Photos in this post are courtesy Peter Howson Photography (http://www.peter-howson.com).
For those of us who aren't crazy enough to go frostbiting (and nobody can blame you for opting out of a period of sailing named after the death of skin tissue), the start of the sailing season in Annapolis is usually kicked off by the NOOD's.
APS'ers were all over the place at the NOOD's this weekend -- in fact, I'm told it was a little lonely at the shop on Friday with so many of us out there. We had someone on all four circles with sailors in the J/22, J/24, Melges 24, Beneteau 36.7 and Farr 40 fleets.
Warren Richter, Aaron Freeman and Stern Scoop editor James McKenna were in the J/22 fleet on Warren's boat Tangler, finishing 8th out of 37 boats. Aaron did bow on Friday and James tagged in on Saturday and Sunday so we could have plenty of James' bearded incoherent muttering covering the numerous NOOD related onslaughts of our storefront. Gene Peters was the meat in the APS affiliated sandwich on Tangler, helping guide the boat to five top-15 finishes in eight races -- this includes a self proclaimed "horizon job" by Warren in the fourth race, which they won.
Assistant rigger Jarrett Hering was in the J/24 fleet on Millenium Falcon. Jarrett and the MF team have been gearing up for the J/24 Worlds that start up at the end of this week here in Annapolis, so they were a little disappointed with their 31st place finish out of 52 boats. Jarrett's analysis was annoyingly positive though, reflecting on a couple of rough spots during the races by knocking on a wooden table and saying "At least we got it all out of our system before the World's". Look for a World's preview and wrap-up from Jarrett as the regatta decends in full on our quaint little city.
Storefront guru Ian Coleman was once again with team Wild Child in the Melges 24 class, tying for third with a fellow Annapolis M/24 Gannet. Unfortunately, Gannet was one of the few boats that got in the way of the Italian freight train, UKA UKA Racing, scoring a bullet in the second race and taking the tiebreaker from Wild Child. Ian was pretty positive about the weekend, saying that it was good fun and that the team was coming together nicely. I kind of prodded him about where Wild Child might have lost out on a crucial point to get them on the podium and he responded that "the current was huge so we always worked on having a good plan going into each race -- we got away from the plan a couple of times and picked up an 11th and 13th that really hurt". As for UKA UKA -- "They are very, very, very fast... and good. They were super flat upwind, dynamic with their body positioning -- they got the boat on a plane fast and were able to rock the jib along with the kite when the wind picked up".
Our marketing guy Rob Beach was on the Farr 40 Yellow Jacket -- there's actually a growing Farr 40 class here on the Chesapeake and it was great to see six boats line up. Yellow Jacket also struggled a bit during this regatta, trying to find their happy place over the first couple of days. They found their groove at the end of the regatta though, winning the last race of the series.
And finally, I was aboard the Beneteau 36.7 Ka'io. We finished in a tie for first, but our two first place finishes fell short of the three that the boys on Pegasus put together on the first day. We went into the last day with a one point advantage on Pegasus, knowing that we had to keep them behind us -- one of those bottom of the ninth, two outs, bases loaded kind of deals. We had a great start at the boat and were in a nice position to cover them all the way up the first beat. We rounded two positions ahead at the windward mark and started downwind with a nice gap -- they clawed in the shifty conditions and started reeling us in slowly, putting us in an awkward position at the leeward gate. We left our cover of them at the rounding, choosing the left gate while they went to the right -- the right was right and we never got in front of them again. Congratulations to them for a great series...
Overall, it was a great weekend with some very challenging conditions -- par for the course here in Annapolis. There isn't much downtime for some of us though... Jarrett will be back on the J/24 for the World's at the end of the week and James, Aaron and MAYBE yours truly will be jumping into their Lasers for the ACC's. Or I might go play golf... who knows.