2015 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Marblehead: Friday
Leaders start to make themselves known in eight of the classes racing in Marblehead Race Week.
Updated: July 24, 2015
It’s not often that Berit Solstad gets to sail with her sister, Karen, so the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Marblehead is a fun challenge for them to tackle together. The sisters are sailing together aboard Lille Venn, currently in the lead of the classic Town Class, a Marblehead local favorite. Light winds created a challenging day of sailing for all classes, but particularly for the class forerunners as they struggled to get around the racecourse and hold on to their lead.
“We couldn’t get around the mark on that last race, I think we must have tried four times,” says Solstad. “It was challenging with the wind shift, but the prediction was for it to go right, and it did. When that happened, it helped us a lot, and we had some extremely close finishes with the other top teams.”
The Solstad sisters currently sit in first place in the Town Class, with 2-3-1 on the board. Tomorrow, they’ll have the target on their backs as second place Aufblitzen, skippered by David Cooke, looks to take the lead. The competition is all in good fun, as the “townies” are a tight-knit bunch. “Sailing in Marblehead is my favorite,” says Solstad. “We see a lot of new friends and old faces throughout the weekend, which makes it special.”
Mark Masur and his crew, aboard the J/105 Two Feathers, are winning their class after the first day of racing, with two first place finishes followed by a tenth place in the third and final race of the day. The performance was enough to win them the Wilmington Trust Leader Spinnaker, awarded to the daily winner of the J/105 class to fly on the course the next day. “We’re used to sailing in chop, so the smooth water was a whole lot of fun,” says Masur. “We’ve been getting great starts, besides the last race when we got buried, but the crew was great and we picked up four boats.”
Bowman Sean McGuire chimed in with his point of view: “We’re at a point where we’ve been sailing together for so long, we’re all comfortable on the boat. We communicate, but we’re already on top of our jobs. It’s an intuitive part of sailing together—it all clicks.”
Masur and his crew are in Marblehead for the NOOD from Texas. “The fleet has welcomed us with open arms,” says Masur. “The cost of the J/105 has gone down, new people have come in, and the fleet has rejuvenated. It makes it an excellent, fun experience.”
“We can’t finish in the back of the pack tomorrow while flying this spinnaker,” says Masur. “It’s good motivation.”
The second largest fleet of the regatta, the J/70s have 23 boats in the class and were able to get off three races despite the shifty breeze. Jud Smith’s Africa sits in first place currently with four points, followed by Will Welles’ Scamp with seven points and Rascal in third place with 17 points, skippered by Henry Brauer and Stewart Neff.
“Winds started in westerly, and ended southerly,” says Smith. “It was a challenging day with the breeze changes, but we held the lead. The class has quite a few good boats in it, it’s good racing.” Smith’s crew consists of his wife, Cindy, Will Felder, and Marc Gauthier.
Smith recalled the teams’ strong performance with the same boat and crew at Quantum Key West Race Week in January, where they finished fourth overall in the class. “Not sure if tomorrow will be more wind, but Sunday should be how I like,” says Smith. “It’ll be a little more wind, a little drag-racey. More like Key West and that’s what we do well in. We’re looking forward to it.”
To recognize exceptional individual performances in each boat class, NOOD Premiere Sponsor, North Sails, will present daily awards for the top three daily crews in each class. Additionally, on each Saturday of the season, North Sails will present the best performing local boat with an award for that day’s best racing. The final awards will be presented on Sunday, June 14, at the culmination of the event.
The overall winner of the Marblehead NOOD will join Ron Buzil and his crew of the Beneteau First 40.7 Vayu, Grant Dumas of St. Petersburg, Fla., and his crew of the Tripp 38 Warrior and John Laun’s caper crew of San Diego, Calif., along with Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, Terry Hutchinson, winner of the Annapolis NOOD and other victors in the British Virgin Islands to compete in the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Championship hosted by Sunsail. Each overall winning team will be outfitted with new sailing gear, compliments of Helly Hansen.
Along with new title sponsor Helly Hansen, we welcome back renewing sponsors including: Mount Gay Rum, North Sails, Sunsail and West Marine.