Tricky Conditions Kick Off the 2004 Detroit NOOD

The twelfth edition of the Detroit NOOD began today with 185 boats
sailing in 19 classes, and while some racers were lucky enough to get
three races in, others struggled to get just one on the scoreboard.
Light breezes and big windshifts were the hallmarks of the day,
especially for boats on Circle A. Bob Clauer, pitman-or as they say here
in Detroit, the guy in the box-on Junto, a J/105, shared some insight on
how to deal with fleet racing in light air. "Instead of splitting from
the fleet," said Clauer, who lives in Ann Arbor, " we stayed with them
and were able to measure the shifts. We were tacking on headers and
making good decisions. Of course, a lot of today was about luck. The
guys in front were lucky, and were in the shifts." Junto ended up in
8th place for the day after a second race on their circle was abandoned.
Lucky enough to get two races off were the 21 Tartan Tens on B Circle.
Eric Rahmel, of Hartland, Wisconsin, sailed as a trimmer on Flag, which
ended up with a 10, 3 for the day. "We fell apart in the first race,"
said Rahmel. "We followed the wind; we expected it to go right and it
went left, which is odd for Lake St. Clair." Luck works both ways, and
on the second race, the crew of Flag got some breaks. "We had a great
start," said Rahmel. "The wind went left, got on top of the fleet, and
stayed there. Our main trimmer said that there was wind shear and called
the right move-working up into the shear instead of following what the
instruments said." Flag's crew ended up in sixth overall in class.
Having a slightly better day was the crew of another T-10, Britstar,
owned by Ken Schram, of Lansing, Michigan, who ended up with a 6, 1 for
the day. "In the second race, I told the crew that we were only going to
do 1 tack the first leg because it was so light," said Schram. " We
thought the wind would go right but it clocked backwards and we did
well, just call me 'one-tack-jack.' The secret is not to stop; we kept
footing through the really light stuff as much as possible. Anytime we
got breeze we just kept going."
Schram's crew thinks highly of Schram, going so far as to call him' The
Amazing Ken Schram.' Mike Arndt, of Memphis, Tenn., and John Barker, of
Canton, Ohio, were effusive in their praise, and said that they would
have said the same thing even before today's racing was over.
The "best crewshirt" of the day award should have gone to the crew of
Driller, a C&C 38 owned by Stephen Brown of Kincardine, Ontario, and
racing in the Warhorse class. Bearing such logos as 'I'm not boat
fluff,' I like foredeck,' and 'Chaperone,' on the back, and 'Detroit
NOOD 2004,' on the front, the crew looked like a great team. "This is
our tenth Detroit NOOD," said John Armstrong, of Goderich, Ontario,
wearing the t-shirt "brains," and who trims main. Driller and crew heard
cheers from the rest of the fleet after they finally finished the first
and only race on Circle 1. "In the first race we weren't doing too bad,
but the wind died," said Armstrong, "by the time we finally finished,
the whole fleet was cheering us on."
Circle C, with the Cal 25s, Crescents, J/24s, Ultimate 20s, Express 27s,
Etchells, and Melges 24s, got three races off in decent breeze. Bill
Jenkins, of Grosse Point Park, leads the U-20s, with a 1,2,3 scoreline;
Paul Deeds, of Seattle, Wa. tops the Express 27 class with 1,1,2; Chris
Clark, of Birmingham, Mi., leads the Etchells with 1,2,2; and Chuck
Holzman, of Farmington Hills, Mi., is in first in the Melges 24 class,
with a 1,3,1.