas, the thrill of winning the largest class at the Sailing World NOOD at Marblehead Race Week–which concluded today off Marblehead–was as big as it gets. “I grew up in Marblehead, and Race Week is the Holy Grail,” said an elated Christina Pandapas of Marblehead, after reaching the docks this afternoon as winner with husband Kim of the 43-boat Rhodes 19 class.
But the road this couple traveled to glory wasnt a smooth one: their final ride into the winners circle was an emotional roller coaster.
The Pandapases entered the last race of this four-day regatta with a slim five-point lead ahead of two formidable foes: current Rhodes 19 National Champions Jeremy and Katie Bloxham (Marblehead), and Race Week 2000 winners Shan McAdoo (Salem, Mass.) and Doug Trees (Hamilton, Mass), the two teams who were tied for second place. To add to their challenge, the weather forecast called for light, shifty breeze that, as Christina admitted, could turn the final race into a crapshoot.
“I just wanted to start sailing: thinking about the race was killing me,” said Christina of the anticipation she and Kim faced as they sailed to the staring line of the last race today.
But their anxieties were soon quelled. They got a bad start in the last race and watched their closest competition sail away quickly to the favored side of the course. But they fought hard to protect their lead and were in first place by the time the fleet reached the windward mark. It was a lead they never relinquished.
Witnessed by a crowd of sunburned sailors of all ages packed like sardines into the ballroom of the Corinthian Yacht Club, their fate on Sunday evening was sweetened further when they walked to the podium to accept the Leonard Munn Fowle Trophy, one of two overall trophies in this 112-year-old event. This trophy, first awarded in 1936, recognizes an outstanding performance at Race Week.
As he accepted the award, Kim Pandapas, who helms the boat, passed the trophy over to the person he felt deserved the honor most: his wife.
Winner of the IOD class Bruce Dyson of Marblehead was the recipient of the Norman E. Cressy Trophy. Dyson and 13 other classmates had a difficult start in this event: these skippers sailed to the wrong course mark on the opening day of racing and plagued their scores with a very costly 15 points for the opening race.
With the expensive mistake of Race 1, Dysons path back to the front of the class was a steep one. But this Marblehead skipper and his crew on Gypsy never finished worse than second place throughout the series. On Sunday, Dyson walked to the podium as winner of the IOD class by a gargantuan margin of 15 points–and then returned again as winner of the Cressy trophy. The Cressy trophy was created in 1998 to commemorate Norm Cressys 50th consecutive Marblehead Race Week.
Dyson had yet another honor: he became the Hall Spars & Rigging Boat of the Day for having the top performance in the fleet on Saturday.
Notable performances were turned in by 12 other class winners at this venerable event. Marblehead sailors J.B. and Kelley Braun, racing with their 11-year-old son Ryan, won the Viper 640 class by a big margin of 10 points. Kelley Braun (who was relatively new to sailing when her husband proposed to her by writing Marry Me Kelley on a sail she hoisted during a practice race) helmed the boat. The Brauns were also crowned the Lewmar Boat of the Day for being the top-scoring boat in the fleet on Friday.
Jud Smith of Marblehead, racing with his wife Cindy, two daughters Lindsay and Darby, and local racer Elizabeth Eisner, won the 37-boat Sonar class, the second largest class at this event.
Sailors who compete at this event vow that it stands out for its tough yet friendly competition: this year, fathers sailed with daughters, wives sailed with sons, best friends competed against each other; 16-year-old Gretchen Curtis had her parents as crew and husband and wife Jim and Jane Cooke even raced against each other. The crew rosters say a lot about the friendly, family tradition of this event. But Rhodes 19 racer Jeremey Bloxham said more.
Bloxham, racing with his wife Katie, had a good shot at a victory in the Rhodes 19 class. But in the end, they were second best to Kim and Christina Pandapas. When Jeremy Bloxham reached the docks on Sunday, however, his mood was anything but grim. He was elated for his winning classmates. “I have never been happier to come in second place before,” he said.
Marblehead Race Week drew a fleet of 226 boats from 11 states, Canada, and Ireland. Winds were generally light, never topping 10 knots throughout the four-day series. The first two days saw extremely shifty air; the final two days of Race Week saw a light southeasterly that had small 5- to 10-degree shifts. Except for an opening day that began in rain and gray sky, sun and blue sky moved in on the afternoon of the opening day and stayed for the duration of the series.
