When the Breeze Came On

The climactic day of the Rogers Wireless/Sailing World NOOD in Toronto turned sunny, windy and for some, rather eventful

Sonic Boom

John Burnham

In any fleet, if you score four firsts in a row you'll wow your competitors and build you a tremendous lead, but when the wind picks up and shifts, making the run a reach, you have just as big a handful as any other crew getting the spinnaker down at the leeward mark. "We came in too hot," said Michael Jones, skipper of the J/105-leading Starcross, "but we were so desperate to get around the favored gate mark that we didn't bear off enough to get the chute down." Starcross's blue and yellow spinnaker went in the water, and the fleet sailed by. In the second race, things got worse when the roller furler stopped working. "We sailed one leg with half a jib," said Arthur English, Jones's partner. Despite scoring an 8th and a 9th in the 11-boat fleet, Starcross maintained a 10-point lead to win the 9-race series. Jones admitted they were happy the race committee didn't signal a third race and credited their luck to English's wife for all her charity work at her church. "It's a Sunday, after all," he said. The closer finish in the J/105 class was between Michael Mountford's TBA, in second, one point ahead of Robert Baker's Planet B and Ian Farquharson's Sonic Boom. The latter two tied, with Planet B winning the tie-breaker. No doubt Farquharson would like to have back one wild jibe at the end of the first race of the day when his spinnaker made a sound befitting the boat's name as it blew up; in the process, George Mezo's Forro slipped by, taking away a crucial point. In the 20-boat Shark class, James Barkman's Silver Phantom narrowly defeated John Brunt and Mark Wiggin's UNC on the last day of racing. Barkman's long-time bowman, David Dawson, who coincidentally coaches the local Sharks youth hockey team, credited their win in the first race to a great start. "But we had trouble at the second start," he said, "when a 50-knot gust came through just before the gun; well maybe 50 knots is a slight exaggeration, but the breeze really knocked us over." Gord Nikaido's Shoestring won that race and UNC was fourth. Silver Phantom overcame its poor start to finish seventh and win the class by 4 points. On the same course as the Sharks, two J/24 sailors went overboard at one mark rounding in the last race and were picked up by competitors. Rob Erglis's Hot Box and Morten Fogh's Fogh Marine each retrieved a sailor and then retired. They were later awarded an average-points score; Hot Box had recorded an ultra-consistent 4-3-4-6-7-7 and ended up third for the series behind Thomas Barbeau's Navtechica (which had four firsts) and Jeremy Lucas's It's a Rental (which had three seconds). Fogh and Erglis were acknowledged for their seamanship at the prize-giving on the Royal Canadian YC lawn later in the afternoon. Sixty-six first-, second-, and third-place prizes were handed out, and one additional man overboard occurred when Dan Shriner, winning skipper of the Beneteau 36.7 Legend, was duped into posing for a dockside photo and then sent swimming at the hands of his loyal crewmates.