Sport 16s Take to Antigua's Warm Waters

Exclusive reporting from the Lands' End Caribbean NOOD Rendezvous at Sunsail's Club Colonna in Antigua.

Carib NOOD 2

John Burnham

After Monday's relay racing in reefed-down Topper Topaz dinghies, the main format of the Caribbean NOOD Rendezvous got underway on Tuesday in Sport 16 dinghies, sailed triple-handed on Antigua's Hodges Bay. PRO Peter Reggio ran three windward-leeward races not far from shore, which made spectating ideal from the beach at Sunsail's Club Colonna. Once again, Scott Nixon's Melges 24 team, winners of the 2005 St. Pete NOOD, took top honors over three races to hold the series lead after a tie-breaker was applied with Marblehead's Sonar team skippered by Doug Sabin. Nixon had two firsts and a fourth; Sabin, three seconds. In the last of the three races, which was extended to three laps instead of two, the pair traded the lead twice, with Sabin usually having the edge upwind and Nixon, downwind. Bora Gulari, steering for Phil O'Neil's Chicago champions from Natalie J, won the second race, but lost his lead and a good deal of distance in the third when his boom vang came adrift. Gulari, a skiff sailor and kite surfer, scored a 4-1-4 ahead of the Miller brothers who were alternates for the Texas NOOD champs and earned a couple of thirds and finished the day just ahead of the Detroit NOOD's Cal 25 Team led by Doug Holme. Overall, it was an eventful afternoon on the water; even though the breeze was lighter, the puffs had enough weight in them to punish any mistakes. At least three teams went swimming at one point or another, including Sabin's Marblehead crew between the second and third race. Dr. Crash had his camera crew on the water and is still deciding which photo of the San Diego NOOD team's port-tack weather mark approach will be most instructive to his disciples. No punishment was necessary, however, as the team lost about eight places by the time the ensuing mayhem was sorted out, after which they led the fleet in most capsizes for the rest of the day. On Wednesday, if the wind lightens any further, teams will break out the Sport 16s' asymmetric kites and discover a whole new round of boathandling challenges for this group of offshore one-design champions. As one tired sailor commented after racing, "Sanding the bottom of my keelboat is beginning to look very appealing." Scores for Tuesday: 1. St. Petersburg (Nixon) 62. Marblehead (Sabin) 63. Chicago (O'Neil) 94. Texas (Miller) 135. Detroit (Holme) 13.56. Larchmont (Emery) 187. Annapolis (Sullivan) 188. Toronto (Reid) 209. San Diego (Pyle) 23 (subject to change due to average points applied for breakdowns plus scoringfactor for Monday's relay racing)