New England DN Champs – Way more thrilling than the superbowl…it’s true.
More than 30 sailors arrived on Saturday with great anticipation given the great condition of the ice at Lake Winnipesaukee, but no sailing happened…Was the weekend going to be a repeat of windless Montana? Trust me, those of that did that road trip really hoped not.
We rigged and waited and waited…By 3:30 it was clear no racing was going to happen. Fortunately for all of us, John Eastman realized we’d all have an appetite to fill and he kindly found a place for us (about 35 people!) to gather and enjoy a nice dinner together. He even made sure the manager called in extra staff because well you know how sailors can be…John, thank you so much!
Sunday morning the breeze was up and T, Chris Miller, and Jacek Marzenski from Montreal went out early to set the course and the starting line BEFORE the skippers meeting at 9:30. Nicely done!
The scratch sheet had 22 racers signed up and in the pit one could see almost the complete history and evolution of the DN class on display with an early wooden mast model dating from 1964, Ed Demerest’s DN 1914 a $150 barn treasure, and several fully tricked out DNs with the most modern of materials that truly blaze across the ice at speeds of up to 50-60 mph. And even one with the funniest tiller any of us have seen…
Perfect wind, practically perfect ice and T, the race chairman, called for the racing to start at 10:30. When we picked out numbers from the bag T announced that during the previous night’s dinner a request was made by senior statesman for the DN class, Andre Baby, to consider having two starts…One for those over 70 and/or those with any artificial limb/artificial component and another start for everyone else.
There were some questions when this was announced…Do pacemakers count? What about Stents? In the end, an agreement was reached and the “Baby Rule” instituted. T went out with the flag and we lined up. Two arms were raised. When the first arm dropped, those that qualified for the “Baby Rule” started. When the 2nd hand dropped everyone else started.
The course was large…at least 7/10 of a mile possibly longer. That was very nice because everyone spread out and with experienced racers and some novices it made it safe and fun for everyone. Jeff Kent shared with me last year that large courses are much safer than small courses and its really true when you see it in action.
The battle for the lead began early with New England’s own Oliver Moore out on the course after a few years being away and a relatively new DN sailor Canadian Robin Lagraviere jockeying between the 1st and 2nd position throughout the day. Would the trophy stay in New England or leave us like the super bowl Vince Lombardi trophy?
The breeze was about 8-10 mph all day and the racing was fast with short breaks between. T was assisted in the scoring by a new guy to the DN scene "Mike" and Dave Fortier. In quick mark/course re-setting Eric Anderson jumped into help out. Thanks guys!
Also different in this regatta T, the race chair, had us just pick out of the bag new starting numbers for every race. This made it fun for those not accustomed to racing to start in "favored" position many times and it made those that were finishing in the top 5 often having to start as far down as the 20th position. That’s a good mental and sailing skill challenge to work through the fleet when you start in one of the less favored starting positions.
We got in 5 races by 12:30! The race chair quickly became known as Tyrant T, but in his benevolence, he gave us about 30 minutes to break for lunch. After lunch, and a course adjustment, racing began again.
The breeze picked up a bit more and some newer to racing headed in. The rest of us enjoyed two more great races. That means we did 7 races and I realized and remarked "We did more racing today than we did in Montana!"
Everyone headed back to the launch area and T tabulated the results…
And all of New England can now relax because the trophy stays in New England! Oliver Moore won the day with 9 points. (7 races/1 throw out). As an aside, did you know Oliver Moore co- owns Moore Brothers, a custom composite company and DN mast maker? Did you know 7 out of the 11 top finishers at the North Americans used Moore/Jeff Kent DN masts?
2nd place and big congratulations goes to Robin Lagraviere from Montreal who placed 2nd with 11 points. He is fast, talented, and will do lots of great things in the DN fleet.
3rd place goes to another Canadian sailor Jacek Marzenski DN 5247 sailing a brand new boat. He finished with 20 points. His new boat is the coolest shade of blue I have seen on the ice.
4th place goes to Canadian Andre’ Baby with 24 points…(who shared at Saturday’s dinner that he is releasing his 3rd book very soon!)
5th place goes to Long Island’s Chris Miller with 30 points (Chris taught me a good lesson on Sunday. I will share that in another post and the title is going to be “don’t take your foot off the gas”).
6th place goes to New Hampshire’s Jay Whitehair (in addition to DN sailing he is an avid hang-glider too!)
7th place and beyond – I have to finish cross referencing some score sheets and re-tabulate. So, I will post ASAP.
Great and very fun day of racing…hopefully we will do more this season! So nice that Robin, Andre’ and his wife Louise, and Jacek came down from Montreal/Quebec to race with us. Thank you!
In closing, T headed out to Europe today to race in the DN Gold Cup. At least five other Americans from the mid-west are heading across the pond later this week.
Think More Ice,
Karen Binder, DN 5630, NEIYA Secretary