St. Pete Team Takes Early Lead in Caribbean NOOD Champs

Exclusive reporting from Sunsail's Club Colonna in Antigua.

Carib NOOD 1

John Burnham

All of the big dogs from the nine Lands' End NOODs of 2005 showed up at Sunsail's Club Colonna, Antigua, this week for a serious competition to decide which team was best. It didn't take long for them to figure out that this event was going to be different, however. On the first day of racing the easterly trades registered at 28 knots at the mouth of the harbor at Hodges Bay, so it was over 30 a couple hundred yards offshore to the north. Most of the racing is intended to take place in Sport 16, 3-person dinghies, but with a limited number of boats at his disposal, race committee guru of the NOODs, Peter "Luigi" Reggio (who moonlights running some old-fashioned event in Valencia) called for a change in equipment. A fleet of singlehanded Topper Topaz dinghies was rolled down the beach and three relay races were run, using Le Mans-style starts.Fastest off the beach in all three starts was Scott Nixon, leader of the St. Pete NOOD overall champions, a team that hails from Annapolis. However, after two bullets, Nixon lost the inside at the offshore turning mark and Phil O'Neil's Chicago NOOD team, with leadoff sailor Bora Gulari, romped into the beach in the lead. However, an outhaul problem set back Chicago and sprung the Marblehead NOOD-winning team of Doug Sabin and Alex Felton into the lead for good.When the scores were tallied, the St. Pete team won the day with 5 points, Marblehead had 7, and the consistent San Diego team of Chick Pyle, Bud Robinson, and Tom Lee held down third with 13 points. Chicago dropped off the pace in the second race with a DNF after David Wolanski encountered a shark he claimed had thrown his bow off course.Damian Emery's team from Larchmont finished third in the opening race but struggled after that. Bob Broderick said it was easy the first race, just sailing out, tacking, and coming back. "In the second race I took a couple of detours," he admitted. "And once the boat turtled it wasn't easy reaching the daggerboard."Day 2 begins Tuesday at lunchtime and another good breeze is predicted.