Saturday, February 18, 2017

HELLY HANSEN St Pete NOOD Regatta Preview

J70s rounding mark in St Petersburg NOOD (St Petersburg, FL)- The first of the many Sailing World NOOD Regattas will be starting this weekend in St Petersburg, FL, hosted by the St Petersburg YC.  A record fleet has turned out for the event, fueled in part by the huge J/70 class.  Racing will be taking place from Friday, February 17th to Sunday, February 19th on Tampa Bay.  The weather forecast looks promising, with light easterlies on Friday, followed by moderate norwesterlies on Saturday and more lightish southerlies on Sunday.

The event attracts a broad cross-section of sailors in both one-design fleets as well as PHRF fleets.  The event is dominated by J/crews from across America, with strong fleets in the J/24 and J/70 one-design classes, as well as a competitive contingent of J/88s, J/29s, and J/105 in the PHRF buoy racing classes.  In the PHRF random-leg classes that get to roam around Tampa Bay, there will be a rematch of top teams sailing J/40s and J/42s!

J/70 sailing St Pete NOODThe J/70 class is out in strength, again, after just completing their Quantum Winter Series last week at Davis Island YC on Tampa Bay.  Thirty-four teams are headed for the starting line that include a number of top teams that had sailed in the Quantum Key West Race Week and are gunning for the J/70 Midwinters the following weekend, as well as the Bacardi Miami Sailing Week later in March.  At the top of that heap is the 2016 J/70 World Champion, Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT crew from Wayzata YC in Minnesota.  They will be hard pressed by a hell’s kitchen of crews that are all capable of being at the top of the leaderboard, including Darby Smith’s AFRICA from Marblehead, MA; Marty Kullman’s NEW WAVE from the host SPYC; Peter Cunningham’s POWERPLAY RACING from the Cayman Islands; Robert Willis’ RIP RULLAH from Columbia YC; Brian Keane’s SAVASANA from Beverly YC in Buzzards Bay, MA; and Rich Lehmann’s WIND CZAR from Little Traverse YC in Harbor Springs, MI.  Of note for the J/70s are the very talented HELLY HANSEN Junior Crew led by Blair McCarthy from St Petersburg YC.

J/88 Wings sailing St Pete NOODIn the PHRF race course, it promises to be a significant “dust-up” between top J/88 crews and J/cruising crews.  In PHRF 1, three J/88s are sailing, all at the top of their game.  Those crews include Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION from Huguenot YC in New Rochelle, NY; Tod Patton’s BLONDIE 2 from Milwaukee YC and Northbrook, IL; and Mike Bruno’s WINGS from American YC in Rye, NY.  They will be up against two J/105s, Jody Abrams’ ARIEL from SPYC and George Cussins’ FIRE & ICE from Apollo Beach, FL.  Sailing in PHRF 2 are perhaps two of the fastest PHRF boats on Tampa Bay, Ray Mannix’s J/29  SEMPER FI from Largo, FL and the St Pete Sailing Association and the trio aboard the J/29 MEATIER (Brian Davies, Brian Kennalley, and Ed Mui from Chicago Corinthian YC in Chicago, IL). 

The NORTH SAILS Race Rally fleet sees Jeff Russo’s J/40 INTREPID taking on Roger Gatewood’s J/42 SHAZAAM for class and line honors all weekend long!  Both crews hail from the famous Davis Island YC across Tampa Bay.

St Pete NOOD gutter racerWhile the racing on the water promises to be epic, perhaps the roughest and toughest test of sailing skills make take place ashore!  This year marks the inaugural HELLY HANSEN Gutter Boat Regatta at the NOOD.  Meet on the race track at 1900 hrs Saturday night at the post-race party to keep the competition alive.

Grab your “gutter boat racing kit” Thursday evening at registration, first come first serve.  Take a few minutes between Registration and Saturday's party to build your winning catamaran! Foilers??  Maybe.  Each kit contains a sail, trimaran frame, two pieces of balsa wood, a mast, and four screws. You may want to bring some more materials to set yours apart from the rest.  The winning boat will go home with a sweet Helly Hansen trolley bag!  Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/   For more Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD Regatta sailing information. Add to Flipboard Magazine.