Tight Racing in the Sonar Fleet Highlights Day 2

Marblehead NOOD Day 2
Stuart Streuli

MARBLEHEAD, Mass.--It should be one of the first things any racer does before hitting the water. Yet many sailors forget to thoroughly read the sailing instructions. On Day 2 of the Sailing World NOOD at Marblehead Race Week this came back to bite more than a few. Instruction 11.7 of the sailing instructions allowed for the race committee to switch from the normal color marks for a circle--red in the case of the Tinkers Circle--to green by flying a green flag no later than the 4 minute preparatory gun. In the first race for the 7-boat J/80 fleet the committee flew the green flag, hoping to send the 26-foot sprit boats to a slightly further mark. Only Jeff Kirchhoff of Northfield, N.H., heeded the committee's instruction and while he crossed the line well in arrears of his competitors, when all was said and done, Kirchhoff was the only boat to finish the race. That first, combined with a third in the third race--the second race was thrown out because the pin was still in the mark boat during the starting sequence--has staked Kirchhoff's crew on Gostosa to a 5-point lead over John Storck Jr.'s Rumor. Also on the Tinker's line was the regatta's biggest class, the 41-boat Sonar fleet. The fleet is packed with talent. Local legend Dave Curtis started the day off with the second, successfully working the left side of the course in the first race. "The second race, the wind went hard right 25 degrees on the first beat," said Curtis. "I didn't think it was going to shift like that." Curtis battled back to finish 15th in that race. In the third race of the day, it wasn't the shifting wind that proved the biggest challenge. "We started just as the J/24s were going around the leeward mark," he said. "So instead of a 40-boat fleet of Sonars, it was a 70-boat fleet of J/24s and Sonars. You didn't know where you were. From a distance the boats look so similar." Curtis and his team on Athenia worked through the fleet of boats and finished third. Their total of 20 points was good enough for fifth in class on the day, however, they're only three points out of the lead. Rick Myers and Rick Cucchiaro, neither of whom recorded a top-three result, are tied for first with 17 points. Defending Marblehead Race Week champion Stew Neff is third with 18 points. Also on the Tinker's Circle are the J/24s, which are being led by Mark Toso, who has a 9-point advantage over the second place boat. In the Viper 640s, Rob Gorman holds a commanding lead with two firsts, a second, and a third. Jack Cochrane won all three races in the 6-boat Colgate 26 class. The Etchells class, which was racing on the Outside Area with the J/105s and the IODs, is being led by Wade Edwards, who won all three races on Thursday and added a third, a fifth, and another first on Friday to earn a 4-point lead over Buddy Cribb. Bill Widnall leads the IOD class by just a point over two boats, while Vernon Polidoro won all three of the J/105 races. On the Halfway Rock line it was Arthur O'Neill leading the Town Class with three firsts and a second, and Bob Lemaire leading the Day Sailor class, where he's won five of six races. Herb Maher won both of the Corinthian Class races and Kim Pandapas, who struggled a bit on Thursday, rebounded with three top-five finishes on Friday to take the lead in the Rhodes 19 class. Racing in the Sailing World NOOD at Marblehead Race Week will continue through Sunday.