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19 March 2001, 10:06 pm
Variable Conditions Challenge Fleet
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ID35 Startline Action ©Sailing World

San Diego National Offshore One Design Regatta

Strong winds at the beginning of the final day turned into light shifty conditions at the end making for some tense racing.
"The last race was a minefield," said Peter Isler, of San Diego, winner of the 35-boat Etchells class. "There were two breezes and a dead zone in between. The dead zone kept shifting to the right and to the left but it was always on the racecourse. Luckily we had the Melges 24s in front of us, acting as a tell tale." But so misleading were the shifts that Isler and crew dropped to 13th place at one point, while Tim Lynch of San Diego, in third going in to the day, got ahead.

"He was close to beating us if we lost any more boats.. Then we caught up a lot on the next beat--eyes out of the boat and hope you guess right," Isler said, recalling the intense last legs of an intense series as the Etchells class powered on after the high of the Etchells' Midwinters the week before.

Meanwhile, the Melges 24 class was riding toward its peak with the U.S. Nationals scheduled to start in just three days after the NOOD, on the same tricky San Diego waters. Two-time Melges 24 World Champion Vince Brun, of San Diego, was tripped up at the start of the NOOD by launch damage to the spreaders of his boat. After repairs Brun sailed to 1-2 on the first day but on Day Two had to drop out to make more repairs. Brun returned in time to win the last race of the day but after missing two races, the Brun boat was effectively out of the competition.

There was no lack of talent ready to step into the gap. In the classic San Diego conditions of the second day (an eight- to ten-knot westerly with a moderate swell), two-time Olympian Charlie Ogletree drove Mike Stone's NOT THE FAMILY BUICK to the head of the class and held onto the position through Day Three, despite a powerful bid from veteran Melges 24 sailor Argyle Campbell of Newport Beach, CA.

Stone was happy. The San Diego NOOD was the first major Melges 24 event he's won. "We've been up there in the standings and then we'd have one bad race," Stone said. "This time we had consistent starts and speed on the course."

In the Soling Pacific Coast Championship Ian Wareham, of East Sound, WA, won first place on the strength of his last day's performance, despite tying the score at 14 points with Steve Brownsea, of San Diego. Defending champion John Walton, of San Diego, had to settle for third with 18 points.

In all of the other classes, protests were pending at presstime but were not expected to affect the top places. Kara Zylstra, of Coronado, CA, prevailed in the ID35 class after a strong series early in the regatta. In the Corsair class Jay LaPlante, of Manhattan Beach, CA, was the winner with 14 points to second place Jeff Cohen's 18 points.

J/Boats turned out in force for the regatta. In the J/105 class Dale Byrne and Sharon Case, of Long Beach, CA, won. Best in the J/120 class were Chuck Nichols and Chick Pyle, of San Diego. Jeff Brown, of San Diego, and Ryan Cox of Ventura, CA, took home trophies in their classes: J/80 and J/24 respectively.

Greg Mitchell, of Burlingame, CA, successfully defended his regatta title in the International 14 class and Shane Pollard, of Centerville, UT, became the defending champion in the regatta?s Ultimate 20 class.

At each stop on the NOOD regatta circuit, one boat is crowned the Lewmar Boat of the Day for logging the strongest (low-point) record on the opening day of the regatta. The winning boat for the San Diego NOOD 2001 was J/24 GERALDINE, owned by Julie Mitchell and Steve Mollering, after scoring two bullets on the first day.

The next stop on the NOOD circuit is the Annapolis NOOD, hosted May 4-6 by the Annapolis Yacht Club.

The above report was received late due to technical difficulties.
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