When It's You and Your Rival

What happens in the Seattle NOOD's smallest class?

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Clear skies and mountain peaks bring great sailing for Melges 24 teams at the 2008 Sperry Top-Sider Seattle NOOD regatta.Neil Rabinowitz

Everyone wants to sail in big one-design fleets. You know, the ones with a pile of boats on the line, sheeted in, in near unison, headed off on starboard tack, and fighting for the a lane ever so slim. But sometimes you're lucky to have only a few and you have to make the most of it when only three boats actually show up to race a big series. And when one of those guys in your three-boat fleet is the guy that no one no can ever beat-any time anywhere, you just stick it to him whenever and wherever you can.

So the story goes with the 1D35s at the Sperry Top-Sider Seattle NOOD Regatta. It may be the smallest class at the NOOD this weekend, but at each start they're going at each other with venom.

"They're impossible to beat," says Tim Cleary, a crewmember of the 1D35 Minor Threat. His rivals on John Hoag's Shrek, undefeated thus far after six races in two days, are virtually untouchable. "We have to go after them somehow," he adds, as he stands in line to collect his second-place trophies for the day. "We have to go after him."

In Exhibit A are the three 1D35 starts of the day, with these two boats match racing, tailing, and pushing each other over the line as if they'd both been watching too much America's Cup reruns on the Versus Network. As they stuck it one another in the span of 30 feet of a 200-foot or longer starting line, neither get away clean, but over the next 30 minutes or so Hoag and his teammates would extract themselves, extend on the fleet, and bid sayonara to their rivals. "There were a few times where we were faster," adds Cleary, ever wishful. "But every time we were gaining inches we were losing feet."

One of Hoag crew, of course, says he expects nothing less of their rivals, and is digging the spirited duels on the starting line. "It's awesome," he exudes. "I say bring it on! It's all they can do. It keeps it fun."

Hoag is virtually assured of the win as the regatta enters its third and final day tomorrow, but in many other classes, the results are tight among the top boats, so there's plenty of good racing to come after two solid days of wind and sun (in phenomenon in and of itself in Seattle). Much like yesterday, the wind filled in by mid-morning, this time from the south, allowing the race committees of Seattle and Corinthian YCs to fire off a handful more races. "It was absolutely perfect conditions out there," says one Formula 18 catamaran crew. "Flat water, 12 knots, and double trap…just sweet."

The Formula 18s are among six other centerboard classes that joined the regatta today, and all got in six races to start off the series right. For the complete run down on classes, check the results, and we'll check back in tomorrow with insight from a few of the first Sperry Top-Sider Seattle NOOD Regatta.