Windy City Offers Shifts, Shifts, and More Shifts

Diane Chase

Hours of oscillating breezes finally settled in enough to hold one race on each of the three course circles Sunday to conclude the 2002 Chicago Sailing World NOOD regatta. The moderate conditions-wind speed reached all of about 12 knots-were a relief after Friday’s storms and Saturday’s unpredictable gusts.

Daily postponements frustrated some, but sailors still appreciated having atleast one race on each of the three days of the annual regatta, now in its 14th year here. Sunning against the Chicago skyline while waiting for the wind wasn’t bad either, nor was returning to Chicago Yacht Club for dockage and festivities for both experienced sailors and newcomers to the fleets.

Wojtek Wolantkowski, a native of Poland, crews with a team of his countrymen on the Tartan Ten, Yellow Mellow. Learning was more important than winning as this was their first big regatta in the boat. “We figured out you should probably not be too optimistic about the outcome. You have to really compete,” he said, referring to the team’s finishes ranging from 16th to low 30s in the 49-boat class.


For multi NOOD veteran Alan Freysinger, winning the J/29 class on his boat Relentless was fun, but so was just traveling from his Wisconsin home to sail on the southern end of Lake Michigan. “Chicago’s close, it’s a great place to come sail,” he said. “It’s a great competition. There’s a couple boats that come every year so we like to come sail against them.”

Sunday on Circle A began with a postponement and crews waited under bright sunny skies. The Great Lakes 70s started a race but a quarter of the way up the leg, a 30-degree wind shift caused the race committee to abandon the race and call a second postponement for the fleet.

“The breeze went so far to the right, there was nothing else they could do,” said Eugene Altweis, a trimmer on Evolution. “We would have been golden if the race had counted because we were at the right layline.”


In other A circle results, Heartbreaker won the Farr 40 class, Goblin had the honors in the Great Lakes 50 section, Ragged Edge won the Sydney-Farr level class, and Fine Line topped the other 13 boats in the PHRF 36-66 section. Team Intermec won the Mumm 30 class and Windquest won the 1D 35 race Sunday to win the regatta.

On the B course, after more than two hours of postponements, the J/105s followed a general recall with a second general recall. But the I-flag flying on the race committee boat meant four boats were disqualified. That dropped Messy Jessy, the leader after Saturday to third and Lucky Dubie won the regatta.

In the S2 9.1 fleet, Dick Daniels Entropy only needed to get around the race course on Sunday to win the regatta. “Start and finish. We had nine points over everyone in the morning in an eight-boat fleet,” said tactician and owner’s son, Ed Leslie.


In other B course action, Noble Buffalo topped J-35s, Eagles Wings won the PHRF 69-99 section, Collaboration was victorious in the Level 99-133 class, Outrageous beat other Beneteau 42/40.7 boats, and Gamera won the Corsair class.

The C circle had a two-hour postponement followed by winds under 10 knots. “We set up for three starts and we couldn’t do them. The wind kept shifting,” said PRO Helle Getz. The race committee had to move the starting area as well. Post-September 11th security measures prohibit sailing within 100 feet of the water cribs, the intake sites for water systems. “It could have been a real issue,” Getz said.

Her race course hosted the 49-boat fleet of Tartan 10s, warming up for their North Americans here in August. The Backus sisters credited their clean start and boat speed for their win aboard Nuts.


Leading going into Sunday, Rich Strilky’s Us started above Nuts on the line but then got pinned and couldn’t tack as Nuts sailed away. “We could never get a lane to cover Heidi and we could never get back up to her,” said Peter Sherman, Us’s bowman.

For Heidi Backus-Riddle, the skipper of Nuts, that was the game plan on the water. She and her three sisters have competed in and won numerous NOOD titles in both the Tartan 10 and a J/24. “It’s fun. We get really competitive in the big fleets. It’s good competition and it’s a good party,” she said.

Also on the C circle, Kilroy led all Melges 24s, Intuit topped the J-24 class, K2 topped the S2 7.9 section, and Planxty held on to Saturday’s lead to win the PHRF 126-138 class.