2009 Sperry Top-Sider Detroit NOOD Coverage

Ted Pinkerton needed to sail his Tartan 10 /Perfect/ true to its name to win the overall championship of the 2009 Detroit NOOD Regatta. He divulges a few of his secrets in this post-regatta interview



Notice of Race

List of Entries


Class Coordinators

Waiver Form (turn in at registration)

Detroit NOOD Schedule of Events


Dinner Menu (Yum!)

Results from the 2008 Detroit NOOD

June 3, 2009


Among the 20 classes at the 2009 Sperry Top-Sider Detroit NOOD Regatta, three stood out when we reviewed the final results. The Melges 24 class is always in the conversation when we look for an overall winner from a NOOD regatta and this regatta was no exception. Alan Field on WTF sailed a great regatta, finishing every race in the top 4. With 19 boats and a tight group at the top of the standings, the Tartan 10 fleet had to be considered as well. But it isn’t just about fleet size. The seven-boat J/120 fleet was very competitive, with six points separating first from fourth. Additionally five of the boats won an individual race and all but one had a sixth or worse on their scoreline.

But the more we looked, the more we liked Ted Pinkerton, who steered his Tartan 10 Perfect to the win in their class. Eight points separated first from fourth, and both Pinkerton and Heidi Backus Riddle, who finished second on Nuts, had to overcome sevenths. Plus Pinkerton was down by three points going into the final two races.

After the awards ceremony we caught up with a very happy Ted Pinkerton. His crew for the regatta was son Nicholas Pinkerton, brother Doug Pinkerton, Lee Sackett, Steve Sackett, Bryan Pappas, and Cynda Graham.


Tell us a bit about the boat, the crew, your hometown
We’ve owned the boat for 20-some years. The boat is from Cleveland, we grew up sailing at Mentor Harbor YC. The crew is primarily a nucleus from the Cleveland area. All amateur sailors, we don’t sail with any pros or sailmakers, but have kept a core group together and that’s kept us competitive.

Your hometown is Cleveland?
Right, a suburb of Cleveland. Right now I live in Aurora. But I’ve lived in Cleveland Heights and some suburbs around there.

Have you owned the boat for 20 years?
My dad bought the boat. My dad passed away about six years ago and I basically took over the operations and ownership of the boat.

So you grew up crewing for him?
Crewing for him on big boats, then doing a lot of dinghy stuff, college sailing, various big boat campaigns. But always kind of came back to the Tartan 10 as our regular, staple boat.

What do you do for a living?
I’m in insurance, we have an independent agency in the Cleveland area.

How old are you?
I’m 43 years old

My son is on board, my brother is on board, I’ve got three girls.

Tell us about your Tartan 10 experience. No one rises to the top of this class quickly, so I imagine you’ve had other successes?
We have. We’ve won a number of different NOOD regattas. Lake Erie is where we sail mostly. Have not won the nationals yet, we’ve been close, come second a couple of times. The nationals are in Mentor this year, local waters, so we’ll be gunning for that.

Does that make this year a little more serious than others?
We try to stay on an equal level, enthusiasm-wise. You don’t want to get overly amped up, then the highs and lows get into your head. You try to keep it level and it seems to work. We try to keep the boat fun and light, no screaming, and it seems to work.

Tell us about this regatta. We saw a lot of different breeze directions and strengths, from light up to nearly 20 knots. What was working well for you?
We’re good at changing gears for varying conditions. We know the boat really well, so we know how to make it go well in varying conditions.

With a 100 percent jib on the Tartan 10 you don’t have a ton of power. How do you power up in the light stuff?
Just really soften things up and let it breathe. It doesn’t want to be pushed too hard. You want to let everything breathe open; let the sails that you’ve got drive it as best you can.

There were also a lot of shifts during the regatta. How did your formulate your strategy for each leg?
It was a combination of everybody, Lee Sackett and Steve Sackett and everybody on the boat just gives us input and it all filters back to me and we make a final decision. There was both windshift and velocity decisions and competition decisions. Sometimes you don’t take advantage of a shift because you want to protect against competitors or people that you need to stay with. It’s a whole mental board game that you’re playing.

You came into the final two races in second, 3 points behind another perennial class favorite, Heidi Backus Riddle on Nuts. What was your game plan for the day?
Our goal was just to get out and do well in the first race and not really think about too much strategy with moving boats around. And we accomplished that by winning the first race. So we knew at that point we just needed one or two boats between us and Heidi. It had gotten lighter and we said we’ve just got to try to do well and then on the last leg see where all the chips fell and go from there. We needed to beat her with a boat in between and it worked out that’s how the cards fell. They shortened the last race and they finished us to windward on the third leg and we knew at the leeward mark that the boats were set up the way we wanted it so we just tried to do well on that last beat and keep everything the way it was. It was tough, it was tough to even control a boat close to you because it was stop, start, up, down, it was everywhere. At that point you’ve got to do the best you can, make your boat go through the water as best you can.

