Thursday, May 5, 2011
DAZZLER Blinds J/22 Competitors
(Annapolis, MD)- While the script called for battles to rage on after Charleston Race Week in some classes, it was not to be. Instead, an entirely new cast of characters stepped onto the stage for this spring's Sperry Topsider Annapolis NOOD Regatta and established their roles as top dogs for the weekend. And, what a roller-coaster it was for nearly every fleet on the water. With three forecasts from North Sails Weather Services that were basically dead wrong for all three days, it was up to the skippers and tacticians to break out their "divining rods" and simply find the most wind with most favorable current advantage. Most experienced Annapolis sailors will often error on the side of the current play versus the wind play, sometimes that worked, sometimes it didn't. And, this chaotic and somewhat schizophrenic wind/current condition had some skippers apoplectic and their tacticians simply catatonic! It was not a pretty picture. Nevertheless, the enormous turnout of 138 J's (62% of the entire fleet!) sailing in seven fleets (thirty-seven J/22s, thirteen J/24s, twenty-nine J/80s, fourteen J/30s, twenty-eight J/105s, seven J/35s and ten J/109s) simply stepped up to the challenges and made the most of them.
As the largest fleet in Annapolis, the 37-boat J/22 class saw the only "runaway" winner, ironically, for the entire regatta. Al Terhune sailed DAZZLER to a remarkably consistent score of 7-5-1-1-2-8-1-5 for 30 pts. His competitors were not nearly so lucky, most gyrating through dramatic highs and deathly hallows lows. Brad Julian sailing JULIAN ASSOCIATES managed to tally a scoreline of 6-1-5-7-1-6-17-2 for 45 pts. From there it was a huge jump in scores to a battle for third overall that hung completely on the outcome of the last race. Amongst that trio were Travis Odenbach sailing INSTIGATOR and the Newport contingent of Tim Healy on SAILORS FOR THE SEA and Carol Cronin on HPS. When the smoke cleared on Sunday, Carol Cronin had made a strong bid for third but came up just short, her 4-7 on Sunday not enough to overcome two deep (21-24) scores, settling for fifth overall with a tally of 8-21-4-24-8-5-4-7 for 81 pts. Hanging on my his fingernails was Tim Healy, getting a 2-6-8-31-4-16-12-1 for 80 pts to secure fourth. And third was Travis on INSTIGATOR, managing to breath a sigh of relief after getting a 4th in the last race to score 1-8-15-2-5-25-19-4 for 79 pts.
If the J/22s were having a 8-round dog-fight for 8 races to determine the top five, the J/80s were having a slug-fest while riding a roller-coaster up and down the standings at 100 mph. Crazy. Desperate. Ecstatic. Wild. Psychotic. Name an adjective within those broad terms and you may only begin to understand how rapidly the J/80 teams were moving up and down the standings race-by-race. Even the local sailors from Annapolis were beyond frazzled. Consider this, two World Champions in the J/80 class (Glenn Darden and Kerry Klingler) didn't even make the top five in this highly competitive fleet of 29 teams. To add to the insanity, the winner was chosen based on a THREE-WAY tie for FIRST place! Pass the Pepto-Bismol, please-- a few upset stomachs and ulcers brewing shortly! Nevertheless, it took a Danish brother/sister team (Tom and Marie Klok) and Marie's husband Will Crump on GULDFAXE to win the 3-way tie-breaker with 1-7-5-19-3-1-5-12 score for 53 pts. Second in the tie-break was MORE GOSTOSA sailed by Jeff Kirchoff and Kevin Hayes with a 2-12-10-2-11-3-2-11 tally for 53 pts. Surely the "we got robbed" story must go to Bruno Pasquinelli's team on TIAMO, at one point easily winning going into the Sunday, but having to eat a 13-10 on Sunday to end up with a scoreline of 5-3-9-6-5-2-13-10 for 53 pts-- ouch! If the top three was not a crazy enough scenario, a similar situation shaped up for 4th and 5th overall also with a tie-breaker only 6 points back from the three "leaders". In this case it was ANGRY CHAMELEON sailed by J/80 class leader Kirsten Robinson, getting a 6-15-4-9-2-13-8-2 score for 59 pts. She won the tie-break with Gary Kamin's team on FIRED UP RACING with a 3-2-8-8-4-17-9-8 tally for 59 pts. Of note, the only three race winner was Glenn Darden on EL TIGRE, riding a huge roller coaster up and down the track to just finish out of the money in seventh. Perhaps most importantly of all, the overall STS Annapolis NOOD Winners and qualifiers for the Caribbean NOOD Championship were---- GULDFAXE! Yes, Marie, Will, Tom and Scott- we wish them all God Speed and lots of umbrella drinks to celebrate with, too!
