Jerry Diercks, of Seattle, knows how tricky the sailing conditions can be on Puget Sound, especially when the winds are as light and the current as strong as it was on the second day of races at the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta in Seattle. Dierck’s J/105 is tied for first in its seven-boat class after five races, and in the first race of the day, they almost took themselves out of contention.
“I had one of the worst starts of my life,” said Diercks. “The current was so strong and I jibed away from the line two minutes before the race [which took him down current] instead of tacking like I should have, and in an instant we were 200 yards away from the line and behind the entire fleet before we even started.”
Fortunately for Dierck and his teammates on Delirium, the race committee abandoned the race shortly after the start because of considerable windshift skewed the racecourse. “With no throwouts allowed in this regatta, we can’t have another bad race [they’re already carrying a seventh from yesterday],” said Dierck. “With the tie, we need to have two good races tomorrow.”
The dramatic wind shifts and current were certainly the story of the day across all three racecourses, and local knowledge played a significant role. Rodger Phillips’ 6-Meter Frenzy, of Seattle, knew exactly how to play the northerly winds and won all three of its races to win the North Sails Local Boat of the Day Award, presented to the local team deemed to have the best performance on the day. The 6-Meters are beautiful classic designs, which are challenging to sail, but Phillips’ Frenzy is excellent condition and has been untouchable in the series thus far. The regatta’s only other team to win all of its races is Marc Vander Schalie’s San Juan 21 Kermit.
Today also featured the addition of the regatta’s dinghy classes, a mixture of high performance catamarans and smaller race boats, such as the Snipe, Stars, Lasers, Hoots, and International Formula 18 Catamarans, which featured several competitors from Canada. Three races were completed in all dinghy classes, and racing continues tomorrow with two races likely given another light-wind forecast.