By Joe Berkeley
On a day when Newport harbor was socked in with fog as thick as New England clam chowder, twenty three Lasers went out racing.
At times, the sailors couldn’t see the next mark, but they could listen for it. In a committee boat next to the mark, Christine Neville blew a whistle periodically so the sailors could pick their way through the mist and the fog.
One sailor who had no trouble finding the marks was Ed Adams. The two-time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, Star World Champion, and Laser Master’s Champion won the day with an impressive 3, 5, 1, 1, 2, 5.
After sailing, Adams said, “It’s interesting how little differences in settings make a big difference in speed.” Last weekend, Adams felt like his speed was off, so he sailed by Dan Neri, observed his outhaul settings, and matched them. Immediately, he felt his speed improve.
Adams believes that the Intensity sail and the North class legal sail are very different. A common mistake on the Intensity sail is to have the vang and outhaul too tight. According to Adams, the North sail is the opposite; a tight vang and outhaul are critical.
Ed’s son Lucas was also out on the racecourse. A senior at Brown University and a former captain of the Brown sailing team, Lucas is looking for a job in the technology sector in California. About sailing against his father, Lucas said with a smile, “It’s pretty good…except when he kicks my ass.”
On land, Ed and Lucas enjoy an affable father/son relationship, but on the water, no quarter is given. Lucas said, “I don’t think he’d cut me any slack. I’m trying to beat him. It feels good when I do.”
Within earshot, his father replied, “Like in the last race, when you tacked on me multiple times and pushed me back to fifth place!” Luke smiled, as he had won the last two races of the day.
The Race Committee, Moose McClintock, who is a veteran of two America’s Cup campaigns, said, “Careful Luke. He’s paying your tuition.”
The other father/son campaign on the racecourse consisted of Steve Kirkpatrick, who finished the day in fourth overall, and John Kirkpatrick who is a freshman at St. George’s School, who was 12th.
Ted Hood, who is the managing director of Wellington Yachts, finished the day in 7th and knows a thing or two about sailing with his father. Ted said, “I sailed more miles with my father than anyone. We didn’t have to talk much. We had a sign language and a combination of grunts that communicated what needed to be said.”
Fleet Captain Peter Shope finished the day in second overall. His 17 points tied him in the standings with Ed Adams, who beat Shope on a kiss-your-sister tiebreaker. Third place for the day was Andy Pimental, the President of Jibetech, who took a break from his workshop to go Laser sailing. After competing in the Snipe Western Hemisphere and Orient Championship in San Diego in September of 2014, Andy received orders to build two new Jibetech snipes for sailors in Japan.
According to Andy, it costs just $200 more to send a 40-foot container to Japan than a 20 foot container. So the two new light grey Jibetech Snipes, two dollies, and two new rigs will be all packaged up and sent to Japan by freighter. Andy said, “The Snipe class in Japan is very strong.”
Dan Neri was out on the water, just back from a trip to the Laser Training Center in Cabarate, Dominican Republic. “I worked on downwind speed in waves,” said Neri, who also managed to do a bit of kite boarding. About the sailing on Sunday, Neri said, “This was one of the best fleets we’ve had in a long time. A good group from top to bottom.” The owner of Laser Training Center, Ari Bashir encouraged Dan to get a group together to come train at the facility. Dan said, “I think we should get everyone in the fleet who finishes from 4th to 15th to go. Those guys in the top 3 just sail away from us.”
Joe Berkeley is a freelance writer and a member of Fleet 413. His work is at joeberkeley.com