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6 June 2005, 10:45 am
Winning in Detroit is Never Easy
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Lands' End NOOD Regatta 2005
Detroit, MI, USA

On the morning of the final day of the Lands' End NOOD Regatta in Detroit, leads were tenuous, but hopes were high and Lake St. Clair delivered perfect conditions for an upset or two.
After the second day of racing at the Lands' End NOOD Regatta in Detroit there were ties up and down the 183-boat fleet and everyone knew that Lake St. Clair's often unpredictable winds could change the overall standings in a heartbeat. But yesterday, with a steady 15-knot southerly under crystal clear blue skies, conditions couldn't have been more perfect for a day of straight-up one-design racing. In the end, there were 11 ties across the fleet, and for those who came out on top, victory came only from perfected boathandling, boatspeed, and tactics.

But winning wasn't easy for anyone, especially Harald KOLTER and the crew of the Express 27 Das Boot, from Harper Woods, Mich. Das Boot owned the lead after winning its fleet's first four races, but then tanked the next two (finishing last in one), which dropped them to third overall. The only thing they could do today was win, and put two boats between them and leader (Ralph DEEDS' Lorax) to break a tie.

'Both of us were trying to win the committee boat end,' said Kolter. 'We managed to win the start against them, but the problem was we needed to put two boats between us, and I lost one boat on the run.'

Luckily for Kolter, the race committee had sent them on one long, five-leg race, which allowed them to make good things happen. 'The entire regatta came down to the last leg,' said Kolter. 'I was second coming around the last mark and I knew that whenever I could get to my own water we were rocket fast so that's what I had to do. We managed to get away and won the regatta in the last half of the last leg.'

Kolter's win also earned him the Express 27 Great Lakes Championship, one of two class championships at this year's Detroit NOOD-the other being the Crescent class, won by David HUME's Utopia, from Detroit. Hume earned his title in the exact same fashion as Kolter, winning the final race while putting the necessary boat between them and taking the championship by a single point.

A highlight of the 2005 Lands' End NOOD Regatta series is the naming of an overall winner at each of circuit's nine events. The winner is selected by race organizers using a formula to determine the top boat from the regatta's most competitive class. Each event's overall winner is invited to a championship of champions in January at Sunsail's Club Colona Resort in Antigua. Few were surprised here at the Bayview YC when local David HOLMES and his crew of the Cal 25 Holmbrew walked away with the award and the overall trophy.

Before today's only race Holmbrew was looking at a 4-point spread between his team and three others and-first and foremost-he had to beat Rodney Rask's Entropy, which was lying second overall at the time, one point in arrears. According to Holmes, of Grosse Pointe, Mich., the regatta nearly slipped away on the starting line.

'We were being pushed over early but managed to get below the line,' said Holmes, 'which put us in a really bad place. We had what may have been our worst start of the regatta and ended up 12th at the first windward mark.'

Holmbrew passed seven boats on the run, and then had to catch Rask. 'He lee bowed us and we just had to work our way higher and faster,' said Holmes. 'Talk about the adrenaline coursing through … my knees were shaking. What a great way to win a regatta.' Holmbrew finished fourth, which sealed the overall win despite having not won a single race. Next week, he hopes to carry on with his performance at the Cal 25 National Championship here in Detroit.

The regatta's 183 boats were spread across three racing circles, and on circle A, David SHRINER's Legend, from Sterling Heights, Mich., locked its win with a third. In its scoreline were five firsts in seven races, making them the most dominate team of the event. Bill WILDER's J/35 Mr. Bill's Wild Ride, from Harrison Township, Mich., won its class by two points, Dan CHRISTY's Hellion, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., won its Warhorse division (a level-rated class), Dan CHERESH's Team Intermec, from Holland, Mich., was the top Mumm 30, Rob AMSLER's Merlin, from Clinton Township, Mich., was the top J/120, and Burt JONES' Burden IV, from Grosse Pointe, Mich., was the top boat in the A circle's other level-rated division.

On the B circle, local standout John BARBOUR won the Level 40 class on his North American 40 Velero IV; Colin MILL's Wish, from Mentor, Ohio, was the top J/105, Jeff SAMPSON's Snatch Block, from Ferndale, Mich., was the top Tartan 10, Frank TENKEL, of Grosse Pointe, won the C&C 35 class, and Dean BALCIRAK's Sea Feaver, also of Grosse Pointe, won the Level 123 division.

Chuck HOLZMAN's team on Flyer, from Farmington Hills, Mich., was the top Melges 24 team on the C circle; Jim VAN DE VELDE's J/24 Mind Games, from Macomb, Mich., was the top 24, and winning the Ultimate 20 division was Rich HUNT's DUA, from Harper Woods, Mich.
Dave Reed (As Amended by ISAF), Image: Dan REIDY's Fugue State © JH Peterson
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