Ten Classes, No Runaway Leaders in Larchmont

Larchmont Day 2

Dave Reed

Merely one day and three races into the Swan 45 class series at the Sailing World Larchmont NOOD Regatta, a battle royal is already brewing. Five 45s are on the racecourse and tonight only 3 points lie between first and fifth.

Today, Craig Speck's Grand Rapids-based Vim, flush with pro talent, was in the right corner, flying the white spinnaker. Stephen DeVoe's amateur crew on Devocean, hailing from Stamford, Conn., was in the left, flying the red spinnaker, and in the first two races they went straight to the mat, Devocean taking the first round.

"This boat needs to be sailed on the edge all the time," says DeVoe," a retired securities trader from Jamestown, R.I., everything is a half-inch adjustment, and that half-inch can make a huge difference. Our first race was great and that's the result of putting the right crew in the right places. Over six miles of racecourse, in light wind [5 to 8 knots today], the concentration is constant, so I really depended on the crew to do all the right stuff."

The following race went to Vim and in the next both sailed to the back of the fleet--DeVoe's afterguard expected the wind to shift left, which it never did, and Vim sailed a race they'd rather forget. "We had a really lousy start," says Vim's main trimmer Moose McClintock, "and we're having trouble sailing with the asymmetric, so we ended up using the symmetric, which was the wrong thing to do. Too many mistakes, too many wrong jibes."

Dominic Porco's Alliance nailed the day's final race after a 4-5 start, which moved him to third with 10 points. DeVoe has eight and Speck has seven and everyone will be back to the ring tomorrow.

Sharing Long Island Sound with J/105s, Soveral 33s, J/27s, J/30s, J/44s, Farr 395s, J/109s and Express 37s, are Beneteau 36.7s, sailing for their New England Championship. Class newcomer Mark Ploch, of Doyle Sails in City Island, N.Y., is sailing his first regatta with the boat and is showing no haste in getting the boat up to speedand better. Ploch's crew won the opening race by nearly half a leg and took the next two with ease, which left the crew John Hammel's Elan virtually stumped. "I think the only way we can beat them is either with a torpedo or for them to a make a huge tactical mistake."

"It was a great day though," says Hammel, a software developer from Boston. "We were actually leading them until the final leg of the second race, but all of a sudden they just had unbelievable height and speedthey just sailed away from us."

Hammell's team survived an otherwise light and shifty day with some credible consistency (4-2-2), which put them solidly into second with 8 points, but only 1 point behind is Tom D'Albora's Coconut.

In the 19-boat J/105 fleet, Damien Emery's Eclipse, of Shoreham, N.Y., won three straight and then posted a fifth in the fourth race to finish the day with 8 points; Steven Leight's Moonshine is second with 14 points.

In the other classes, Iris Vogel, of New Rochelle, N.Y., swept all four races in the 5-boat Soveral 33 class; Douglas Davies, of Stony Brook, N.Y., leads the three-boat J/27 fleet;  Ed Austin's Chinook won three to lead the 8-boat J/30 class; Jeffrey Willis' Challenge IV is the top J/44, Mike Frachia's Farr 395 Carpe Diem maintained its lead from yesterday (only 395s and J/27s raced); Adam Loory's Soulmates leads its Express 37 division; and Al Minella's Relentless stands atop the J/109s.