Rhodes to Victory: Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta at Marblehead Race Week

After four days, 11 races won by six different teams, two-time Marblehead NOOD winners Charlie Pendleton and Jim Raisides rise to the top again.

FINAL [Results](Results: http://www.yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=1599)

The Rhodes 19 fleet is a marquee class at the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta at Marblehead Race Week, and its past champions litter the many perpetual trophies spread amongst the harbor’s yacht clubs — Boston, Corinthian, and Eastern — but over the last five years of the NOOD Regatta in Marblehead, the most outstaning of the Rhodes has been the duo of Charlie Pendleton and Jim Raisides, who earned the 2016 Marblehead NOOD overall championship title.

Pendleton, who skippers, and Raisides, who crews, will make their third appearance at the NOOD championship in October after a grueling four-day, 11-race series. On Sunday, the final day of the regatta, the duo left the dock with a comfortable lead and careful not to get too caught up in the scores.

Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta

J/105 Air ExpressPaul Todd/Outside Images

“It was a day to minimize tacks and win your side,” says Pendleton. “We had a good lead going into the day, but we had to watch the guys behind us that are good at closing. Our game plan was to get off the line and just stay near our competitors.”

“The wind oscillations made it really tough,” says Raisides, who as crew is responsible for tracking Marblehead’s unpredictable easterly wind and weather closely. “Patience was really important because we couldn’t just go chasing wind. We had to use what we had where we were.”

As regular champions of the Marblehead Rhodes 19 fleet, Pendleton and Raisides would seem to have reached their peak in the boat, but not so, says Raisides. “We’re at the point now where we go after a lot of the small stuff: watching the weight on the boat, polishing the bottom; and just tackling all the little things, but the communication between us has gotten so much better: after so many years sailing together, we’re constantly talking, all the time.”

Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta

J/70s at the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta at Marblehead Race Week.Paul Todd/Outside Images

As an example, says Raisides, in today’s first race, they felt slow. “On the first leg we both felt we were off just a tick in speed, and we quickly realized it and talked about it. We looked around at our competitors and saw we were pointing too high and going slow. We immediately agreed that we needed to put the bow down and just match their speed. That was a big thing for us to recognize today. Maybe we were a bit tense and didn’t realize, but once we talked about it, we relaxed and we were faster after that.”

On the same racecourse, Barit and Karen Solstad were having similar success. Having been sailing Town class dinghies since their mom got a woody back in 1965, the Solstad sisters have been continuing the family tradition, albeit on a slightly more modern fiberglass version. Today in Marblehead, they made their mother proud, winning the Town fleet and the class’s New England Championship.

Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta
Viper 640s at the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta at Marblehead Race Week.Paul Todd/Outside Images

The Solstads, on Lille Venn, went into the day with a slight lead over Bart Snow’s Annie B. Barit says the goal of the day was to beat Snow. “He ended up beating us in both races, but not by enough on points,” she says. “We were keeping our eyes on him. My first start was not very good, and we got third in that race.”

Their second start was better, and once free, they were quick. “We had the halyards looser and eased our sails out a bit more than in past years,” says Barit Solstad, providing her go-fast Town class advice, “but maybe I shouldn’t be telling that to anyone.”

Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Marblehead

Etchells on the final day at the Helly Hansen NOOD.Paul Todd/Outside Images

In the Etchells class, local Tomas Hornos upset the morning’s leader, Charles Kenahan’s Mahalo in the final race, coming out on top of a tiebreak series. “It was tricky because there was another boat in third [Don Brush’s Senior Moment] that was also very much in the mix, and we knew that we had to race against them, but not focus on one necessarily,” says Hornos. “We sailed the first race somewhat conservatively and got second place, so we knew it really came down to the last race. We got a lucky shift at the end so we were able to beat everybody else. They also sailed really well, it was a really good regatta.”

An outstanding performance was put in by Brian Keane’s J/70 Savasana, which finished the series with a second and won by a slim 4 points. Savasana’s biggest move was made on Saturday, however, with three race wins. “[On Saturday] it was pretty consistent, the breeze was coming from the right and we worked hard to start up by the boat and actually were able to win the boat almost every race and then head over to the right. And everything happened from there.”

Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta

J/105s on the final day of the NOOD Regatta in Marblehead.Paul Todd/Outside Images

On Sunday, he says, “We were consistent, we were quick. I think sometimes we got some lucky breaks but our boat speed was particularly quick this week. All of the NOODs are amazing events. Think about how many boats are here - and it’s not just that, but in the J/70 class there are national champions and world champions, so the competition is huge. Every NOOD that we’ve gone to is a must-go event because of the caliber of the competition. This was excellent.”

Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta

Marblehead NOOD overall champions Jim Raisides and Charlie Pendleton. Off to the BVIs once more.Paul Todd/Outside Images