Vim Prevails As Top Swan 45


Dave Reed

As a 5-knot southerly veined across Long Island Sound this morning for the third and final day of the Sailing World Larchmont NOOD Regatta, everyone knew it would be a frustrating dayone punctuated with shifts and windless holes. But Craig Speck's crew on the Swan 45 Vim, the series leader, knew exactly what to do.

"The start was pin favored and we wanted to get right no matter what, even if we had to duck boats," said Speck. That wasn't necessary as Vim started on port tack, passed below the fleet and straight-lined to the right side of the racecourse. "We saw more pressure, and wanted to get up-current," said Speck, "and we knew we had to keep going, even though the rest to the fleet was far left of us." One tack later, they were half a leg ahead at the weather mark and the race was over.

On the same circle, it wasn't as easy for sailmaker Mark Ploch, sailing his first-ever Beneteau 36.7 regatta on M&Ms. After winning all of yesterday's races, he finally found himself mid-fleet after rounding the first weather mark in what would be the only race of the day. But M&Ms has speed. "We had a bad first half when we fell out of a wind vein," said Ploch, "and we were doing too many tacks. But on the run, we passed a few boats by sailing down the middlewhich is normally what you wouldn't do on a day like todayso we stuck to the middle on the second beat. We found that there was much better wind there because there were so many boats playing the right."

In light air, clean air is king, and that principle worked well for Damien Emery's Eclipse, winner of the 19-boat J/105 class, the biggest fleet here. Emery and his team from Shoreham, N.Y., were using the event as a tune-up for their North American Championship in Marion, Mass., next weekend, and walked away with a much needed confidence boost. They won three races yesterday, and then went 5-7-2 today to win the series by 3 points over Steven Leight's Moonshine.

"We were winning the last race, but gave up our lead when we went off to cover Moonshine," said Emery, "that was our strategy all along." But for today's second and final race, there was an extra wrinkle for Eclipse; all the races they'd won they'd started at the pin, and their worst two finishes came after boat-end starts. "The logical choice was to start at the pin where we had lots of room and could just foot off and go fast," said Emery. Once we'd extended enough we could tack and cross the fleet." Eclipse lead down the run, but on the second beat focused on Moonshine, allowing Anthony Leggett's Conundrum to win the race, but second was all they needed to win the series.

In the Soveral 33 fleet, Iris Vogel's Deviation finished with a near-perfect scoreline--five wins and one secondto win that series with relative ease. The same was true for Douglas Davies in the J/27 fleet; of the eight races sailed, he won seven. Ed Austin won a tight series in the J/30 fleet1 point being the final difference. A solid performance in the Express 37 fleet earned local sailmaker Adam Loory a post-awards swim. Other overall class winners were: Jeffrey Willis' Challenge IV (J/44), Mike Fracchia's Carpe Diem (Farr 395), and Al Minella's Relentless (J/109).