Saturday, June 18, 2016

Chicago NOOD Regatta Preview

J/70 women's team sailing Chicago (Chicago, IL)- The 2016 HELLY HANSEN Chicago NOOD Regatta, presented by SAILING WORLD magazine, will be taking place from June 17th to 19th.  The regatta will feature over 157 boats and at least 1,000+ sailors that are racing on four racing “circles” across the magnificent Chicago waterfront, the recent site of the America’s Cup AC45 Regatta series.  Sixty-eight J teams are racing on all four of those race courses, about 43% of the total fleet.

The largest fleet at the 2016 event happens to be the J/70 class, with twenty-two boats on the starting line, a first for the class in the HELLY HANSEN Chicago NOOD Regatta!  A very strong group of teams are assembled from four states in this regional event.  The past Farr 40 Great Lakes Champion will be racing with an eye towards refining their speed and strategy as they aim for the 2016 J/70 Worlds in San Francisco, CA this coming September; Bob Hughes’ crew on HEARTBREAKER are no strangers to Midwest sailors and their team from Macatawa Bay YC are hoping the regatta will prove fruitful for their long-term goal.  They will face strong challenges from local knowledge boats like John Heaton’s EMPEIRIA, Blane Shea’s GEMINI, Rick Kaiser’s ELIXIR, Mark Davis on the HELLY HANSEN JR CREW/ TAIPAN, Amy Neill’s NITEMARE, Mark Teborek’s NORBOY, Bob Willis’ RIP RULLAH and Jim Prendergast’s USA 167.

J/88 sailing ChicagoMomentum continues to grow dramatically for the J/88s on Lake Michigan.  Over the past 2 1/2 years, various J/88s have virtually eclipsed their classes and overall results in many local and regional offshore races, including the famous Chicago to Mackinac Race of 289nm.  As a result, one-design interest has also grown since J/88s have made a conscientious choice to include both around-the-buoys courses as well as random-leg government buoys courses.  As a result, the different types of racing challenges each team in a unique way, some favor W/L stuff while others favor offshore navigational strategies.  It seems the idea has seriously caught fire locally, with seven J/88s sailing this weekend.  It’s fair to say it would be a statistical “random walk” to identify leading boats; however, based on previous performances you should see Ben Wilson’s RAMBLER, Boyd Jarrell’s SLOT MACHINE, Stearns Sosa Racing’s HOKEY SMOKE and Craig Juel’s PAZZO in the mix.  However, don’t count out Tim Wade’s WINDSONG, Andy Graff’s EXILE, or Tod Patton’s BLONDIE 2 from eclipsing the fleet and leaving them spinning in their wake!

J/105s sailing ChicagoWith ten J/105s on a starting line, you know it’s always a prelude to a good party!  That is at least 75-100 people, including family & friends that look forward to having a great time at one of Chicago’s signature regattas every year.  It’s a bit of a coming home party and celebration for many.  Joining in on the fun, again, will be Ken Ganch’s GONZO, Sandy Curtiss’ ROCKING HORSE, Clarke Pellett’s SEALARK, Vanessa Gates’ STRIKING, Jon Weglarz’s THE ASYLUM, and Gyt Petkus’ VYTIS, amongst others.

At a half-dozen boats strong, the J/109s always enjoy good racing on Lake Michigan.  Several of Chicago’s faster boats will be on the starting line this Friday morning, including Jim Murray’s CALLISTO, Peter Priede’s FULL TILT, Jack Toliver’s VANDA III, and Scott Sims’ SLAPSHOT (hockey player, awesome!).

In addition to the one-design classes, the Chicago NOOD has evolved with the times and offers both one-day “pursuit-race” rallies and also basic offshore PHRF handicap racing on a “random-leg” course basis.  As a result, nice fleets have grown in 2016 for both categories.  In the PHRF 1 Class, we find the J/130 EDGE skippered by Robert McManus and the J/111 WARLOCK helmed by Tom Dickson hoping to enjoy casual racing over the weekend.  On a similar basis in PHRF 2, the J/35 NOMATA driven by Daniel Leslie is expecting a gorgeous weekend for sailing with family and friends.

J/100 sailing offshoreIn the “rally world”, it is simply mint juleps and flowery hats, gin fizzes and umbrellas in them, or espresso martinis and ultra-cool Ray Bans at “high noon”, or you don’t qualify!  Just kidding.  Even though it is a one-day event on Saturday, the “rally-ers” should expect benign weather for Chicago and have a wonderful day sailing their random-leg course.  In the ORR 2 Rally, we find the beautiful J/100 BARRACUDA being sailed by David Hughes.  Then, in the PHRF 1 Rally class are a bunch of big J’s, including the J/120 JAHAZI skippered by Frank Giampoli, the now famous J/133 RENEGADE skippered by Tom Papoutsis & family, and the J/130 SALSA helmed by Jim Gignac.  On the same program in the PHRF 2 Rally course is the J/92 CYCLONE sailed by John Madey.  One thing is for sure, on the “fun index” at the HELLY HANSEN Chicago NOOD Regatta, these crews will break the ringer on the bell in celebration!  For more Chicago NOOD Regatta sailing information