Saturday, May 3, 2014

Annapolis NOOD Preview

J/70s sailing off Annapolis (Annapolis, MD)- Another epic Sperry Top Sider Annapolis NOOD Regatta is in the making this coming weekend on the Chesapeake Bay.  What has now become an annual right of spring in the Bay area, the Annapolis YC, famous for being one of the most gracious and accommodating hosts clubs anywhere, somehow fits in over 200 boats at its various facilities.  157 J teams are sailing (79% of the fleet!).  With three separate racing areas, eight one-design fleets of J/22s, J/24s, J/70s, J/80s, J/30s, J/35s, J/105s, and J/109s are looking forward to a wonderful weekend of racing, great social activities and a chance to sit back, relax, and catch up with friends who’ve been buried in snow this past winter.

The forecast for the weekend looks promising.  With the clearing out of the massive low-pressure front inflicting enormous damage with tornado’s, thunderstorms and hurricane force winds across the Midwest midweek, the sailors should benefit with cool, classic spring weather on the Chesapeake for the weekend.  Breezes are forecast to be in the SW-NW quadrants from 5-12 kts all weekend long.

J/80s sailing on Chesapeake BayStarting off with the J/22s, a terrific turnout of twenty-six boats with many top sailors from the past few decades on the roster ensures both young and old alike in this fun class will have good competition.  One of the “resurrected from the dead” boats must be Mike Marshall’s BAD NEWS TOO from Conanicut YC in Jamestown, RI.  Don’t be fooled, she’ll be well sailed.  Two excellent women skippers are sailing, including Jen Gaffney sailing COMMITTED form Eastport YC and Sandy Adzick on HOT TICKET from Severn Sailing Association.  Amongst the top dogs in the class having a run at the silver are again the Lake Ontario “mafia” and the local “Naptown hotshots”.  The local Napolitans include Jeff Todd’s HOT TODDY, Chris Junge’s CORNER OF SANITY & MADNESS, and Brad Julian’s The Rochester contingent is led by Chris Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1 and Vic Snyder’s MO’MONEY.  A duo of Canadians have removed their ice skates and headed south to join the fun- Johan Koppernaes’s RAISED J from Ottawa, ONT and David Godin’s WON TON from Montreal, QUE.

The seven boat J/24 class has Pat Fitzgerald’s RUSH HOUR and James McGinnis’s famous SWAG US 462 leading the charge.  The J/30’s have a great nine boat class with some familiar top boats from past NOODs participating.  Remember the immaculately prepared THE WHITE BOAT sailed by Dave Moss?  They will be joined by George Watson’s AVITA, Bob Rutsch & Mike Costello’s BEPOP, Pam Morris’s BUMP, amongst others.

The J/35s are back in force with a very fun, competitive group of seven boats.  Back for another lap around the track is the famous AUNT JEAN, sailed by Jerry Christofel & James Sagerholm.  Stephanie Reuer’s DAKOTA GIRL will be giving the boys a run for the money, such as David Lange’s FATAL ATTRACTION, Peter Scheidt’s MAGGIE and the Masci-McGonigle duo on WINDEPENDENT.

As the largest fleet in the regatta with fifty-seven boats registered, the J/70 fleet again has many new faces in the crowd joining class veterans from the past year.  Past leaders from the winter circuit in Tampa Bay, Key West, Bacardi Miami and Charleston are all present.  As one of the last major regattas prior to the J/70 North Americans in Rochester, NY and the Worlds in Newport in September it will be a good test for many of the crews. With teams from fourteen states across America and even a team from Great Britain, the jury is out on how the top teams fair sailing the shifty breezes and tricky currents on the Chesapeake Bay.

The J/80s are also seeing an excellent fleet due to the fact the NOOD is the last big regatta prior to their World Championships sailed in the fall on the Chesapeake.  Many leading teams are present including past NA and World Champions.  Charleston winners Will & Marie Crump and Tom Klok are sailing RASH DECISION and will be up against past champs like Glenn Darden on LE TIGRE, Chris & Liz Chadwick on CHURCH KEY, Gary Panariello on COURAGEOUS, David Andril on VAYU and Martie Roesch on VELOCITY (owner of a J/111 by the same name).

With eighteen boats on the starting line, the J/105s are seeing two strong Canadian teams joining the fray against some very strong local Napolitan teams.  The Canadians are past winners Jim Rathbun on HEY JUDE and Mike Mountfourd on LIVE EDGE, both from Toronto, Ontario- host of this year’s 2014 J/105 North Americans at Royal Canadian YC.  Watch for top locals like the Gitchell’s TENACIOUS, Bob Reeves’s A-TRAIN and Andrew Kennedy’s BAT IV upholding local honors.

The J/109s half dozen boats have what may be the most competitive ratio of champions to registrants in the entire regatta.  Between Gary Weisberg’s HEAT WAVE, Bob Schwartz’s NORDLYS, and Bill Sweetser’s RUSH it will surely be a Clint Eastwood-style shoot-out at the “OK Corral”.   For more Sperry Topsider Annapolis NOOD Regatta sailing information