The Marblehead Viper fleet and Boston Yacht Club hosted a few of their bestest Viper friends for a full weekend of sailing off of Marblehead in some pretty fun conditions! Getting in 7 races over the two days, the fleet saw very tight racing throughout, with Team NESS #158, Mark Zagol, Tim Desmond, and Drew Buttner) taking championship when the dust had settled, with Team Mo Grins (#208, Dave Nickerson, Moise Solomon, and Scott Leming) ending up in second, just ahead of Great Scott! (#269, Tom Loutrel, Peter Beardsley, and Rachel Beardsley).
2021 New England Championships Podium:
1st: Team Ness
2nd: Mo Grins
3rd: Great Scott!
The fleet was treated by the Boston Yacht Club with a great base of operations for the weekend, with most of the fleet staying right in the club and rolling out to their boats on Saturday morning. Sailing out of Marblehead sound and realizing the racecourse was set up over by Salem Harbor, the locals realized that they may not have great homefield advantage, as they usually sail more offshore. The humungous waves offshore (8’ +) that caused the race committee to move our course ‘inside’ still rolled through the course underneath a perfect 10-15 kt breeze. Jumping off the start, the lead boats on Saturday did a great job of keeping the boat moving well through the waves (bow down and fast!), and they also figured out quickly that there was pressure and (perhaps) current relief on the left side of the course. There were frequent lead changes—and some of them dramatic, especially in race 5, which saw a fairly well launched Great Scott! drop from 1st to 5th when they picked up a ball of weeds near the leeward mark (they stayed focused and clawed back to a 3rd). A difference maker on day 1 for team NESS was likely their great work on the downwind legs—in their multiple bulleted races, they passed several boats by being the last boat to gybe—feasting in the better pressure on the (downwind) right side of the course.
The Fleet starting off of Salem on Saturday in 10-15 kts of breeze, some cloud cover, small rollers, and light chop–perfect conditions! photo by Isaac Phelps
After a rapid fire 5 race day, the tired fleet dodged a few rocks on the way in and enjoyed the great spread at the BYC amongst the boats in the yard—catching up with so many of our friends we haven’t seen much of in the last year(s) of COVID. Overall, it was a joyous and fun time and a great end to a full day of racing!
Purplexed (#83) with a nice finish! photo by Isaac Phelps
Basilisk (#162) and Vellamo (#155) duel off of the Beverly, MA shore. photo by Isaac Phelps
Day 2 saw the fleet on the outside (normal course area for the local fleet), and with residual ocean rollers, chop, and far less wind (3-6kts). A patchy racecourse rewarded boats that stayed focused on keeping the boat moving and on boats that were able to smell out wind shifts well. The first race saw a nice lefty come through that local boats Porkchop (#166, Matt Hebert, Dana Robinson, and Gabriel Pereira) and Back in Business (#207, Fletcher Boland, Addy Davis, and Cody Karcher) saw coming. This popped them into an epic duel with NESS and Mo Grins, with NESS holding on/passing Porkchop for the bullet in the last 50 feet of the racecourse. After an abandoned race, the final race was held in even lighter breeze—Mo Grins managed to hold on to a large enough lead at the last rounding to throw in a gybe and get inside of a persistent header—extending their lead on the light air downwind for a nice finish to the regatta.
Meow! (#235) photo by Isaac Phelps
Overall, there were extremely tight finishes all weekend, with a particularly tight pack of boats in the middle of the fleet, most positions on the leaderboard were decided on the last race of the regatta— For this writer it was very apparent that the Viper fleet is still getting better, and the learning curve is still there for all of us to continue moving up!
This was a great tune-up for Women’s NA’s and the overall NA’s the 1st week of October– We can’t wait to see all of you there!
Team Ness Pre-Start photo by Isaac Phelps
Hot Dogs and beverages after a great weekend of sailing