Monday, February 27, 2017

J/Crews Loved Sunny St Pete NOOD

J/24s sailing St Pete NOOD (St Petersburg, FL)- The first of the many Sailing World NOOD Regattas took place this past weekend in St Petersburg, FL, hosted by the St Petersburg YC.  A record fleet turned out for the event, fueled in part by the huge J/70 class.  Racing took place from Friday, February 17th to Sunday, February 17th on Tampa Bay.  The weather forecast looked promising, and in the end Tampa Bay lived up to its classic scenario of light to moderate winds- from every direction.

The event attracted a cross-section of sailors in both one-design fleets as well as PHRF fleets.  The J/70 class was out in strength, again, after just completing their Quantum Winter Series last week at Davis Island YC on Tampa Bay.  Thirty-four teams were headed for the starting line that included a number of top teams that had sailed in the Quantum Key West Race Week and were gunning for the J/70 Midwinters the following weekend, as well as the Bacardi Miami Sailing Week later in March.

In the J/70 class, first place winner Peter Bowe, of Baltimore, Md., echoed remarks about the importance of aggressive gear shifting in the shifty weather. The TEA DANCE SNAKE skipper typically competes in the Corinthian (non-professional) level, but with some of his team missing this week, he opted to learn a few new tricks from a hired coach, Jackson Benvenutti.  “He obviously upped our game,” Bowe said, laughing. “We’ve been sailing a long time, but this time we were faster and had better starts. This was our best performance in a major regatta!”

J/70 sailing ST Pete NOODTied with Bowe’s team for the overall lead was Brian Keane’s SAVASANA from Beverly YC in Buzzards Bay, MA.  Keane’s team posted the most consistent scores in the event with a 3-2-2-6 for 13 pts, but not good enough to take the overall win.  Behind them it was an enormous battle between six boats for the final position on the podium!  Just four points separted 3rd from 10th place!  Ultimately, winning that fight was Peter Cunningham from the Cayman Islands Sailing Club in Grand Cayman, posting an 11-4-14-3 for 32 points.  Peter was the “de facto” Masters Champion for the regatta and this was his first top three finish in a major J/70 regatta.  Behind them were Will Welle’s RASCAL in 4th place from Newport, RI.  Then, in a first ever scenario for J/70 class racing, three women skippers occupied the next three slots!  Pam Rose sailed her ROSEBUD into fifth, with Madelyn Ploch’s USA 88 in sixth position and Darby Smith’s AFRICA in the seventh spot!

The J/24 class had five boats participating on Course B near the St Petersburg waterfront.  Winning that class was not easy either.  Just like the J/70s, the winner was determined on a tie-breaker!  In this case, both boats had 10 point each, with local J/24 guru Jim Lindsay on SIGHT SEEING taking the win with a 1-5-1-1-2 over Seth Rosenthal’s SHOCK WAVE from Crystal Beach, FL, who posted a 2-1-2-2-2-3!  Tight stuff!  Sitting in the bleacher seats watching the fight in front of him was Nathan Bresett’s WOODICHUCK from Belleville, Ontario, Canada; their record of 4-3-3-3-1 for 14 points was good enough for the bronze.

The world of handicap racing on Course D took place off to the southwest near the enormously long Bay Bridge.  For the first time, the NOOD regatta offered both PHRF and ORC handicap scoring for the entire fleet.  It produced interesting results, in particular because it offered perspectives on how much an “objective” rule (ORC) compared to a highly “subjective” rule (PHRF) can differ with regards to rating boats.  Winning the ORC Class of ten boats was Iris Vogel’s J/88 DEVIATION from Long Island Sound, New York.  She was the top women skipper in the entire NOOD Regatta!  Third in class was Ray Mannix’s J/29 SEMPER FI.  In the PHRF 1 Class of 11 boats, Vogel’s J/88 finished third behind two known PHRF “rule beaters” (e.g. boats that rate unlike any other boats in the PHRF rating spectrum).

In the PHRF 2 Class of nine boats, it was Mannix’s J/29 SEMPER FI from Largo, Florida that took the class win.  For more Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD Regatta sailing information. Add to Flipboard Magazine.