(Annapolis, MD)- With a virtual armada of 156 J/Teams attending the Sperry Topsider Annapolis NOOD Regatta (74% of the whole fleet of 211), the eight J one-design classes (J/22, J/24, J/70, J/80, J/30, J/105, J/35, J/109) all had their fair share of spectacular, sunny racing on Friday. From there it was only a matter of time that conditions would deteriorate on the notoriously fickle Chesapeake Bay.
For the most part the Annapolis NOOD weather conditions made for great fleet racing so long as sailors on the five division circles were well-behaved and the PRO's at each did a good job of managing the fleet and the racing. Some were clearly better than others. On Friday, the fleet was treated to a brisk ENE 10-20 kts with lots of choppy waters, a fast-flowing flood current and very shifty breezes with big puffs. In such conditions, most fleets sailed four races. By Saturday, the forecast was beginning to see diminishing winds and the sailor's confidence in the breeze fell along with those prognostications. The forecast ENE was in fact 100% wrong, instead the fleet was treated to mostly NW-NE 6-14 kts, getting even shiftier and was full of holes, so much so that the third races for most fleets saw their last leg or two become a matter of rolling the dice. Sadly, Sunday's forecast was even more wrong. The forecast easterlies never materialized until late afternoon with a gorgeous sunny day. Instead, the fleets were treated to an even crazier NW to E breeze blowing 0-10 kts with holes everywhere- a one race "craps shoot" for most, or none for others!
Debuting as the largest class at the event, the J/70s simply had an epic first day of sailing on Friday. Spending about 80% of the time in planing-mode downwind, the fleet had big grins plastered across their faces as they enjoyed some serious sparring at double-digit speeds. While Saturday's and Sunday's racing was mostly in displacement mode, the need to find the edge even in "soak-mode" meant that teams were learning the fine-edge of how to maximize apparent wind speed for optimum downwind VMG. Avoiding the pitfalls more than most was Bennet Greenwald's team from California that sailed PERSEVERANCE. They not only won the J/70 class, but also were awarded the "STSW NOOD Overall Performance Awards" for the 15 fleets sailing the regatta (they get to sail the NOOD World Championships in the Caribbean in fall 2013!). Continuing their streak of finishing in the top five was Joel Ronning's crew on CATAPULT finishing 2nd followed by Tim Healy's rapid ascent up the ladder to snag 3rd overall sailing Team HELLY HANSEN. Fourth was the Newport/ Marblehead team of Henry Brauer/ Will Welles on RASCAL and in fifth was Brian Elliott's B-SQUARED (the only team to win 3 races). A strong indicator of the strength and wealth of talent in the J/70 fleet was the fact that 15 teams managed top five finishes over the eight races sailed. And, this regatta produced the highest average score for the winner- at 6.1 pts per race and the highest average to get a top 10 finish- 13.9 pts per race. Also of note were the fact that the two youngest skippers in the regatta, Willy Comerford (14 yrs old) on NORTHERLY and Dylan Flack (8 yrs old) on TORQEEDO were seen either leading the fleet, winning races OR finishing in the top 10!
Local hero Allan "Albie" Terhune on DAZZLER started out strong in the J/22 class series and managed to hold on towards the end for the win by three points. Conversely, Brad Julian on JULIAN ASSOCIATES started slowly and finished with two 1sts to nearly take the class as the DAZZLER crew faltered in their last four races. Third was Alon Finkelstein on TEAM SHOWUSYOURSHLOZZA, beating Lee Sackett's USA 1574 on a tie-break. Fifth was Jeff Todd on HOT TODDY.
With the third largest J fleet, the J/80's sailing with 23 boats had a very competitive fleet, especially as some teams were using it as part of their J/80 Worlds in Marseilles, France. For the first six races, it looked like the Crump Family (Will & Marie) and Marie's brother Tom Klok sailing R80 would have a "runaway" on their hands, easily leading the fleet by a significant margin. However, a serious brain fade in the 7th race upset their chances at a comfortable win. Consequently, Brian Keane's SAVASANA team jumped at the opportunity to take over the lead, sailing well to win the last race as well as the series win for J/80s. The R80 team settled for second overall. Third was a new name at the top, John White sailing USA 1162. Fourth was Kristen Robinson's familiar ANGRY CHAMELEON and fifth was another veteran J/80 team, Chris & Liz Chadwick's CHURCH KEY.