May 31, 2009

Stuart Streuli| |**The overall winners of the 2009 Sperry Top-Sider Detroit NOOD? Well, in one manner of speaking. **|

Pinkerton’s Nearly Perfect Second Half Takes Overall Honors at Detroit NOOD

Ted Pinkerton and his team, including son Nick and brother Doug, were nearly flawless in the final four races of the 19-boat Tartan 10 class at the 2009 Sperry Top-Sider Detroit NOOD. Pinkerton’s Perfect finished the eight-race series with three seconds and a first. As good as that was, he still needed some help from his fleet-mates to win the overall trophy. Former Rolex yachtswoman of the year Heidi Backus Riddle, on Nuts, finished seventh in that final race, a fourth or better would’ve given her team the crown. Find the overall results here.

Pinkerton’s team was one of three fleet winners to make the short list for the overall championship of the Detroit NOOD, the other’s being California YC’s Alan Field, who won the Melges 24 class with an impressive string of top-four finishes, and Frank Kern’s Carinthia, which took a seven-boat J//120 class by 3 points over second and six points over third. Five of seven boats won races in the J/120 class, six of seven recorded a top-two finish.

Ted Pinkerton's Tartan 10 team on Perfect was the Detroit NOOD's Overall winner in 2009.
Overall winners from the 2009 Sperry Top-Sider Sailing World Archives

Stuart Streuli| |**Ted Pinkerton (center, blue polo shirt, with son Nick to left) and the crew of his Tartan 10 Perfect celebrate winning the overall championship of the 2009 Sperry Top-Sider Detroit NOOD Regatta. More photos, from, can be found here. **| But the Tartan 10 class, which has always been so strong in the Detroit and Chicago NOOD regattas was deemed to be the most competitive by the NOOD staff. Just eight points separated first from fourth in the 19-boat fleet, and both Pinkerton and Backus Riddle had to absorb seventh-place finishes on their scorelines. To no surprise, the announcement was greeted with thunderous applause. Like many grass-roots fleets, the Tartan 10 folks take an overall win by the winner as an overall win for the entire class. As they should. We’ll have an interview with Pinkerton coming soon.

May 30, 2009

Wow, what a day. Plenty of breeze, three races, lots of action. Results can be found here. Everyone is enjoying the post-race party, and preparing for the Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, which are being played in Detroit tonight. Day 2 photos are here.

May 30, 2009

Rare Moment on the Helm

College sailing spoils you in many ways. Every weekend spring and fall, there’s a regatta where someone will give you a boat, a course, starting signals, etc. You get to sail Lasers, CJs, 420s, and bigger boats on occasion. You begin to take for granted the privilege of skippering your own boat in a regatta. Of course, the reality is much different, as I’ve learned in the 16 years since I graduated. I have a Laser, which I sail in Newport’s frostbite fleet, but it’s not unusual for me to go the entire summer without taking the tiller in a racing situation.

So when I told my friend Sandi that I would be at the Detroit NOOD, and she asked whether I’d like to go sailing on-and drive-one of the club’s Ultimate 20s, it took me but a second to reply.

Day 1 was just about perfect. Our results were OK-we didn’t lose the regatta-but the experience couldn’t have been better. Sandi and her friend Krista-aka Wonder Woman-have the tricks of crewing on the U20s down pat. So all I had to do was drive, and ask a lot of questions. “How are we doing?” “Where’s the mark?” “Why are we slow?” “We feel fast, do we look fast?” “Where’s the next shift?” “Are you sure?” “How did I screw that up?”

With a day of sailing under our belts, I hope we’ll be sharper today. We’re in third, but first place isn’t out of reach. Neither is 7th or 8th.

May 29, 2009

Clear Sailing on Lake St. Clair

A beautiful way to start the Detroit NOOD. With a few late sign ups, we equaled last year’s total of 192 boats. Each one was treated to a fabulous day of sailing, with most fleets getting in three strong races. The breeze never quite picked up to the expected 10 to 15 knots, bouncing around between the mid to high single digits, but the direction was fairly steady. The sun was out for most of the day and the rain stayed away until the sail in. Results can be found here, more to come in a bit, including photos from Jeremiah Tamaga-Darr of

May 27, 2009

Previews and Predictions

As of today we have 188 boats in 20 classes register for the regatta. Last year, 192 boats raced, so we’re very close to that number, which is a great sign. The Melges 24 class, with 26 boats, should be the largest on Lake St. Clair this weekend. Both the Tartan 10 and Cal 25 classes are very close breaking into the 20s as well. The Detroit NOOD will be the second NOOD to feature a Melges 20 class. Six of these little rockets are signed up. They’re sure to create some buzz both on the water and at dockside. The 20 is a slick package. I sailed it last fall in Newport, before it went on to win Best One-Design in Sailing World’s Boat of the Year contest, and was quite impressed.

