The J-22 Slo-Poke, skippered by veteran Star campaigner John Greening, of Austin, TX, completed day two of the 2001 Sailing World Texas NOOD, hosted by Houston YC, in a riveting tie with Dwight LeBlanc’s WaveMaker. So far, Slo-Poke has won all the races except one in which she finished eighth, having been over early at the start. WaveMaker, whose crew hails from New Orleans, also racked up 11 points today, but Slo-Poke wins the tie-breaker for having finished first the most. “We’re pretty confident that they’re gonna get drunk tonight, being New Orleans folks and all,” said Slo-Poke bowman Eric Faust of his competition aboard WaveMaker. Faust and Bonner Cordelle, who owns Slo-Poke, have been sailing together for years, and won the Sailing World Texas NOOD two years in a row. They pursue the J-22 circuit all around the country, from Cleaveland, Ohio, to Annapolis, Md. “We go all over,” says Faust. “We love it. As long as we’ve got a fleet to race against, we’re happy.”
The folks aboard Slo-Poke have a unique way of keeping each other in check on the racecourse. They keep a rubber chicken in their cabin. “Whoever screws up owns the rubber chicken,” says Faust. “So far, nobody owns it. We kind of got pushed over early by another boat in that one start. But we’ve made no mistakes ourselves.”
WaveMaker’s crew isn’t as confident in their performance, but remains optimistic. “We’re feeling lucky,” says skipper Dwight LeBlanc II, “They’re sailing better than us right now, but it’s not ever yet.” LeBlanc sails with his father, Southern YC Olympic Sailing Association president Dwight LeBlanc senior, and bowman Ward Pitard. The three said they made the trip to Houston because they have a lot of friends in the area and enjoy the atmosphere of the regatta.
In response to Faust’s predicament that they would get drunk tonight, Le Blanc II said: “Absolutely. We partied last night and we plan on doing the same thing tonight. We’re amateurs, so there’s no pressure. Plus, it’ll be even more exciting if we beat them tomorrow.”
Slick hulls could make for some speedy sailing tomorrow, for an oil spill occurred when a barge hit a tanker in a channel in the surrounding area at approximately 3:30 this afternoon. Oil was flowing through a hole in the tanker at 200 gallons per minute before the spill was sustained. The spill is not big enough to contain, and tomorrow’s racing will proceed as scheduled.