Tuesday, May 13, 2014

SAVASANA Overall Annapolis NOOD Winner!

J/70s sailing on sunlit seas
J/Crews Enjoyed Awesome Weekend of Sailing
(Annapolis, MD)- With 200+ boats participating in the Annapolis NOOD the crew at Sailing World officially announced the end of winter on the East Coast. Earlier this year, Ken Read challenged the sailing community to step up and build better events. “Field of Dreams” was not referencing sailing when that voice whispered to Kevin Costner “if you build it they will come,” but that is a great movie and sailing should take the advice. Build a better regatta experience and chances are your event’s participation will grow.

The Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regattas is a perfect example of an event that is working hard to grow participation. With three down and three to go, NOOD Regattas are working with partners to add more onshore activities to the regatta program. Event organizers, Sailing World and long-time event supporter North Sails have teamed up to offer sailing performance analysis, One-Design Dock Talks, awards for the top performing local sailor, and after sailing parties.

The end goal? Make regattas fun for all sailors. Because who doesn’t want to have fun?

Annapolis NOOD got off the a soggy start as eager sailors crammed into the tent on Thursday night to attend a local weather knowledge talk with North Sails’ Chris Larson. “North Sails Local Knowledge is a program we added to the NOOD Regattas this year,” said Larson. “It’s an opportunity for both local and out-of-town sailors to brush on local conditions. May offers the most diverse and enjoyable sailing conditions in Annapolis. As the ‘local guys,’ we want to arm people with as much knowledge as possible so they can maximize their regatta experience.”

If you were sailing a J-Boat during Annapolis NOOD, chances are you had a chance to join one of the many scheduled Dock Talks. The highly competitive J/70 class boasted the event’s highest entry list with 54 boats. Rumor is 70+ sailors almost sunk the dock during a post race chat with North Sails’s Tim Healy and Will Welles!

For the first day of racing on Friday, breezy conditions on Chesapeake Bay welcomed the sailors. The favorable winds granted a full day of racing for competitors with most classes getting in three races.

A dominating performance in the J/80 class came from local sailors Will Crump, Marie Crump, and Thomas Klok. The Annapolis team, which also has world champion sailor Chris Larson on board calling tactics, leveraged their local knowledge of the Chesapeake finding lanes of pressure and managing the shifts with perfection in 5- to 10-knot westerly winds. They won the second race of the day by several minutes. “We were able to get away right after the start,” said Will Crump, “so we only had one tack. Everyone else had a lot more.”

With 56 entrants, the J/70 class is by far the largest of the regatta, and one of the most competitive. As expected, mark roundings were crowded, putting a premium on boat-handling and positioning. Skipper Martin Kullman from St. Petersburg, Fla. improved race-by-race throughout the day, culminating with a first place finish for Touch2Play in the final race of the day and holds the class lead. Skipper Joel Ronning and crew aboard Catapult, one of the class’s top professional teams won the first two races, but stumbled slightly in the third race, and currently sits in fourth place overall. The Minneapolis-based team is keen to avenge a narrow defeat in last year’s regatta to Bennet Greenwald, the regatta’s overall champion in 2013.

On Saturday, when southerly winds finally filled in the afternoon, racing got underway and most classes completed one race. The light-winds and strong current, however, made it extremely challenging, even for the most experienced local teams that are accustomed to such conditions.

Still, local knowledge contributed to individual wins, including that of skipper John White, who’s team won the only race of the day in the J/80 class. White’s hard-fought win earned him North Sails “Local Boat of the Day” honors, awarded to the top performing local sailor of the day.

“Off the starting line we were confident the east side of the course would be best, for stronger winds and better current,” said White, who’s team is preparing for the J/80 World Championship in Annapolis later this year. “We had a great start and won our side, but Will Crump [the current J/80 class leader), who was over early and had to restart, worked the opposite side and was right behind us at the first mark. Those guys are so good, and so fast, but they made one little mistake on the last leg to allow us to win this one.”

The J/70 class finally started after two general recalls, sailing in extremely challenging conditions that required boat speed and patience. Brian Keane’s Savasana showed their experience early in the race as they built a lead that no other team came close to challenging. Keane’s win put them solidly in the series lead going into the final day of racing.

Other area skippers leading their classes after Saturday’s “drift-a-ton” included J.R. Maxwell, of Arlington, Va., in the J/22 class, with all top-five finishes after five races. Pat Fitzgerald’s Rush Hour, from Annapolis, topped the J/24 class. Bob Rutsch and Mike Costello’s Bebop led the J/30’s, Stephanie Reuer’s Dakota Girl led the J/35s, and Bill Sweetster’s Rush topped the J/109s.