As we’ve done for the past two NOODs, we emailed the class coordinators for the Detroit NOOD and asked them to give us a short overview of their class. Here are a few thoughts:

S2 7.9 Class (7 entries)

The S2 7.9 Fleet includes some of the top boats from last year’s Detroit NOOD and class’s North American Championship (including the winners from both of those events), as well as a few perennial local favorites. Although the fleet is small, with just seven boats, competitors can expect exciting starts and close racing as old rivalries are renewed.

-Gordon Couture

Tartan 10 Class (19 entries)

The T-10 class has a very competitive entry list this year, as over half the boats could come away with a victory. There are 5 past North American Championship winners in the fleet, including Heidi Riddle, the 1985 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, on Nuts.

Ted Pinkerton, on Perfect, is attempting a first ever 3-peat in the Detroit NOOD. Ted was the winner in 2007 and 2008 and should be fast again this year.

Gary Snider and Tim Mullins are expected to have a good showing on Rumors. They lost their rig in the heavy air last year after some strong early scores in their first regatta with the boat.

-Mike Eckstein

J/120 Class (7 entries)

In spite of the large spread of the J/120 class IRC ratings, these boats are very close in speed and any one of them can win the NOOD based on tactics and crew ability. Jerry Bresser of Flyin’ Irish comes in from his 2008 one-design victory in the Bayview Mackinac. Don Hudak’s Capers returns from his overwhelming 2008 victory of the J/120 class in Harbor Springs. Henry Mistile Night Moves will be defending his 2008 NOOD victory, which he won in the last race. Marv Ihnen’s Ihnsanity will be returning with his first place success in the DYRA series on Lake St. Clair. Bob Kirkman’s Hot Ticket, although he didn’t claim any bullets in 2008, will be returning with a veteran J/120 crew and is always in the thick of competition. Frank Kern’s Carinthia did not race in last year’s NOOD, but will be coming back with a class triumph in the Chicago Race to Mackinac class and winner of the J/120’s Great Lakes Trophy.

Competition in this class is very competitive and these veterans of the J/120 class should have another close battle for victory.

-Frank Kern

Cal 25 (18 entries)

Tony Bessinger| |The Cal 25 class will once again be one of the biggest at the Sperry Top-Sider Detroit NOOD|

The host club Bayview YC supports over 30 members as Cal 25 owners. While not all race regularly, a Tuesday Sunset Series draws 12 to 15 boats on a rather short starting line. Lots of bumps but no red flags.

Our Cal 25 class is one of the most competitive racing classes. Breaking into the top 5 is very difficult. That would include regulars like Dale Marshall’s Clytie, David Holme’s Holme Brew, Tom Schreiber’s Annie Mayme, John Shumaker’s Pirogue, and of course Brian Shenstone’s Draco, the four-time National Champion. In the past, the class has had its winners from the Detroit NOOD invited to the B.V.I. to race against other NOOD winners.

-Jerry Maiorano

Melges 24 (26 entries)

• The Melges 24 Class expected 25-30 entrants…and we have 25 [now 26]. This is the exact same number of entrants in 2008. I know there are a couple more days for registrants, we’re not giving up though that there may be more.

• As in St. Pete, the Melges 24 is the largest class in attendance.

The who’s who…

• 2008 Melges 24 Detroit NOOD defending champ Alan Field is back! – Guaranteed crew: Etchell’s World Champs Steve Hunt and Erik Shampain

• Paul Hulsey on has always done well in Detroit. Besides this being his stomping ground, at one point during the Melges 24 Nationals in 2007, Hulsey led the overall standings.

• Rob Butler: 2009 Melges 24 St. Pete NOOD Corinthian Champs will be participating in Detroit and are amongst the teams up for consideration in the Corinthian league once more.

• Mike Dow on Flying Toaster. Mike just won the Gateway Regatta in Carlyle about a month ago. Did Muskegon last weekend. Definitely one to watch.

• John Podmajersky – has won here in the past, always does well.

• August Hernandez has been stepping up his program and would place him on the slated to do well list.

• It will be interesting to see who Andy Robinson has on board. During the 2007 Nationals he employed the efforts of 2008 Olympian and former Yngling world champion Carrie Howe.

• Laurie Bunn and Rob Bunn – the class’ second notable husband-and-wife Melges 24 two-boat effort.

-Joy Dunigan