Tack for Tack at the Chicago NOOD

The final breezy day was a perfect one for match racing at the front of the Beneteau 40.7 class.


Dave Reed

Allan McMillan’s Beneteau 40.7, Finesse, led its 11-boat class after the second day of the Sailing World Chicago NOOD yesterday, and this morning he and his longtime crewmates sailed out to the racecourse with a 1-point cushion over Tom and Deborah Weber’s La Tempete. Both teams knew there was only one thing to do–match race one another. “In the first start, we were a couple of seconds late and when we tacked to clear out they were right on us,” says McMillan. “From that point on, when we tacked they tacked on us and we tried everything to shake them–we even tried a fake tack, but they were flawless in covering us.” The Webers held Finesse throughout the race and they finished 1-2, tying the series before the final race. Then it was Finesse’s turn. “I’ve never done this before, says McMillan, “but at 3 minutes before the start I started tailing them. In the final minute, we held them out beyond the committee boat and were able to shut them out. They had no choice but to fall in line behind us and we did to them exactly what they’d done to us.” Tack for tack, they sailed around the racecourse, never more than two boatlengths apart, and then, as they made their way down the final run, a dark squall moved across Lake Michigan. “It got up to at least 30 knots in one gust,” says McMillan, ” and boats were broaching all around us. It got real intense onboard because we knew one bobble and we’d be done.” Finesse’s victory came on a perfect day for racing on Lake Michigan, one which delivered 15 to 20 knots, steep chop, and warm, sunny skies (with the exception of a fast-moving squall). In all 21 classes, the racing was regularly close, especially among the colorful Tartan 10s. Tim and Nancy Snyder’s T-10 Cheap Thrills, from Chicago, sailed two solid races, posting 3-3 finishes to win the day, and the overall title in the 47-boat class by 5 points over Donald Wilson’s Convergence, also from Chicago. On the same racing circle, Mike Naugher’s Hobie 33, Coyote, sailed a flawless day in its 13-boat PHRF 4 division, with two runaway wins. Mike Dow’s Melges 24, Flying Toaster, from Traverse City, Mich., had won four of its six races earlier in the weekend, which allowed them to sit out the final race, and still finish the regatta with a 9-point lead. Dennis Bartley’s Planxty, a J/30 from nearby Oak Park, Mich., Bernard Soya’s J/24, Motorhome, from Deerfield, Ill., and Dick Daniels’ S2 9.1 Entropy, from Highland Park, Ill., each went undefeated today for their class titles. For Daniels, the win also get them the S2 9.1 North American title. On the Division B course, the southernmost of the three racing circles, the 23-boat J/105 class experienced some of the toughest sailing of the weekend, thanks to the fresher breeze, but David Wagner’s Minneapolis-based Gigi, with Lars Hansen skipper, held on to the lead it claimed yesterday–Gigi’s 4-7 finishes were not its best, but were good enough for a 4-point win over John Halbert’s Vitese Extreme, whose 13th in the final race was its undoing. Also on Circle A, Len Siegel’s Luckie Dubie 2, a J/109 from Chicago, won its PHRF 3 class with 2-3 finishes; Martin Finerty’s Hunter Legend, Orion, from Chicago, won both of its races to win the Level 99-113 class. The top J/35 was William Newman’s Aftershock, from Muskegon, Mich., which never finished worse than fourth in the regatta. David Schneider’s Corsair F31R, High Priority 2, from East Lansing, Mich., was the top trimaran in the eight-boat Corsair division; Robert Foley’s Beneteau 36.7 Tried and True, from Glencoe, Ill., won its nine-boat division with two wins. In the final race, Foley ousted Jim and Mike Anderson’s Raptor from the overall lead. John Boyle’s Mirage, a Beneteau 42 from Aurora, Ill., won the 42-foot class with 1-2 finishes on the day. The big boats on Circle A reveled in the day’s fresher breeze, and in the PHRF 1 division, Philip O’Neil’s Natalie J, a Nelson/Marek 46 hailing from Detroit, got the best of its 10 competitors, winning the final race to get the upperhand of a tie-breaker with Rick Woodworth’s Great Lake 70, Mirage. In PHRF 2, the top boat was Eagles Wings, a Grand Soleil owned by John Gottwald, of Overland Park, Kan. Local Farr 40 champion Robert Hughes and his team on Heartbreaker sailed a hard-fought, 9-point win in the 10-boat Farr 40 class. Shawn and Jerry O’Neill, also of Chicago, continued their local dominance in the Sydney 38 class with a 4-point win, and posted no finish worse than second after seven races. Hank Bernbaum’s Chaos, from Libertyville, Ill., was the top Farr 395 by 5 points, and David Kirk’s One-Design 35, Detente, sailed a near-perfect series (six of seven races) to win its seven-boat class.


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