For the third and final day skipper Brian Keane on SAVASANA had a single goal to preserve his lead in the J/70 class- to avoid any “dingers.”  “It was the biggest flood effecting the Chesapeake in 15 years, which meant there would be a lot of current ripping out, and the wind was all over the place,” said Keane. “We knew everyone was going to be up and down, so we wanted to make sure we’d be consistent and just sacrifice the first and seconds to makes sure we had top finishes.”

“With the tide as strong as it was it really played a factor on the starting line, and we saw boats clustering and we avoided them in order to be able to get away, use our speed, have a lane, and tack when we wanted to tack.”

In the first of two races on the day Savasana finished ninth, its highest finish in the six-race series, which preserved their lead with one more to go. In the last race, sailed in shifty 10-25-knot westerly in the shadow of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, they did all they could to avoid high-risk situations. Their final result was a sixth, which gave them an 8-point victory over Doug Strebel’s Black River Racing, from Kemah, Texas.

“We felt really fast downwind,” said Keane, whose crew included Olympic 49er sailors Thomas Barrows and Joe Morris, and Ron Weed. “The key in the they type conditions we had today is sensing when to step up and put the boat an plane. That was key and I think we were doing better than anyone else, especially in the second race.”  As overall winner of the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta in Annapolis, Keane and his crew have earned a berth at the NOOD Championship in the British Virgin Islands in October, which will be sailed in 44-foot charter boats provided by Sunsail.

Behind Keane’s SAVASANA and Strebel’s BLACK RIVER RACING, the balance of the top five in the J/70 class was Martie Kullman on TOUCH2PLAY in third, Bryan Cameron on B-SQUARED in fourth and Allan Terhune on OCHO CINCO in fifth (aboard were current J/22 and J/24 World Champions and J/70 Key West winners)!

Top dogs in the J/22 class were determined by a tie-breakers for 1st through 4th! Mike Marshall on BAD NEWS TOO foiled the chance for Vic Snyder’s MO’MONEY by winning the lats race and the regatta.  JR Maxwell’s SCOOBY nearly blew it in the last race with an 8th, but still won the tie-breaker over Jeff Todd’s HOT TODDY to take third.

The J/24s saw Peter Rich’s USA 4006 and Pat Fitzgerald’s RUSH HOUR battle it out to the final race with Rich taking top honors with just 14 pts.  One point back was RUSH HOUR.  Third was Pete Kassal’s SPACEMAN SPIFF with 19 pts.

After a very strong start on the first day with a 1-2-1, the Rutsch & Costello duo aboard the J/30 BEPOP took their class win by just three points over Dave Moss’s THE WHITE BOAT (a past Annapolis NOOD winner).  Third was Ron Anderson’s INSATIABLE.

With four 1sts a 2nd and 3rd, it was pretty clear “the Crumps & Klok” aboard RASH DECISION had a decisive edge over their J/80 class competitors, winning by 11 pts over past J/80 World Champion Glenn Darden sailing LE TIGRE from Fort Worth, Texas.  Taking third was Conor Hayes sailing MORE GOSTOSA, fourth was John White on USA 1162 and fifth was Chris & Liz Chadwick on CHURCH KEY.

On the “big boat” course were the one-design fleets of J/35s, J/105s and J/109s.  The local hotshots on AUNT JEAN (Jerry Christofel & Jim Sagerholm) took the gold in the J/35 class.  The balance of the podium was determined on a tie-breaker with Stephanie Reuer on DAKOTA GIRL taking the silver over Chuck Kohlerman’s MEDICINE MAN.

The J/105s had an excellent turnout with seventeen boats and it was again the crazy Canadians that “ran home with the bacon”!  Hard to beat a class-act, but their experience and boat speed prevailed again, with Jim Rathbun on HEY JUDE winning by a landslide with five bullets and one 2nd!  A distant second was the Lewis/ Salvesen team onboard MIRAGE, third was Mike Mountford’s LIVE EDGE, fourth was Scott Gitchell’s TENACIOUS and Bob Mock’s UNBRIDLED took fifth.

Proving their most excellent performance in Key West was no mirage, Bill Sweetser and gang on their J/109 RUSH simply dominated their class with four 1sts a 2nd and 3rd.  Another veteran Key West sailor, Gary Weisberg from Marblehead, MA took second and another veteran campaigner from Long Island Sound took third- Bob Schwartz’s NORDLYS.

The next NOOD Regatta will be in Seattle, WA on May 16-18, which will include the NORTH Rally Race. After making its debut at the San Diego NOOD, this one day, random leg, PHRF-scored race is geared for new-to-racing sailors, families, custom boats that don’t fit within the One Design concept of the NOODs as well as the avid racer that only has one free day.

Scuttlebutt is such a fan of the Seattle NOOD North Rally Race that the first five people to contact us will have their $55 entry fee paid for them. Be sure to enter by May 9 as the $25 late fee is not part of this offer. Entry includes the Saturday party and two drink tickets.  Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes.com.    For more Sperry Topsider Annapolis NOOD Regatta sailing information