Tom Loutrel’s Choppy Seas Wins 2018 Marblehead NOOD - Viper 640 International Class Association

July 28-29, 2018

Tom Loutrel, sailing with Hunter Stunzi and Jeff Frohock reclaimed this year’s Marblehead NOOD title, besting the 13-boat fleet by 8 points.  Cole Constantineau, Robin Weatherill, and Niels Warburton ended the weekend in 2nd place, with Moise Solomon sailing with some Nickersons not named Dave (Dan and Sarah Nickerson Enright) rounding out the podium in 3rd.

Great conditions greeted the fleet on Friday, with moderate 10kt breeze propelling the fleet through a classic Marblehead combination of chop and swell.  Downwinds were extremely interesting, with gains being made by boats that were best able to pop out and surf the right waves.  Day 2 saw similar conditions, but with the final race ending with breeze topping 16kts on parts of the course.  As they had done during the previous 9 races, Tom Loutrel’s Choppy Seas team sniffed out the breeze better than anyone else, sailed to the right downwind, popped out on a screaming plane, and passed the 3 boats in front of them on the left side of the course for the bullet.  Day 3 allowed the fleet to enjoy some of the more leisurely pursuits of Marblehead in lieu of wind (swimming, whale watching), before heading back in for chili-nachos, dark and stormys, and awards back at Eastern Yacht Club.

This year’s Marblehead NOOD regatta had great energy overall from the fleet, with many new faces sailing new (to them) boats, and many familiar friends teaming up to sail the event.  Dave Nickerson co-skippered with new Marblehead owner Marcelo Pereira, showing him all (some?) of his tricks of the trade, while turning over his normal co-skippering spot on Mo Grins over to his son Dan.  Jake Vick skippered his first regatta in Viper 83, treating his crew Linnea and Mike to some boat polishing and waxing before a bit of sailing.

With the owner of 207 out of town, Carolyn Marsh marshaled an enthusiastic Community Boating based team to her first time skippering a Viper regatta.  Colin Santangelo’s team sailed a spectacular day 2.  The fleet welcomed Dragon Lady II back to Marblehead, skippered by septuagenarian, Bob Bowditch, and Viper-legend Olaf Bleck took some time out of his gold mines in California to duke it out with the fleet!  Kay Vanvalkenburg managed to convince his crew, Robie Pierce champ Pauline Dowell, to loan him her Beneteau for overnight accommodations in Marblehead Harbor; his morning greetings from the mooring got the fleet excited to race every day. Mark and Ian made the trip down from Vermont to get a taste of saltwater and pitch the always exciting Lake Champlain Viper Regatta.

Finally, it was amazing to see Chris Annino, at 16 years old, sailing with his dad Gary in their first Viper regatta.  I suspect the fleet is going to be seeing a lot more from Viper #109 going forward—their enthusiasm was infectious!

Overall it was an awesome event, and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone back in Marblehead next year!