The first Marblehead Race Week was held in 1889. This 112-year-old Race Week joined the family of NOOD (National Offshore One-Design) events, a nine-regatta national circuit organized by Sailing World magazine (Newport, R.I.), in 1998. Marblehead Race Week is hosted by the Boston, Eastern, and Corinthian yacht clubs. Support sponsors of the event include: Hall Spars & Rigging, High Sierra Sport Company, Lewmar, Mount Gay Rum, North Sails, Samuel Adams, and Sunsail.
Race watchers can find daily race reports, photos and complete fleet results at the Sailing World website (www.sailingworld.com).
RESULTS (top 3 in each class)
[Skipper, Hometown, Boat Name, Points]
Leonard Munn Fowle Trophy:
Kim and Christina Pandapas, Marblehead, Mass., Rhodes 19 class winner
Norman E. Cressy Trophy:
Bruce Dyson, Marblehead, Mass., IOD class winner
Lewmar Boat of the Day/Friday:
J.B. and Kelley Braun, Marblehead, Mass., Viper 640 class winner
Hall Spars & Rigging Boat of the Day/Saturday:
Bruce Dyson, Marblehead, Mass., IOD class winner
210 (8 boats)
1 Susan Epstein/Tom Robinson Sharon MA In The Hunt 6
2 Bert Roth Gloucester MA Grace 14
3 Robert Reis Hingham MA Windy Calm 15
Corinthian (7 boats)
1 Rob Vener Marblehead MA Cerulean 13
2 Don Yeaple Marblehead MA Nepenthe 14
3 Gigi Breed/Kate vanDyke Marblehead MA VICKARY 14
Day Sailer (6 boats)
1 Natalie Coleman N. Chatham MA Odile 9
2 Dan Duggan Marblehead MA Cherry Bomb 23
3 John Killian Acton MA NAN-LEE 24
Etchells (26 boats)
1 Tim Lynch La Jolla CA Poodelyn 14
2 Peter Duncan Rye NY Spot 27
3 Robert Hitchcock Dorchester MA CHEMICAL IMBALANCE 38
Marblehead Race Week/page 4
Frers 33 (7 boats)
1 Ken Bowden Marblehead MA KNOTLESS 5
2 Matthew Whitlock Chicago IL Bird Dog 10
3 Neal Melanson Rowley MA VAPOR TRAIL 10
IOD (14 boats)
1 **Bruce Dyson Marblehead MA GYPSY 10
2 Bill Widnall Lexington MA Javelin 25
3 Michael Best Lakeville CT TANGO 28
J/105 (10 boats)
1 Robert Swirbalus Charlestown MA PHENIX 5
2 VernonvPolidoro Marblehead MA Vigilante 11
3 Rich Hill / George Lowden Marblehead MA DARK HORSE 2 12
J/24 (30 boats)
1 William Welles Marblehead MA (none given) 27
2 Joseph E Winston Barrington RI PASSAGE EAST 29
3 Eric Cressy/Adams/Warren Marblehead MA Banana Slug 34
J/80 (9 boats)
1 Jason Balich Beverly MA OVER ACHIEVER 6
2 Geoffrey Pierini Metuchen NJ Bada Bing 14
3 Anthony Picardi Wellesley MA IOLANTHE 20
Laser 28 (10 boats)
1 Judy Button Mississauga, Ont., CAN RAGS 11
2 Denise C. Bienvenu Dorval, Quebec, CAN Convictus 14
3 Dave Black Mississauga, Ont., CAN Jet 15
Rhodes 19 (43 boats)
1 Kim Pandapas Marblehead MA MO HOTTA MO BETTA 18
2 Jeremy Bloxham Marblehead MA JUMBLY 24
3 **Doug Trees / Shan McAdoo Hamilton MA SWINGROOM 28
Sonar (37 boats)
1 Jud Smith Marblehead MA No Time Too 23
2 Lee Morrison Darien CT Sonar 619 26
3 Bill Lynn Marblehead MA Sara (h) Sandwich 32
Town Class (8 boats)
1 Rex Antrim Nahant MA ALBATROSS 4
2 Jane R. Cooke Marblehead MA AUFBLITZEN 11
3 Brooks Corl Millis MA Wolverine II 13
Viper 640 (11 boats)
1 J.B./Kelley Braun Marblehead MA (none given) 9
2 Gretchen Curtis Marblehead MA FIRECRACKER 19
3 Rob Gorman Marblehead MA UFO 22
**denotes a defending class champion from Race Week 2000