NOOD races have wind taken out of their sails

Calm prevents three classes from racing

April 29, 2007|By Candus Thomson | Candus Thomson,Sun reporter

Like a child with cowlicks, yesterday's winds were all over the place in the waters off Annapolis, testing the patience and skill of competitors in the Sperry Top-Sider National Offshore One Design regatta.

After a morning mist cleared, westerly winds began slowly building, raising the hopes of sailors aboard the 270 boats in the three-day competition who suffered through Friday's calm that prevented any racing. But breezes never quite matched the promise of the forecast.

Decent wind often depended on which of the four courses sailors were on. For example, on the course farthest down the bay, the wind never puffed above 5 knots and racing didn't begin until 4 p.m. The course closest to the mouth of the Severn River had enough breeze to sustain three races.

The J/35, C&C 115 and Beneteau 36.7 classes never got a race in.

"It was definitely a day of ups and downs," said Peter McChesney, skipper of Palmer Legal Services, who won the J/22 class in 2005 and finished third last year. "I thought the wind was going to fill in better."

Better is what McChesney and crew got as the day went on, working their way up from the middle of the 36-boat class to first over the duration of three races. A fourth race was started but canceled by the race committee after winds died again.

Kelly O'Toole, crew for Skip Hope's J/24 Thin Ice of Edenton, N.C., praised the organizers.

"Local boats don't have much of an advantage because the race committee keeps it all square," she said. "They made it a pleasure to race."

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