Monday, March 28, 2016

Golison Overall San Diego NOOD Regatta Champion

J/120 cruiser racer sailboat- sailing San DiegoGoebel’s J/105 SANITY & Nichols’ J/120 CC RIDER Crush Their Classes
(San Diego, CA)- More than 100 teams competing in 12 classes sailed in San Diego for the Helly Hansen San Diego NOOD Regatta, the largest national sailboat racing circuit in the United States. Bruce Golison’s J/70 MIDLIFE CRISIS came out on top, winning its J/70 fleet and the regatta’s overall title. The win earns Golison a trip to the British Virgin Islands to compete in the Helly Hansen NOOD Championship Regatta, hosted by Sunsail.

J/70 sailing off San Diego NOOD regattaGolison, a champion sailor from Rossmoor, California, is relatively new to the J/70, which is one of sailing’s most popular one-design classes. The San Diego NOOD Regatta was the start of a long campaign for Golison, with the ultimate goal being the J/70 World Championship in San Francisco in September. For the NOOD, he assembled a team that included his brother Jay, professional sailor Steve Hunt, and Dan Morris, an Olympic-class dinghy sailor. This was their first weekend in the boat together and after a slow start on Friday, says Golison, they steadily improved, winning the regatta by only two points over Jeff Janov’s team on MINOR THREAT.

“I had never sailed a sportboat before,” says Golison who is more familiar with the J/24 and Etchells keelboat classes, “so the adjustment from pole-back spinnaker sailing to reaching around was a huge adjustment.”

Over three days of racing in perfect conditions on San Diego’s South Bay racecourse, set between Coronado Island and mainland San Diego, Golison’s team had its work cut out for them with the presence of several top teams mixed among the 26-boat fleet. His toughest rivals proved to be Janov and Luis Barrios’ ZUMBALE, with local ace Willem Van Way calling tactics.

“It was actually a pretty tricky weekend,” says Golison. “It was a little shiftier than normal. It was amazing how the three of us took turns beating up each other. I think we each probably only had one race out of the top three. Then we all had at least two or three firsts. There were guys that would mix in that were always tough. It was great racing.”

J/70 one-design sailboat- sailing San Diego NOODWorking with a new team took some getting used to, he confessed, the biggest challenge being communication during the starts. But once Golison and Hunt clicked, their starts were perfect, and in the end, it made the difference. “On the first day they were pretty average. And then yesterday we were better as we got our communication down. And then today, I think we both felt comfortable. We said we wanted the pin, so let’s get the pin, and we had pretty good luck at doing that,” commented Golison.

“We have a real quiet group,” he added. “We all have confidence in each other, which is pretty amazing after one regatta. There is never any questioning. Steve is the leader on the boat. My job is to just sail the boat as fast around the course as I can.”

It was Hunt’s tactical expertise that helped them manage the day’s final race, says Golison. They went into the race with only a 1-point lead. “If Janov won the race, we would have tied and he would have won the tie-breaker, but if he beat us and didn’t win the race, then we would beat him because we would have the tie-breaker,” said Golison. “So, by winning the pin, tacking and crossing the fleet we got the jump on him, and from there, there were times we would slow him up, and times we would herd him.  They are very fast and quite a test for us!”

After the first day, MINOR THREAT’s crewmember Doug McLean commented, “Obviously, we had a great day today with a 2-1-1. It was close racing all day. We were pretty much keeping tabs on Golison and the Mexicans [currently in third overall]. The three of us were dueling it out all day.” McLean says the highlight was a recovery from an OCS start in the first race. “We came back right away and banged the right corner, which got us right back into it. We fought back into second, which was pretty exciting. That could have been it for us.”

In the end, behind Golison and Janov was the Mexican team from Valle de Bravo, Luis Barrios on ZUMBALE in third, Chris Snow’s COOL STORY BRO in fourth and Tom Garrett’s SLOOP JOHN B in fifth.

In the Corinthians J/70 fleet, Garrett’s SLOOP JOHN B won followed by Chris Raab & Dale Williams’ SUGOI in second, Scott Deardorff’s CAKE in third, Chuck Sinks USA 306 in fourth and Pat Toole’s 3 BIG DOGS in fifth.

J/120s sailing San Diego NOOD regattaThe J/105 class saw a near runaway in the form of Rick Goebel’s team on SANITY.  Hopping back into the J/105 after having a rough experience sailing in the professionally crewed Farr 40 Worlds, Goebel sailed fast and managed to win four races in a row to a comfortable win.  Starting and ending with bullets was another class leader, Dennis Case’s WINGS, taking second for the regatta.  Past winner and third place finisher this year, Gary Mozer’s CURRENT OBSESSION 2 from Long Beach, must’ve have wondered where the SANITY and WINGS teams picked up their cans of “whupass” every day.  After handily winning several events in the past few years, Mozer was having to work extra hard to just place in the top five and never winning a race.  The balance of the top five included the Hurlburt/ Driscoll team on JUICED in 4th place and Stew Cannon’s J-OK if 5th.

A familiar team ended up leading all the J/120s home by a country mile!  Chuck Nichols’ crew on CC RIDER started off the first race with an emphatic win and never looked back, repeating that effort for the balance of the weekend with a rare streak of straight bullets!  However, the fight for the balance of the podium was a rough one and was not determined until the final two races.  By closing with a 2-2, John Snook’s JIM took the silver while John Laun’s CAPER crated the last two races to take the bronze.  However, CAPER was fortunate to win the tie-breaker on 22 pts with Ernie Pennell’s MAD MEN (who suffered an SCP in race #2).  Just barely sneaking into fifth place by one point was Mike Hatch’s J-ALMIGHTY.   Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/  For more HELLY HANSEN San Diego NOOD sailing information