The J/105's strong showing of an "all Naptown" fleet of eighteen boats provided the teams excellent racing. The Lewis/ Salvesen team on MIRAGE were the only team to post all top ten finishes and took the overall prize with scores that included two 1sts and two 2nds. Second was the MBE Syndicate team on VELOCE, starting super fast out of the gates with a 1-1-3-4, but fading dramatically in the end with a 12-11-3-10 (was that a rum-storm that hit them?). Third was Jim Konigsberg's INIGO, fourth Bob Reeves on A-TRAIN and fifth Scott Gitchell on TENACIOUS. The "hard luck" story of the regatta must go to Jack Biddle on the infamous RUM PUPPY, getting holed in the 2nd race and having to borrow a friend's boat to finish the series.
With fifteen competitive J/24 teams, it was not immediately clear that anyone would sweep the regatta. However, that's exactly what happened, by the oldest skipper in the bunch! Tony Parker sailed his famous BANGOR PACKET to a well deserved win, taking six 1sts out of eight races! Basically, he left all the scraps to be fought for second and third overall by three other teams. Emerging from the dog-fight in second overall was Peter Rich's USA 4006, just one point ahead of Mike Marshall's USA 5362 in third. Just one point further back despite a fast-closing rush of three 2nds in a row was Pat Fitzgerald's RUSH HOUR in fourth. Fifth overall, watching the dogfight from the bleacher seats, was Paul van Ravensway's MILLENNIUM FALCON, sailing a solid series in the top five for most of the regatta.
The seven boat J/109 fleet celebrated the win of class veteran Bill Sweetser's RUSH, crowned the new Mid-Atlantic Champions! No wonder, seven 1sts and a 2nd in eight races is tantamount to a "clean sweep" or a "schooling" in how to race J/109s fast! Often not far behind Sweetser was Eric Gordon's TROUBLEMAKER, snagging four 2nds and two 3rds to easily finish second overall. The battle for the bronze medal on the podium was far from settled and took the last race to determine the next four places! In the hunt all series were Matt Baker's RELIANT, Rick Hanson's ROSALITA, Bob Schwartz's NORDLYS and Craig Wright's AFTERTHOUGHT. By finishing in the top five in the last race, Baker's RELIANT took third overall, edging out Hanson's ROSALITA by one point! In turn, Schwartz's NORDLYS was just 2 pts back grabbed fifth overall by winning the last race, just beating by one point Wright's AFTERTHOUGHT who had to settle for sixth. Great racing amongst these evenly matched boats.
Amongst the J/35 class, it was clear that AUNT JEAN (Sagerholm/ Christofel) were prepared in the breeze on Friday to make a statement for the fleet lead. And, indeed they did, amassing a 3-1-1 to start out in first after the first day of sailing, never to relinquish their lead to win overall. Second was Chuck Kohlerman's MEDICINE MAN, just edging out Peter Scheidt's MAGGIE in third by only one point. Fourth was the BAD COMPANY gang and fifth were Ken and Lisa Karsten on BZING.
The J/30s had some excellent racing amongst their ten boat fleet, a great turnout for this "classic yacht"! Showing them all how it's done were past class winners Bob Rutsch & Mike Costello on BEPOP, taking the class with three 1sts and three 2nds in their 7 race scoreline to win by 3 pts. Second was David Moss's THE WHITE BOAT (yeah, it is white) followed by Ron Anderson's INSATIABLE in third overall. Taking fourth was George Watson's AVITA and fifth was Mike & Kathleen McGill's MARY LOU. Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes.com. For more Sperry Topsider NOOD Sailing Regatta sailing information