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Calm weather stalls NOOD regatta

The Baltimore Sun

The first day of competition of the Sperry Top-Sider National Off-Shore One Design (NOOD) regatta tore a page out of the America's Cup playbook.

Like the world's most famous sailboat race, the NOOD was bedeviled by a calm that turned the water off Annapolis into a sheet of glass and sails into limp sheets.

Sailors used rudders to paddle and make headway in the dead-calm conditions. Others hailed a tow from passing powerboats to get out to the four racecourses south of the Bay Bridge.

Crews snacked, napped and swapped stories as their boats bobbed quietly in small clusters.

At least four classes - Etchells, J/22s and the two S2s - attempted to squeeze in a single race on a day scheduled for four, but as quickly as the light breeze rose, it died.

"When we did get wind, it was from all over the board," event principal race officer Sue Reilly said. "I don't think we ever saw more than 4 [knots]."

Racing was abandoned around 3 p.m. By the time all 270 boats tied up at 4:15, the sun was out.

The winner of the "Boat of the Day" contest, selected by Sailing World magazine, was Geoff Stagg of Annapolis, skipper of Whisper 5. Stagg donated $150 to "Sailing for Miracles," which is raising money for Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

Under race rules, there can be only two races tomorrow. So today, organizers hope to complete a minimum of four races in an effort to get back on schedule.

"The nice thing is that the Annapolis Yacht Club is definitely capable of doing that, providing the forecast is good," said Dave Reed, editor of Sailing World.

The forecast calls for the front to move off and winds building out of the north from 10-15 knots, gusting to 20 knots.

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