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Sail Scene Mid-Atlantic Dec 06

Sailors tested during lumpy Larchmont NOOD

With a marginal northerly drifting across Western Long Island Sound for the second day of the Lands’ End Larchmont NOOD Regatta, Sept. 8 and 9, it was impossible to predict what would happen on either of the two racecourses set up by the Larchmont Yacht Club race committee.

Complicating conditions was a southbound current tearing down the Sound, which created one entertaining starting sequence after another — boats port-tacking entire fleets while others struggled to get upwind to the line.

In the Express 37 class, the first to start the day, Mort Weintraub’s Troubador, claimed the pin, tacked immediately to port, and crossed the fleet with ease. Troubador appeared to be running away with the race halfway up the first beat, but Adam Loory’s Soulmate, from the Bronx, N.Y., the series leader going into the race, took a few sterns to get to the right side of the racecourse and put his team right back in the race.

Soulmate managed to claw back to third, Afterglow finished sixth, giving the Bronx-based Express 37 a six-point margin and the Express 37 East Coast Championship title. Proof of the tricky conditions, Troubador could only muster a fourth from its brilliant start.

Following the Express 37s were the J/109s, and only half the fleet got away when the starting gun went off, and here too was stern ducking among the leaders to get to the right. Adrien Begley’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen, from Atlantic Highlands, N.J., got away clean to finish the race with a third, beating Steve Furnary’s Patriot across the line and holding onto its overall lead.

The division win earned Begley and his New Jersey-based crew the Lands’ End Larchmont NOOD Overall Trophy, which entitles them a slot at the Caribbean NOOD Regatta Championship in the British Virgin Islands in November, which will be sailed in Beneteau 393s.

In the Farr 395 division, John Aras’ Tsunami, from Rockville Md., won the day’s only race, but Roger Wagner’s Endurance, from Upper Saddle River, N.J., wasn’t far behind; second was enough for Wagner to retain his lead. Roy Halverson’s Crossbow, from Tenafly, N.J., chalked up another win, to complete its sweep in the Beneteau 36.7 division before the wind shut down.

On the regatta’s other circle, the race committee managed to knock off two races, and there was just enough wind to tempt them into a third. But John McArthur, the skipper of the J/30 Smile who’d been battling with Stephen Buzbee’s Blue Meanie in every race of the series, wanted no such thing.

“I was nervous that there was going to be another race,” says McArthur, from Stratford, Conn., whose team won the first and finished second in the next, leaving only 1 point to spare with Blue Meanie. “I was perfectly happy when I saw the Melges 24s starting to motor in. It was a big lumpy day where you had to keep the bow down; I’m lucky to have a lot of crew that doesn’t mind sitting below all day.”

Grueling conditions pare down Vineyard fleet

The 72nd running of the Vineyard Race may be in the history books but not much room is needed to detail the finishers. Three boats finished the race, the third taking almost two days to do it.

Lora Ann, one of only three boats to complete the grueling race this year, held over Labor Day weekend, was sailed by Rich du Moulin, commodore of the Storm Trysail Club. The Express 37 endured winds of 45 knots and seas up to 12 feet in Block Island Sound.

When the boat called into race headquarters Sept. 2 du Moulin reported challenging conditions while sailing under a storm jib and double reefed main.

“We’re all pretty wet out here and working hard,” he said

The other two boats to complete the 238-mile race were Snow Lion, the Ker IRC 50 owned by Lawrence Huntington of the New York Yacht Club, and Blue Yankee, the Reichel/Pugh 66 sailed by Robert Towse of Stamford.

Blue Yankee took line honors, finishing at 5:40 p.m. Sept. 2, while Snow Lion finished at 2:30 a.m. Sept. 3.

The weather was the story of the weekend. Twenty-six boats started but all but three dropped out by noon on the second day, unable to continue in the easterly breezes. Steady winds of 30 knots were reported in the Sound the night of Sept. 1 with steep 6- to 8-foot seas from the east making the leg out to Buzzards Bay a rough one.