Saturday, March 19, 2016

San Diego NOOD Regatta Preview

J/70s sailing San Diego (San Diego, CA)- This coming weekend, the San Diego YC will be hosting the HELLY HANSEN San Diego NOOD Regatta for one-design fleets of J/70s, J/105s and J/120s.

The regatta wouldn’t be the same without Dennis Case’s J/105 WINGS. Case and his wife Sharon long dominated the Shock 35 class here before switching to the J/105 many moons ago and doing the same. While Sharon has excused herself from duties of the pit these days, Dennis remains “Steady Eddy” at the helm. “We’re not traveling out of town any more,” he says, “so the NOOD is the number one regatta for us.”

He has a few new sails for the occasion, a light No. 1 and an all-purpose spinnaker. The fleet now allows them to carry two jibs, and the AP opens up the wind range in his downwind inventory.

WINGS won its fleet last year, but only just, by a single point over Gary Mozer’s well-sailed CURRENT OBSESSION 2 from Long Beach, California. It was the series’ final race that Case fondly recalls. “It was one of the most memorable races in my time, he says. “Going up the last weather leg to the finish, they had a damn good lead, at least five boat lengths on us. After rounding the leeward mark I said, ‘Guys, we’re going into a tacking duel.’

J/120s sailing off San Diego“As soon as we tacked, they tacked to cover. Each time we tacked, we picked up half of a length, which is a lot. We were surprised they would come back at so frequently. At around tack 13 I ducked them and we swapped sides. They let me go and I got to the right of them. When we went back at them, I got a good piece of them, but they were still able to hold their leebow so I tacked away. On the 15th tack, I could lay the pin and figured we’d picked up another half-length, so I put the bow down to go a bit faster and forced them to tack early. When they did, I just stuffed it right up…and the faces on their boat said it all. I just kept the bow down and pushed out. I was really proud of my guys. I don’t know what we did to be able to do that, but it was wonderful.” Look for this J/105 rivalry to pick up right where these two left off and toss into the mix past class champions like Rick Goebel’s SANITY and Chuck Driscoll’s brand-new-orange-painted JUICED!

Similarly, the age-old rivalries in the J/120 class run deep in the San Diego offshore community.  Multiple NOOD J/120 Champion Chuck Nichols will hope to guide CC RIDER onto the podium again, but don’t be surprised for other teams to have newfound speed and steely determination to keep them from the top spot; especially John Laun’s CAPER and Mike Hatch’s J-ALMIGHTY.

J/70 sailing off San DiegoFinally, the “new kid on the block” has been growing fast and furious in SoCal.  As the largest fleet in the regatta by a wide margin, the twenty-three J/70s are hoping to gauge their level of performance against a hot fleet- one where many teams will be shooting for the Rolex Big Boat Series/ J/70 Pre-Worlds and the J/70 World Championship in late September at St Francis YC on San Francisco Bay.  The class is well represented from fleets up and down the Pacific coastline- with boats from San Francisco Bay, Los Angeles basin, Santa Barbara and even long-distance travelers from Minnesota in the Midwest and Mexico.

In the past year, the leading J/70 teams have continued to improve significantly and many new faces are also popping up near the front of the fleet.  Past J/24 North American Champion Pat Toole from Santa Barbara YC will be sailing 3 BIG DOGS and he’s joined by fellow club members Scott Deardorff on CAKE and Steve Hendricks on MONKEY HOUSE.  The San Francisco contingent includes Tracy & Christy Usher’s new CHRISTINE ROBIN, Justin Kromelow’s LOOSE LUCY and Chris Raab/ Dale Williams’ SUGOI.  From California YC in Marina del Rey are Jeff Janov’s MINOR THREAT, Patrick Danly’s TALLY HO and Beverly Burr’s VIVACE.  The Alamitos Bay YC group includes Long Beach Race Week winner Bruce Golison on MIDLIFE CRISIS and Alex Cross’ SWOOSH 3.  Craig Tallman’s JAYA and Jim Murrell’s HUCKLEBERRY are representing King Harbor YC.  The host SDYC is fielding four crews- Neil Senturia/ Lynsi Gibbons’ CACHONDO, Chuck Sinks, Dave Vieregg’s SOGGY DOLLAR and Rich Bergmann’s ZUNI BEAR.

The “outsiders” joining in on the fun include Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT crew from Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota and Luis Barrios’ crew from Valle de Bravo, Mexico on ZUMBALE. Sailing photo credits- Bronny Daniels- JOY Sailing.   Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/   For more HELLY HANSEN San Diego NOOD sailing information