In the 13-boat J/24 division, Chris Jankowski's STREET LEGAL stayed hot from their previous regatta but a class veteran (30+ years!!) in the form of Tony Parker on BANGOR PACKET from Georgetown, MD really did show the kids how to get it done-- talk about a "schooling", finishing with double-bullets on the last day! Tony's team sailed a solid regatta to get a 3-1-5-2-2-5-1-1 score for 20 pts. BTW, the difference in age between the winner and the runner-up was less than the difference in the ages of the boats- 32+ years!! They were followed by MILLENIUM FALCON skippered by Paul Van Ravensway to a 1-3-1-7-1-2-4-11 score for 30 pts. Finally, hanging tough for their second straight regatta was Chris' team on STREET LEGAL, getting 9-2-4-1-4-1-2-9 for 32 pts and just barely missing out on a second straight silver for the month of April.
The 28 boat J/105 fleet also had some dramas on the last day, particularly with nearly 1/3 of the fleet called over early during the start of the first race on Sunday. Amongst those called over was Cedric Lewis' MIRAGE and any hopes of finishing first were dashed, at least temporarily. After hitting four corners in a row, like a mirage shimmering on the horizon, the real MIRAGE staged an extraordinary come-back to win the 7th race! The drama didn't end there. Climbing the leader-board rapidly was Peter McChesney on THE MYSTERY MACHINE, and indeed, a mystery it must've seemed to some of their competitors. Finishing off the regatta with a 1-2-2-1, Peter and crew nearly won, losing only by 2 points. Ultimately, Cedric and the MIRAGE gang hung on to get a 5-4-2-2-4-1-1-10 for 29 pts. Peter's crew sailed well, managing a 7-2-5-11-1-2-2-1 for 31 pts under the challenging conditions. Fourth, just barely, was INIGO's Jim Konigsberg sailing to a very steady scoreline of 6-11-6-9-9-3-6-6 for 56 pts. Breathing down their necks, literally, was Carloyn and Chris Groobey's team on JAVA, starting out strong with a first and ending strongly with a 3-4, to get a 1-7-8-17-6-12-3-4 score-line for 58 pts for fifth overall.
Low point scorer for the regatta just happened to be one of the surest bets to get it, Bill Sweetser's champion J/109 team on RUSH. Not only a gracious host, but a great competitor. Hard not to like sailing in the J/109 class when the class act of the regatta is also a great party host! At the end of it all, the J/109 fleet had great competition and the boys from New Jersey on MAD DOGS certainly made their presence felt, winning three races to Bill's four. It's a bit ironic that the two good out-of-town teams joining the fun, Craig Wright's AFTERTHOUGHT from Raleigh, NC and Adrian Begley's MAD DOGS from Atlantic Highlands, NJ were the ones to give the locals a "run for the money". In the end, Bill's team sailed to a 1-1-4-3-1-1-2-3 for 16 pts. Second was Adrian's MAD DOGS with a 3-2-1-1-4-2-1-8 for 22 pts and third Craig's AFTERTHOUGHT with a 2-4-2-23-7-3-4 for 27 pts.
Following a similar theme as in other J classes, the J/35s had their fair share of drama to determine who would win the J/35 class. The last race ultimately determined the outcome here, too. Peter Scheidt's MAGGIE survived their roller coaster experiences to win with a 2-1-7-1-1-4-1-2 record for 19 pts. Getting edged out in the last race was AUNT JEAN sailed by Jim Sagerholm from the Naval Academy Sailing Squadron, finishing second with a 1-3-1-2-2-5-2-5 for 21 pts. Third was last year's bronze medallist, Chuck Kohlerman's MEDICINE MAN with 5-2-3-4-3-4-1 scores for 27 pts.
With fourteen J/30s on the line, there really was some strong competition amongst these 30 foot cruising-racing classics. Even though they won last year, Bob Rutsch and Mike Costello on BEPOP had to fight like crazy to stay out of trouble and ahead of Bob Putnam skippering BETTER MOUSETRAP and Dave McConaughy's USA 90 during the last two races on Sunday. Nevertheless, avoid the traps they did and Bob and Mike's BEPOP took it all, winning by only one point with a 2-3-4-1-1-7-6-2 for 26 pts. BETTER MOUSETRAP took second overall with a 3-2-2-7-5-5-2-1 score for just 27 pts. USA 90 sailed by Dave McConaughy was a contender for the lead, but had a slow day Sunday to finish out-of-the money, getting a 1-4-5-4-4-1-4-7 record for 30 pts-- it all came down to last race for the whole top three! Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes Photography For more Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Annapolis sailing information.