Saturday, May 5, 2018

Helly Hansen Annapolis NOOD Regatta Preview

J/22 sailing off Annapolis(Annapolis, MD)- The first major regatta of the 2018 Chesapeake Bay sailing season is ready to roll this coming weekend- the Helly Hansen Annapolis NOOD Regatta hosted by Annapolis YC.  As one of the largest of Sailing World’s NOOD Regattas held nationwide, the Annapolis event also ranks as the one perhaps most dominated by the various J/One-design classes- 133 J’s in an overall fleet of 188 boats (or about 71.0%)!  Sailing one-design will be J/22s, J/24s, J/70s, J/80s, J/30s, J/35s, J/105s and J/111s.

Having one of their best turnouts in years is the J/22 class, with thirty-one boats registered.  The class continues to attract a relatively young crowd with many new faces in the class. The class veterans are also showing up en-masse, including notables like Brad Julian’s CAPSTAN CONSULTING, Pete Levesque’s DUSTY, Peter McChesney’s FAKE NEWS, Jeff Todd’s HOT TODDY, Sandy Adzick’s HOT TICKET, Cory Sertl’s LUCY, Chris Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1, Zeke Horowitz’s UNCLE FLUFFY and Matt Dunbar’s WHARF RAT.

The J/24s have a half-dozen boats, about 1/5th of their normal turnout due to the fact that most of the top boats are participating in the J/24 North American Championship taking place in Charleston, SC.  Nevertheless, it may come down to a match race between Pete Kassal’s SPACEMAN SPIFFF and Pat Fitzgerald’s RUSH HOUR.

J/70 sailing AnnapolisWith thirty-two boats on the starting line, the J/70s have the largest fleet at the regatta.  Leading teams may include Mark Hillman’s USA 6, Andrew & Melissa Fisher’s BUTTON FLY, Jen Wulff’s JOINT CUSTODY, Todd Hiller’s LEADING EDGE, Doug Clark’s POLAR from the US Coast Guard Academy, Marty Mckenna’s RARITY, Henry Brauer’s RASCAL, John Brim’s RIMETTE, Brian Keane’s SAVASANA and Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE (fresh off from a 2nd at the J/70 Corinthian Nationals!).  A third of the J/70s are sailing in the Corinthians Division; such as Hillman, Jack Wallace’s SELKIE (3rd Corinthians in Charleston Race Week), and Henry Filter’s WILD CHILD.

Continuing to show strength in numbers in the second oldest class (J/24’s being the oldest) is the fleet of eleven J/30s.  The Chesapeake J/30 class has continued to grow and they sure know how to have fun!  Who’s going to be at the top of the leaderboard this year?? Watch for crews like Tom Watson’s AVITA, Bob Rutch’s BEPOP, Jim McGinnis’ BLITZ, Charles Lutz’s POGO and Rob & Beth Lundahl’s RAG DOLL to be factors on the scorecard.

The third oldest class in the regatta is the J/35s, with a half-dozen boats ready to do battle for class honors over the three days of sailing.  One wonders if the infamous duo of Jim Sagerholm & Jerry Christofel will once again defend their titles in three previous events in their equally famous steed- AUNT JEAN?  Time will tell.

With twenty-one boats, the J/80 class has also experienced a significant resurgence since last year’s Annapolis NOOD event.  In addition to a number of new faces in the crowd will be several class veterans ready to help them out.  Amongst them will be Gary Panariello’s COURAGEOUS, Les Beckwith’s FKA, Ken Mangano’s MANGO, Mike Hobson’s MELTEMI, Ramzi Bannura’s STACKED DECK (also the J/80 Class President), and David Andril’s VAYU.

Always sporting a strong fleet is the Chesapeake J/105 fleet, one of the largest in the world.  Eighteen boats will be queued up to start with many local hotshots expecting to defend their home turf.  Chief amongst those teams will be Andrew Kennedy’s BAT IV, Ben duPont’s CTRL ALT DEL, Hugh Bethell’s JESTER, Cedric Lewis & Fredrik Salvesen’s MIRGE, Don Santa’s SANTAS REIGN DEAR, and Carl & Scott Gitchell’s TENACIOUS.  The lone out-of-town boat is Mark Masur’s well-traveled TWO FEATHERS from Fort Worth, TX.

J/111 sailing off AnnapolisAfter two excellent regattas in January and February in St Petersburg, FL, the J/111 class is congregating for another “de facto” East Coast Championship on the Bay.  Eight teams from across the country (San Francisco, New York, Cleveland, Buzzards Bay) will be vying for class honors.  The current J/111 World Champion- Peter Wagner’s SKELETON KEY from St Francis YC- will be hoping to be competitive against several hot local teams.  The “locals” include Marty Roesch’s VELOCITY, Dave McCreight’s DARK HORSE, and Jim Connelly’s SLUSH FUND (3rd at the 2017 Worlds).  However, a small posse of teams from Cleveland could challenge them all for the top spots- two-times J/111 Midwinter Champion Rob Ruhlman and crew on SPACEMAN SPIFF and the 2018 Midwinter Champion- Jeff Davis’s SHAMROCK.  Then, the two northeastern teams may truly be the “dark horses” on the race track.  Both boats are Block Island Race Week Champions- Sedge Ward’s BRAVO and Doug Curtiss’ WICKED 2.0.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ Outside Images  For more Helly Hansen Annapolis MOOD Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.