Air gets heavy, but racing still tight in regatta; 7 of 17 classes at event won by close margins


Light-air conditions prevailed in the first two days of the weekend Sailing World NOOD regatta, but heavy-air boat handling was key yesterday, as the 225-boat fleet sailed the regatta finale in stiff northerly winds of 14 to 20 knots.

"In our last race, all we needed to do was not crash and burn. But we nearly did just that," said Annapolis skipper John Ebell, who won the Catalina 27 class on a tiebreaker.

Ebell and his crew entered the final day of the event, hosted by Annapolis Yacht Club, with a comfortable margin. They won yesterday's first race, but after a bad start in the second race, their trophy chances became much slimmer. But they "clawed their way back," Ebell said, to take a class win on the slimmest of margins.

Tight competition was the rule in the various classes. Seven of 17 classes were decided by tie scores or by a single point. The regatta was held on four racing circles set up on the Chesapeake Bay and at the mouth of the Severn River.

Dan Cheresh's One Design 35 Extreme (Holland, Mich.) and Robert Hughes' Heartbreaker (Ada, Mich.) entered the final race tied.

Extreme and Heartbreaker sailed a close final race that ended in a tacking duel on the final windward leg. Cheresh took the class win by one point.

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