Saturday, February 17, 2018

HELLY HANSEN St Pete NOOD Regatta Preview

J/111s sailing St Petersburg (St Petersburg, FL)- The Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta Series— the largest national sailboat racing circuit in the United States— returns to St. Petersburg, FL, for the first stop of its 30th anniversary season from February 16th to 18th, 2018. The event is organized by Sailing World and hosted by St. Petersburg Yacht Club.

Every year, hundreds of sailors compete for top marks in one of more than 10 classes and a chance at the Overall Winner title, which earns the winning team a berth at the Helly Hansen Caribbean NOOD Championship Regatta, hosted by Sunsail in the British Virgin Islands Oct. 21st to 26th, 2018. The events have proven to be quite popular with J/Sailors across the country, often the majority of the NOOD competitors sailing in some J/One-design class.  For the St Pete NOOD event, there will be one-design starts for J/70s, J/88s, and J/111s.  And, there will be a number of J/teams in the PHRF handicap classes and the North Sails Rally.

As the largest division in the event, the thirty-eight boat J/70 class will see a significant number of crews moving their boats down from Davis Island (having just completed their Quantum J/70 Winter Series last weekend) to be launched at the St Petersburg YC Sailing Center.  Contenders for the top of the leaderboard may include crews like Travis Odenbach’s Rochester YC team (he usually sails the famous J/24 HoneyBadger); Jud Smith’s AFRICA from Marblehead, MA; Bennet Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE from San Diego, CA; Pam Rose’s ROSEBUD crew from Chicago, IL; Will Welles’ SCAMP from Newport, RI; and Nancy Glover’s talented team from Marblehead, MA.

In the Corinthians J/70 division, there will be some hot hands on the tillers.  The famous Mendelblatt sailing family from St Petersburg will see young David trying his hand at J/70 sailing.  Mark Hillman’s crew from Annapolis, MD will be hopping from his fast J/24 program onto J/70s. And, two quite talented U.S. J/70 Youth Championship crews will be vying for the one qualifying slot for the Youth Champs later in November 2018.  Those crews are the HELLY HANSEN Junior Crew from St Petersburg YC, skippered by Heather Kerns, and the MUSTO YOUTH TEAM hailing from the MudRatz Sailing Team in Stonington, CT.

J/88s in St PetersburgA half-dozen J/88s will be ready to hit the starting in Tampa Bay, with PRO Todd Fedyszyn (the StPYC Sailing Director) promising that he will keep the offshore teams busy given the promising conditions for the weekend. Returning from their recent J/88 Midwinters held at StPYC earlier in January will be the top three boats- Mike Bruno’s WINGS from New York, Andy Graff’s EXILE from Chicago, and Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION from New York. Joining them will be Al Minella’s ALBONDIGAS from Milwaukee, WI; Tod Patton’s BLONDIE 2 from Northbrook, IL; and Scott & Jim Sorbie’s LEGACY from Grand Traverse YC in Michigan.

The J/111s also have a half-dozen boats sailing their second regatta of the year after competing at J/Fest St Pete for their Midwinter Championship.  However, this time, all the crews are desperately praying for more winds!  After racing in about 4.5 kts average wind speed for three days in late January, anything will be better!  Will Jeff Davis’ SHAMROCK crew continue their lucky streak?  Can Peter Wagner’s championship winning SKELETON KEY crew finish every race within the time limit?  Can Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF fire a moonshot and take it all?  Is Jim Connelly’s SLUSH FUND team up to the task of duplicating their light air feats on Chesapeake Bay?  Finally, no question Brad Faber’s UTAH and Doug Curtiss’ WICKED 2.0 teams are doubling down in anticipation of better outcomes this weekend!

In the world of handicap racing, the majority of teams in PHRF 2 are J’s.  Four J/105s are participating, including Jody Abrams’ ARIEL, George Cussins’ FIRE & ICE, David Arata’s J-HAWK, and Charles Clack’s RAPTOR.  Keeping them honest will be a crafty crew aboard the J/42 SHAZAAM, skippered by Roger Gatewood.

PHRF 3 Class has a classic light air flyer to contend with, the masthead J/29 called SEMPER FI sailed by Ray Manix from St Petersburg Sailing Association.  At the other end of the spectrum will be the little J/22 MOJO skippered by Bob Touton from Davis Island YC.

For the one-day North Sails Rally- Cruiser Division, Jose Suarez-Hoyos from Davis Island YC will be having fun with family and friends on the J/35 NO WAY JOSE!!  For more Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.