Shifts Happening on Ontario

Whether the wind was strong or light, it came from several directions at the Rogers Wireless/Sailing World NOOD fleet on the second day of the Toronto event.

J/35s at Lee Mark Toronto
John Burnham

An early southwest wind shifted toward the south and was then swept aside in the afternoon by a blustery northwesterly breeze, keeping race managers working hard to keep the three Toronto NOOD racecourses aligned. The shiftiness and variable strength of the winds provided opportunities for the racers, however. "Sailing here is all about pressure," said Bruce Burton, two-time Etchells world champion, who won the start of the first race of the day and found the best wind out in front of the fleet for the entire race. This temporarily gave his boat, Gone, the lead over another past world champion, Dirk Kneulman's Cruel Jane. But during the fourth race of the day the tables turned. "On the last leg, we chose one side of the J/35 parade and Dirk chose the other," said Burton. "We went from first to fifth, and he went from fifth to first." The shifts provided opportunities in the J/35 fleet, as well. In the first race, Mark and Kurt Sertl's Das Blau Max rounded the unfavored gate mark in about eighth place after the first run, avoided traffic, and sailed directly toward the next windward mark, moving up to third, which helped Das Blau close within 1 point of Ed Bayer's Falcon, current holder of third place in the series. In the next race, David Ogden's Buckaroo Bonzai found a passing lane on the last leg when Robert Walker's Battlewagon, the regatta leader, set its spinnaker only to be forced low of course and into less wind. Mainsheet trimmer Terry McLaughlin on Buckaroo Bonzai said, "We looked like poufters not setting our spinnaker at first, but we had nothing to lose." Passing Battlewagon and then splitting two more races with them brought Buckaroo's score to within three points of the leader going into Sunday. In the C&C 27 class, Bob Wilson's Legacy made a bold (and successful) port-tack start at the favored pin end of one skewed starting line, but couldn't hold back Larry Bayer's Yogi Bear, which won both races for the day and stands just a point behind Legacy. In the C&C 99 class, Chris Steer's Trumpeter made a run at the leader, Mike Kern's Transmission, by winning the first two races; but Transmission made a great start in the third race of the day and won comfortably in the best breeze of the day to hold a 2-point series lead. And things were shaken up in the J/105 class after Michael Jones's Starcross won its fourth straight race. Even though Starcross finished the day with a 20-point cushion, Jones shared his hitherto exclusive on firsts with Alex Baluta's Groovador, Robert Baker's Planet B, and John McLeod's Hot Water. Results after Day 2 are posted separately.