Second Day of NOOD packed with Drama and Carnage

Yesterday’s breezy conditions escalated to an estimated 20 knots with puffs up to 25, which made for a second day packed with drama and carnage at the Sailing World San Diego NOOD regatta. A non-racing Capri 22 lost two crew members overboard, and kept sailing with the jib sheet cleated. The first person in the water was rescued by the Holder 20 “Overkill” owned by Jerry and Barbara Buk of Fallon, Nevada. The first on the scene, they dropped their jib immediately and pulled one man out of the water on the 2nd pass.

They hailed the nearest boat, Joan Chandler’s J/2, Free Radical, and pointed to the man still in the water. Chandler immediately came over and
rescued the 2nd sailor. Both Chandler and Fallon received redress points for their rescues. “I told my crew to look for heads in the water,” said Chandler. “We saw two, and turned around to get one. The rescue boat picked up the other.” Free Radical is in sixth place with a total of 20 points in the 11 boat J/24 fleet.
Steve Ross aboard his Capri 22 CarmeLinda is leading his fleet of 8 Capri 22s with just four points. “Our strategy was to stay upright,” said Ross. “It was that simple. They were survival conditions out there, and we were just trying not to do something stupid and break the boat.” Ross recalls watching a Capri 22 death roll, putting a spreader in the water. “They went shrimping,” said Ross, in a description of how the spinnaker went in the water. Most of the Capri 22 sailors reefed their mainsails. Another Capri 22 turtled, entangling her mast with the committee boat.
The Etchells fleet saw a change in the lead when Erik Bentzen, of San Diego, aboard Odin slipped into first with 22 points. He recalls watching America’s Cup veteran Dennis Connor lee bow him, only to get tangled with another Etchells that lost its mast. Fortunately Bentzen’s mast stayed intact, although his boat, which was built in 1978, was the oldest boat in the 30-boat Etchells fleet. It was his father’s boat before Bentzen took it over and replaced its lines. “My crew was complaining a lot today because the Etchell is slow when it’s loaded,” said Bentzen. “We seem to do pretty well when the waves are up and the breeze is up.”
Bob Aman, with his crew Andy Carson and Ben Wood aboard their Ultimate 20 Rogue won the single race that was held on their course. “We were out of control,” recalls Wood. “We were the only boat that didn’t reef their mainsail. We were doing our best to be rogues!” An Etchell on the course lost its mast, another Ultimate 20 lost its mast and an International 14 broke its mast. “We were disappointed that we only got one race in,” said Wood, “But I can certainly understand the race committee’s decision. It was pure carnage out there.” Overall, Wood, Carson, and Aman said they are excited about their performance and are hopeful for good results at the Ultimate 20 National Championship, which will take place this May. “The downwind driving was difficult, but Bob really did a great job,” said Wood.
The second biggest fleet at this year’s NOOD regatta is the J/105 fleet, with a turnout of 25 boats. Topping this impressive quantity so far is Wings, skippered by Dennis Case with crews Gary Gudnitsky, David Loysen, Jim Dorsey, Dan Fitzgerald and Case’s wife, Sharon. “You don’t know how much water she took,” said Dennis Case of Sharon, who worked the bow. The Cases purchased their J/105 just ten days ago, and spent the days rigging it. Case says he is pleased with his new boat and excited about being a member of the J/105 community. “We’re going to get 30 out here next year,” he said. “The fleet is very competitive and very close.” Case said that the high winds of today are conditions that his crew rarely experiences in their home waters of Mission Bay, Calif. He said that heading up and bearing off through the five-foot swells was a crucial factor in their speed. “Some of the guys were trying to go up too high, and they had no choice but to bear off. But there are some very good sailors in the fleet.”
Not even three bullets could help move Mike Gettinger, of Aspen, Co., into first place in the F/24 fleet. He remains in second aboard Super Fly . He bought the boat just two days ago and says he is still learning how to sail the boat. Gettinger will get a complete new crew tomorrow, so he considers his success to be up in the air. “We’re going to match race Sea Smoke,” he says, speaking of the current class leader who has seven points, five points ahead of Gettinger’s overall score of 12. “It’s just starting to come together,” he said. “It was much better than it was on the first day when we were way overpowered.”
Greg Hamm, of Las Vegas, Nevada., the skipper of Snaps, is being caught up with on the Holder 20 course. Friend and rival Will Jaffe aboard his boat Maya is tied for first place with Hamm and has the chance to break Hamm’s three-year winning streak. Jaffe won the single race held despite getting T-boned at the windward mark. They patched a large hole that resulted in the side of the boat, with duct tape. “The rig handled well, nonetheless,” said Jaffe. “It was a good close race.”
Meanwhile, Hamm is revved up to keep his trophy. “Tomorrow we start fresh,” he says. “I made a bad sail change call. As the skipper, I take full responsibility.”