(San Diego, CA)- The second stop for the eight event Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta circuit was in San Diego, CA on March 15th to 17th weekend. The feast or famine tradition for this event prevailed, where strong conditions in past events were set aside this year for light and spotty winds. Three race courses hosted 101 boats competing in 12 one design classes, with the J/105 leading the way with 14 boats in their fleet. A total of 38 J/Teams participated, accounting for over one-third (37%) of the fleet!
According to Benjamin Miller, SailFlow.com Meteorologist, spring in San Diego can be quite dynamic. The passage of winter storm systems continues but these winter storms become less frequent and less potent as the month of March progresses. Meanwhile, the North Pacific High begins to rebuild, resulting in some modest WNW breezes, too. However, despite all great and wonderful prognostications, such was not the case!
On the opening day, the fog lifted to deliver great conditions for racing for the J/Teams for the duration of the afternoon. But, the light winds and significant shifts tested the patience of sailors in all fleets. By the end of the regatta, it was self-evident the weather was putting a premium on good starts and conservative strategies.
Emerging from the heat of battle amongst the rock-star laden J/70 fleet was Bennet Greenwald, sailing a consistent series on PERSEVERANCE to win the emerging 10-boat J/70 class, scoring a 2-3-1-4-2-4 for 16 pts. On-board with Bennet was fellow San Diegan and Star/ Etchells 22 World Champion Vince Brun. Next in line grabbing an early lead on the first day but succumbing to a deep finish on the second day was champion sailor David Ullman sailing USA 32 to a 1-1-4-7-4-3 tally to snag second by one point! Recent St Petersburg NOOD winner, Joel Ronning, sailed his brand new midnight blue/black CATAPULT to a great series, improving just about every race to collect a 3-5-5-2-5-1 for 21 points to grab the third spot on the podium. Aside from the usual sailing rock stars, the NOOD Regatta also attracted a couple other notable celebrities in the field, including national talk radio host and author Dr Laura Schlessinger. She sailed her new J/70 called VENGEANCE to a credible fourth place for her first outing! Like Joel, she too improved virtually every race to win the top J/70 scoreline on the last day, counting an 8-4-3-5-3-2 for 25 pts! You go girl!! Rounding out the top five was Karl Pomeroy sailing with Scuttlebutt Newsletter editor Craig Leweck on their boat- ZERO TO 60.
Having sailed in San Diego for years and also winning class several times, it was certain that Curt Johnson sailing his J/80 AVET would be an odds-on favorite to take the gold again. Sure enough, despite the shifty, challenging weather and some much-improved J/80 teams, Curt managed to overcome a strong bid by Mark Hunter's team on IN-APPROPRIATE to win the J/80 class again! The AVET team scored a 2-1-3-4-3-1 for 14 pts to win by two points. Mark's IN-APPROPRIATE gang were, in fact, leading after the second day's racing, but simply "punched out" on the last day, scoring a 4-2-2-1-2-5 for 16 pts to secure second. Third was Dan Gribble sailing MONKEY SHOULDER to a 3-3-4-2-4-3 record for 19 pts.
Every once in awhile, Gary Mozer and his Long Beach crew on the J/105 CURRENT OBSESSION 2 simply just "get it going" and give heartburn to the local San Diego fleet! This year's performance in the SD NOOD was one of those regattas for Gary and the gang. After collecting a 1-2-1-2 for a whopping 6 pts, they never had to worry much about looking over their shoulder in the deeply talented fourteen boat J/105 class. While having a tough, uncharacteristically deep first race, Chuckie Driscoll and Tom Hurlburt got their train running down the tracks faster and managed to get BLOW BOAT to an 8-1-2-1 score for 12 pts to easily secure second overall. As has often been the case in this class, a pack of 5-6 boats were dueling for the last spot on the podium. After the dust settled, it was Rich Bergmann's ZUNI BEAR that scored a 4-9-5-3 for 21 pts that took the bronze position! Rounding out the top five were Steve & Lucy Howell's BLINK! in 4th and Dave Vieregg's TRIPLE PLAY in 5th.
In the "big daddy" J/120 class, there was no question the fleet had by far the deepest spread of talent with the closest scoreline ever in recorded sailing history for a fleet of seven boats! "Can anyone please pass over the Prozak?! I'm in catatonic shock and having an anxiety-induced ulcer attack just looking at the scoreline, dear!" Can you imagine, ALL seven boats had a top three finish? And, six of the seven nearly ended up in a six-way tie-breaker? Goodness gracious, must've been a lot of prayers and offerings to old man Neptune on those J/120s to bless the tactician with another good call. After the last race, there may have been an overall winner, but really the "class" was the winner overall. The SoCal J/120s are simply having a great time racing. This time around, it was John Laun's CAPER that was declared the overall winner, but it was not easy as evidenced by his 1-7-2-2 score for 12 pts. For the rest of the fleet, it was a pretty a hairy scary roller-coaster ride, with all six teams within THREE points of each other after the last race! Basically, it amounted to one giant tie-breaker. Second and third were determined by a tie-break with Gary Winton's SHENANIGANS pulling it off with a 4-1-7-3 record for 15 pts. He beat Peter Zarcades' MELTEMI with a score of 2-6-3-4 also for 15 pts! Then, in fourth one point back was Tom & Terri Mock's POLE DANCER with a 6-2-1-7 for 16 pts. And fifth was a three-way tie!! "The Commodore" (Chuck Nichols) and past winner of the event won this cat-fight by winning the last race-- his CC RIDER team managed to get a 7-5-5-1 tally for 18 pts. Getting the short-end of that stick were John Snook's JIM and Mike Hatch's J-ALMIGHTY. Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes.com For more Sperry Top-Sider San Diego NOOD Regatta sailing information