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A Saturday Session: Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta at Marblehead Race Week

The easterly gradient stuck around, as did the sun, for a spectacular day of sailing that saw close racing and more than a few leaded changes in the overall standings.

July 31, 2016

RESULTS (Provisional on Saturday)

Moderate winds and sunny skies made for perfect racing conditions on Saturday as 55 Laser and Laser Radial sailors joined the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta at Marblehead Race Week, but even as the breeze delivered quality races, it was far from straight forward sailing, resulting in several lead changes, including in the Etchells fleet, where Charles Kenahan’s Mahalo stepped to the top with 2-1-4 finishes. They’re only 2 points ahead of Tomas Hornos’ Destiny, and a third day with lighter winds forecast is on tap.

Kenahan, of nearby Swampscott, Mass., is in his first season with the Etchells and is quickly learning the nuances of such technical boat. “Brian [Ledbetter, Mahalo‘s tactician], was really on in the starts,” says Kenahan, “and he knows how to shift gears. On a day like today, that’s what it’s all about. Eric [Lawerence, bow] was calling the wind all day and that, too, really helped because we really had to gain in every shift we possibly could.”

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Mark Toso’s Hat Trick (No. 1328) holds a thin lane off the start at the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta at Marblehead Race Week. Hat Trick currently sits sixth overall. Paul Todd/Outside Images

Having spent most of his time racing in Newport, Rhode Island, over the past few years, Kenahan was happy to be back on the waters that taught him so much about sailign in variable conditions. Being back in Marblehead racing, he says, “the winds haven’t changed.”

By that he means, tricky and shifty, which is how most competitors described the unpredictable nature of the breeze today; sometimes a jackpot could be found on the left side of the course. Other times, it was on the right. Rarely did the middle offer any advantage, so for those who got hung out on the wrong side, it was tough luck.

Helly Hansen NOOD

The Lasers joined on the NOOD Regatta action today with 40 boats on their own circle. With 10 knots of breeze, the playing field was quite level, but mark roundings proved to be challenging with crowds and tight roundings. Paul Todd/Outside Images

“Shifty, but fun,” is how Marblehead sailor Bruce Dyson summed the day in the IOD fleet. Dyson and local legend Norm Cressy are in charge of Bill Widnall’s IOD this weekend (Widnall is out of town) and have made quick work of the fleet over the past two days, winning two more races on Saturday. The 7-point lead they now have is enough to sit out Sunday’s races, but that’s not the plan, says Dyson. “We’ll be out there for sure, and if we get two more wins, we can throw away a second, which wouldn’t be so bad.”

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“Norm and I are working tactics, but Steve Dalton is on the tiller and Sue Foight Kovar is on the bow,” says Dyson. “The boat is fast. Mine [he also owns an IOD] is easier to sail, but Bill’s is harder to get the max out of it. This boat takes some more work to get going.”

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On the offshore circle Bill Widnall’s IOD Javelin continue to extend in the scoreboard, winning both races. Paul Todd/Outside Images

For the largest boats in the regatta, moderate winds mean close racing, and Saturday proved to be just that in the J/105 fleet. Fred deNapoli, of Danvers, Mass., led Allegro Semplicita to the top spot with two second-place finishes. As the fleet leader, his team will fly the Wilmington Trust Leader Spinnaker in Sunday’s races.

In the J/70 class, the Weston, Mass.-based team on Savasana, helmed by Brian Keane, climbed to the top spot after one fourth-place and three first-place finishes and was awarded the North Sails Local Boat of the Day. Five local teens competing as the first-ever Helly Hansen Junior Crew at Marblehead Race Week finished the day at fifteenth overall of 26.

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Marek Zaleski, of Norwalk, Conn., dominated with first-place finishes in all five races in the Laser fleet, while Marblehead sailor Nicole Torrie edged out the competition in the Laser Radial class and finished the day with a 1-point lead.

Helly Hansen NOOD

Laser sailing at the Marblehead NOOD Regatta is catching on, and with local sparkplug Tom Dailey serving as host, plenty of them came to race. Paul Todd/Outside Images
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