Patience Pays In Chicago

With crowded racecourses and light winds, good things come to those who wait.


Dave Reed

Patience Pays Patience. Sometimes it's the only medicine for masking the pain of a bad race in the making. And many times today, the second day of the Sailing World Chicago NOOD regatta, Lars Hansen, tactician on David Wagner's J/105 Gigi, was reaching for his prescription. "Today was all about being patient," says Hansen, a commercial photographer and J/22 sailor from Minneapolis, Minn., who led his teammates to three wins today in the 20-boat J/105 class. "In every race we just waited for our opportunities and let others make their mistakes." It worked every time, and as an example, he recounts the final race of the day. "That one was our favorite. We sailed the wrong side of the first beat for sure, but managed to round behind the lead pack. Then we sailed down the middle of the course on the first run, and were passed by a bunch of boats. At that point, we looked like we were easily DFL." They climbed back to second and then the leader sprung them on the final run. "The lead boat didn't bother covering us, they let us get right and got passed by six other boats." That boat, John Halbert's Vitesse Extreme, went 2-2-8 for the day, and is second overall, 12 points behind Wagner's Gigi. With no more than 10 knots of breeze throughout the day, clean air and middle-of-the course avoidance were basic tactical rules to follow. This, according to Allan McMillian, whose Finesse leads the 10-boat Beneteau 40.7 class after posting 2-4-2 finishes. "On this lake, in this kind of breeze [northeast], the shifts can be so significant, as much as 10 to 15 degrees," says the two-time 40.7 North American champion, from Chicago. "We found the left had better pressure, but the key was to getting into as much of it as you could without going too far. On the run, the middle was really chopped up from the bigger boats that started ahead of us, so you really had to avoid that as well." The other key, he adds, is consistency; a much publicized, but often overlooked element of the game. "The racing is very close in this class, and consistency does pay off--just look at our scores, we haven't won a race yet, but were in the lead." His lead, however, is only 1 point over Tom and Deb Weber's La Tempete, who went 1-6-4 for the day and dropped from the lead they held yesterday. The lead also changed in the 47-boat Tartan 10 fleet, know here as simply T-10s, where Martin Plonus' Tango had 3-4-1 finishes to build a 8-point lead over Donald Wilson's Convergence. Wilson, who took the lead on the opening day with three straight wins, stumbled hard today with 18-14 finishes. There were plenty of other lead changes on the day, too numerous to cover here, so see the results page for the latest from our other classes.