By edging out Spike Boston’s Frequent Flyer team by one point to win the S2 7.9 division, David Flechsig’s Rooster Tail earned top honors at the 2009 Sperry Top-Sider St. Petersburg NOOD.
Long before he won the S2 7.9 class and first place overall at the 2009 Sperry Top-Sider St. Petersburg NOOD, David Flechsig was a 16-year-old Florida surfer coping with a move to frosty New England.
“The water was way too cold for me to go surfing,” explained Flechsig (pronounced “flexy”) following his recent victory, “so I decided to give sailing a shot.”
A quick spin on the 9-foot Boston Whaler Squall belonging to his girlfriend’s grandfather launched Flechsig’s love affair with sailing; he later married the girlfriend, too. He spent his college years working the foredeck on J/24s and other boats, but it wasn’t until he started racing PHRF that he aspired to join the afterguard.
“I used the think the guys in the back were just aiming the boat,” admitted the 52-year-old, who runs an insurance agency in Port Charlotte, Florida. “Eventually I got curious as to what was going on back there.”
A loyal Sailing World subscriber, Flechsig would flip through the pages of the Harken One-Design Directory searching for a boat that would serve his passion for racing without forcing him to leave his family out of the fun. “I kept turning back to the S2 7.9,” he said. “I thought, ‘This boat has the potential to do some legitimate racing, but it would also be good for taking the kids out camping and fishing.’ The S2 7.9 is perfect for Florida because you can go in and out of shallow water with no problem.”
Flechsig purchased his S2 7.9 Rooster Tail in 2003 and dove right into the competitive racing scene, where he found the NOOD regatta series to be profoundly helpful in developing his racing skills. “These NOOD regattas have given me the opportunity to experience one-design racing in an incredible format,” said Flechsig. “It’s been so valuable in helping me develop as a sailor because you get exposed to so many other one-design classes. You have the best of the best racing in some classes, yet in other classes you have guys who are getting their first taste of one-design racing. And then when you get that cross connection between the two happening at the dock, it’s like, how far do you want to go with this? I can’t think of another sailing event in the country where you can do that.”
At the 2009 St. Petersburg NOOD, Flechsig edged out Frequent Flyer skipper Spike Boston, who has played a key role in Flechsig’s progress in the S2 7.9 class. “Spike’s the cream of the crop in this field,” said Flechsig. “He’s been very helpful, always open to any questions you might have, always the first to congratulate you on a victory, always there promoting the class, pushing us, and challenging us.”
In order to come out on top against Frequent Flyer and other close competitors in the 10-boat division, Flechsig relied on the keen observation skills of his crew, tactician Brian Malone, spinnaker trimmer Danny Weidenhoft, headsail trimmer Scotty Endicott, and foredeck Kat Malone. “The key was staying in phase with the shifts and keeping us out of the holes,” said Flechsig. “We did a good job of playing it smart and realizing what was happening with the wind.”
While he’s looking forward to attending the NOOD Championships in the Caribbean come November, Flechsig’s first order of business will be to defend his S2 7.9 crown at the Annapolis NOOD in April. And he isn’t stopping with the S2 7.9. “I also have an SR 21,” he adds. “Also, I recently bought a Star. And I share a J/24. It’s gotten to the point where my passion for the sport is driving my wallet. I guess maybe we’re starting to deal with a little overindulgence…”
Overindulgence? In the sport of sailing, there’s no such thing.