Wednesday, September 15, 2010
(Larchmont, NY)- Some regattas just get a bad rap. It only a takes a drifter or two before a place gets an undue reputation for being a no-wind racetrack. Fair enough for Long Island Sound in the summertime, where the old-timers say it just doesn’t blow like it did back in the day--something to do with all the development on nearby “Lawng Island.” However, there was no idle time this weekend in Larchmont. For the final event of the 2010 Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta series, 70-something entries in nine classes sailed two race-packed days: one with brilliant sunshine and mind-bending windshifts, and one with a 20-knot easterly pushing in big swells and steep chop. There was plenty of current, too. Just to make things interesting.
While the lighter winds and shifts of Saturday rewarded those with their collective heads out of the boat, Sunday was all about speed through the waves, and finding the stronger winds. Many competitors reported the left side of the course as the place to be early in the day, but the right side came into its own toward the end. The middle, more than few unhappy crews told me, was not the place to be. But, isn’t that always the case?
Even with the rougher conditions, which will usually separate the cream, there was plenty of tight-pack racing and battles for points. The sixteen boat J/105 fleet were mixing it up as usual, and when it was all said and done, Joerg Esdorn’s KINCSEM, eeked out the class win again with a single point to spare over Kevin Grainger’s GUMPTION. KINCSEM's win wasn’t pretty, but it’s solid proof that consistency is no easy accomplishment in the J/105 class, no matter how long you’ve been at the helm-- their record was 4-1-2-2-11-5 for 25 points. GUMPTION sailed to a 7-5-1-9-2-2 for 26 points. Third was the New England Circuit winner, Damian Emery's ECLIPSE with a 1-8-7-1-3-7 for 27 points, just two points off first!
The J/109 entourage were sailing their East Coast Championship at the Larchmont NOOD, and with 2009 overall winner, Rick Lyall’s STORM from Annapolis YC, in attendance, we figured it was going to be a full-spirited battle among the top-three boats in this eight-boat fleet. But that was before the close of business on Saturday, when Bill Sweetster’s RUSH sailed into Larchmont Harbor with three bullets notched on the results sheet. They followed form Sunday, winning the first race, and finishing second in the other two to secure the class win, and the overall regatta title-- their record was 1-1-1-1-2-2 for 8 points! The “overall,” of course, earns them a berth at the Caribbean NOOD Championship in November where they’ll take on winning teams from the other eight NOOD Regattas. As fast as team RUSH appeared on the water, they were even quicker once they hit the dock--— off they rushed to catch flights back to their hometown Annapolis, unaware they’d won. Second was Rick Lyall's STORM from Cedar Point YC with a 4-4-2-2-1-4 record for 17 points. Adrian Begley's MAD DOGS AND ENGLISHMEN from Atlantic Highlands YC was third with a 6-7-4-3-3-1 record for 24 points.