Musical artist Samual Jack’s Instagram-viral song “Feels Like Summer” would be the ideal track to set the tone for Friday’s racing at the Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series in Marblehead. It was the second day of this New England summer tradition, and indeed, the sun was blazing, the sea breeze light and Massachusetts Bay as tame as can be. It all added up to one fine and smooth day of racing for sailors and race committees across three race circles and nine classes.
Picking up the series where the Rhodes 19 class left off yesterday—as one of only two classes that traditionally race on Thursday—Matt Hooks and teammate Rob Pascal on The Mighty Rhodes got right back to business after winning two of three races on the opening day and then and padding their lead today in the 22-boat class to an impressive 19 points.
Jeff Shoreman and Dave Reynolds’ McLovin were hot on their transom all day, looking to recover one race at a time from the pile of points they earned with a 12 in the series’ third race, but with an 11 in the day’s final race, team McLovin gave Peter Frisch’s Hall Pass the No. 2 spot on the scoresheet. With two days of races to come, there’s plenty of opportunity for fortunes to change, but Hooks and Pascal are local champions for good reason: they know these waters well and they just keep getting faster every year.
The same is true for Bill Widnall and his teammates on Javelin, the Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series Marblehead overall winner in 2022. Widnall, master of the classic International One-Design, has a 1-point lead over Carolyn Corbet and her teammates on Elektra, which got ahead of Widnall more than once, but was simply unable to outsmart or out-sail the wise man and his experienced crew.
It is no surprise to locals either that top sailmaker and keelboat-racing specialist Tomas Hornos, helming Ed Moray’s Bob, sits atop the Etchells fleet, which began its regatta series today with three races. Hornos and his teammates went 2-3-1 on the day to put them 1 point ahead of Chris Lanza’s Vertigo 2, from Miami. A pair of race wins and a fourth for Hornos should be considered hard-fought finishes on a challenging day marked by wind shifts and meandering wind veins. Current, as always, was a factor across all three race circles, but the winning approach to the racing, several sailors noted, was finding and capitalizing on the slightly stronger wind bands.
With the International Lightning Class making its return to this regatta after nearly 40 years, it’s fitting to have Charles Ritt, one of the fleet’s original sailors from back in the day, out front in the standings after three light-air races on the regatta’s busy “Tinkers Line” racecourse. Ritt, with crew Shyah Miller and Charles Quigly, sailed a 1-2-1 to put themselves a mere point ahead of youngsters Owen Moore, Emma Hawko and Ed Coleman, beneficiaries of the Lightning Class’s loaner-boat program and a well-practiced team.
Three classes at the Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series are sailing for their New England Championship titles: The Town class, the Viper 640s and the J/70s, and for the later, Brian Keane’s Savasana continued to demonstrate why they’re the top US team this year as they head into the upcoming J/70 World Championship. Savasana put up a 2-3-1 keeper of a day to past world champion Jud Smith’s 1-5-4. There’s only 4 points between these two top-ranked teams, and both know the battle is early yet.
For the Viper 640s, it’s Mike and Kai Deyett, and Jeffrey Hankins, of Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire, tied on points with Henry Amthor’s Bob, Parker and Henry. But only one point in arrears is past regatta champion Mark Zaleski’s Team Z, winners of two races after finishing eighth in the tightly-bunched 22-boat fleet in the opening race.
The Town class series has Nick Cann’s Tonic out front. With crewmate Andrea Dodge, Cann won the first two races, handily, and then finished the day with a second to put 8 points between themselves and Bill Heffernan’s Sweep.
Four race wins for Charlie Garrard’s team on the J/105 Merlin—perennial winners of this regatta—finds them in familiar territory and fighting a familiar battle with Ric Dexter’s Brouhaha, which followed them across the line in three races, but claimed the series’ first-race win. Here, too, only a single point is the difference as the regatta picks again on Saturday with the addition of ILCA and ILCA 6 fleets rounding out the regatta’s 11 classes.