Friday, August 11, 2017

VINEYARD VINES Wins Marblehead NOOD Overall!

J/70 Vineyard Vines winners J/105 MERLIN Wins Boat of the Day!
(Marblehead, MA)- After the final day of the Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta at Marblehead Race Week today, J/70 class winners John and Molly Baxter on VINEYARD VINES took home the overall prize. In addition to new gear from Helly Hansen, the VINEYARD VINES crew (ironically) earned a berth in the final NOOD championship regatta, hosted by Sunsail in the British Virgin Islands Oct. 22-29.

The Riverside, Conn.-based couple is fairly new to J/70s, having owned their boat for less than two years. They decided to compete in the Helly Hansen Marblehead NOOD to train for the class world championship, which will be held in Marblehead in 2018 and which they officially qualified for by winning this event.

“We wanted to check out the spot, and we heard there were a lot of good teams out here,” John Baxter said. “It was fun. We definitely got the lay of the land.”

The Baxter’s, along with crew members Jake LaDow and Luke Lawrence, held strong at the top of the fleet from the very beginning, winning two of three races on the first day. From there, it was all about consistency, good starts and conservative sailing, according to John Baxter.

J/70 Vineyard Vines sailing Marblehead NOODWhile Baxter said the team’s biggest takeaway was figuring out how to balance the boat going upwind, Lawrence, the tactician, went on to say that the team is making huge strides in their training program for the Worlds in Marblehead.

“There’s a big checklist to make sure that you’re set up to be able to go out there and have a shot,” Lawrence said. “To come here to a venue like this early on and to excel against a majority of our good competition in the USA, I mean – it’s nice. But along with everything that comes with that, we’ve learned ten-fold how to come in to the next event.”

Looking ahead, the crew plans to return to Marblehead next summer leading into the World Championship after training their way down to Florida and back.

Regatta organizers determine the overall winner based on the strongest individual finish in the most competitive class. The J/70 fleet was the largest of the weekend and completed seven races in three days.

J/70 Marblehead Junior crewAlso in the J/70 class, the Helly Hansen Junior Crew— a team of five local youth sailors specially selected to compete in the regatta— finished 12th of 30 boats. Their crew consisted of Clark Uhl, Rachel Foster, Katharine Bowman, Kate O'Donnell and Garrett McKinnon.

The balance of the podium behind the Baxter’s included Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE in 2nd place with tactician Jeremy Wilmot (Australia) on board and Brian Keane’s SAVASANA in 3rd place with USA Olympian Stu McNay as mainsheet/ tactician.

In the J/70 Corinthians Division, winning was Duncan Swain’s CLOWN CAR, following in 2nd was Henry Brauer’s RASCAL crew of Newporters and San Diegans, and in third was Stein Skaane’s SHRED.

Charlie Garrard, skipper of the J/105 MERLIN, was also the recipient of Sunday’s North Sails Boat of the Day and the Cressy Award said the key to his success this weekend was having his teenage kids, Emily (pit) and Jack (bow), onboard.  “Without them it wouldn’t happen,” Garrard said. “Together, we make it work.”

Behind Garrard’s crew were past multiple Marblehead NOOD winners, Fred de Napoli’s ALLEGRO SEMPLICITA with 12 pts, and in third was Steve Goldberg’s AIR EXPRESS with 15 pts.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ Outside   For more Marblehead NOOD sailing regatta information Add to Flipboard Magazine.