Saturday, June 10, 2017

Chicago NOOD Regatta Preview

J/70s sailing off Chicago (Chicago, IL)- The HELLY HANSEN Chicago NOOD Regatta, presented by SAILING WORLD magazine, will be taking place this weekend.  The regatta will feature over 140 boats and at least 1,000+ sailors that are racing on four racing “circles” across the magnificent Chicago waterfront, the site of the 2016 America’s Cup AC45 Regatta series.  Fifty-seven J teams are racing on all four of those race courses, about 43% of the total fleet- nearly another J/FEST!

The largest fleet, for the second year in a row, will be the J/70 class, with nineteen boats on the starting line; nine of them will be Corinthians teams.  It is a very strong group of teams that are assembled from five states in this regional event (Illinois, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Minnesota, Connecticut). There are a number of veteran teams as well as new faces in the crowd that will surely factor into the overall results.  So, without a great handicap form to work with, the teams that may factor into the top of the leaderboard include John Heaton’s EMPEIRIA, Blane Shea’s GEMINI, Oivind Lorentzen’s NINE, Amy Neill’s NITEMARE, Rob Willis’ RIP RULLAH and Dan Gabriel & Matt Gallagher’s SURPRISE.

The fourteen-boat J/111 class will absolutely provide teeth-gnashing, anxiety-ridden outcomes all weekend-long, from race to race no less!  Why??  Simple.  Many of the teams have won something in some form or another over the past for years.  Plus, newcomers have strong teams.  So, Las Vegas handicapping of this group would be an absolute fool’s errand.  In any event, the top local boat in a variety of offshore, North American, and Worlds events has been the wildly fun and crazy trio aboard the mighty KASHMIR (Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson & Mike Mayer)- you can never discount this crew out of a top three effort in any major J/111 event.  So, who’s willing to trash that reputation?? Plenty of boats, including Mark & Colin Caliban’s NO QUARTER, Brad Faber’s UTAH, Marty Roesch’s VELOCITY rockstars from Annapolis, Tracy Brand’s SOLUTION from Macatawa, Len Siegal’s LUCKY DUBIE (that just won the COLORS Regatta), Rich Witzel’s ROWDY, Kevin Saedi & Raman Yousefi’s MOMENTUS; and Dan Kitchens’ SKULL CRACKER. Yes, there are plenty of teams that can knock the KASHMIR crew off their pedestal as the top Great Lakes J/111, but they won’t go down easy!

For the octet of J/105s, there are many familiar faces that should factor into their leaderboard; including Clark Pellett’s SEALARK, Jon Weglarz’s THE ASYLUM and Gyt Petkus’ VYTIS. Notably, all have won either one-design events or Chicago-Mac Races in class over the course of a few dozen years!

For yet another octet of boats, the J/109s have both veterans and “sleepers” that have won major events in the past in both the offshore and one-design events.  It is going to be an interesting series for this fleet, but the principals factors could be an ice hockey guy like Scott Sims’ SLAPSHOT II, Peter Priede’s FULL TILT, Jim Murray’s CALLISTO, David Gustman’s NORTHSTAR, Jack Toliver’s Mac Race winning VANDA III, or Bruce Danly & Jimmie Mitchell’s Mac Race winning TOA.  Who will it be?? The offshore guys?? Or, the course racing superstars?? Should be fun to watch the outcome!

While the one-design world is fraught with friends, personalities, and fast (or not so fast) teams, the PHRF world of racing could care less.  Right?  Just start, go like hell and let the domino’s fall where they may??  Well, maybe or maybe not.  While one-design racers can be ruthless, handicap racers can be “creative”??  Well, in the PHRF Racing Division will be some well-practiced and well-tested J/teams.  They include Daniel Leslie’s J/35 NOMATA from North Point Sailing Association, and three J/88s (Tod Patton’s BLONDIE 2, Andy Graff’s EXILE, & Tim Wade’s WINDSONG).

In the ORR 2 North Sail Rally, we find two J/88s that are participating on a one-day basis- Boyd Jarrell’s SLOT MACHINE and Ben Wilson’s RAMBLER. In addition, in the PHRF North Sail Rally, we have Jim Caesar’s J/109 LIQUID LOUNGE II up against two J/120s (Frank Giampoli’s JAHAZI from Columbia YC and Arne Fliflet’s MAZAL TOV).

Fun and games for all!! Hopefully, the weather cooperates in good’ole Chicago- famous for tornados, waterspouts, rolling cloud squalls and flying squirrels!  For more Chicago NOOD sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.