Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Gorgeous, Sunny, San Diego NOOD Regatta

J/70 sailing San DiegoClose Racing for J/70s, J/105s, and J/120s!
(San Diego, CA)- The 2018 edition of the Helly Hansen San Diego NOOD Regatta took place from March 16th to 18th, hosted by the famous San Diego Yacht Club on Point Loma.  The promising weather forecasts for the weekend were fulfilled, providing the racers great sailing, both offshore south of Point Loma and also in the flat waters of South Bay in the eastern part of San Diego Harbor beyond Coronado Bridge.

Winning the J/70s on the final day was Bennet Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE.  Stew Cannon’s J-OK nearly swept the J/105 class.  And, John Laun’s J/120 CAPER kept it consistent to top their class. Here is how it all went down over the three-day weekend.

J/120s sailing San DiegoFriday- Postcard Perfect!
Optimal conditions on San Diego Bay made for a solid first day of racing. This was the second of five stops in the nation's largest and longest-running sailboat racing circuit, now in its 30th season.

Nearly half of the regatta’s entrants participated on the first day of racing and the rest join them for races Saturday and Sunday. In the J/70 fleet, the largest of the weekend, local sailmaker and professional sailor Chris Snow and the crew aboard COOL STORY BRO lead the fleet with 11 points after three races.

Snow credits a conservative approach and good boatspeed to his team's early success in a traditionally competitive fleet.

"The rule of thumb is you can't win the regatta on the first day, but you can lose it," Snow said. "Sailboat racing is a game of risk versus rewards, and the best strategy is to not take a big risk at the start [of each race] and let your boat speed do the work for you. So our strategy was to have a good solid day and not make any mistakes."

Despite shifty conditions for the first race of the day, team COOL STORY BRO placed first. The wind strengthened for the following two races. Snow said the favorable conditions made it easier for his team to “to get out in front, which takes a little bit of the stress out."

With seventh- and third-place finishes in the following races, Snow led the class by a single point. The J/70s are laden with top sailors and, according to Snow, it's still anyone's game.

"This fleet is very competitive, and that makes it fun for everybody. If you finish in the top 10, it's an accomplishment."  Tied for 2nd were Bennet Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE with a 9-2-1 and Chris Raab’s SUGOI with a 6-1-5.

The Santa Barbara Yacht Club (SBYC) Youth Team, a crew of high school-aged sailors participating in the regatta, shared Snow’s perspective. The youth team is currently placed ninth in a class full of veterans and pros. Echoing Snow's strategic insight, SBYC's tactician Payne Donaldson, 16, said his team's game plan is to "go fast, sail conservatively and start well."

J/70 Santa Barbara YC Youth TeamAfter an impressive second-place finish during the first race, Donaldson’s teammates faced a few "communication and boat set-up" issues in the day’s second race. "But we came back with sixth place during the third race, so it was a good day. We sorted out the problems we needed to."

As one of three youth teams in the J/70 fleet, the young sailors were sailing to qualify for the US J/70 Youth Championship this fall, defending the club's 2017 title.

"We picked this event because it's one of the closest qualifying events and one of the first," said crew member Caden Schivlauer, 16. "The team was here last year and we know this venue pretty well, so it just felt natural to come back."

Photo L to R: Payne Donaldson (captain, tactician), Paul Harteck (Skipper), Chris Kayda, Caden Scheiblauer, Kyla Murphy. Note- Payne and Chris were part of the Santa Barbara YC 2017 championship team at the first U.S. J/70 Youth Championship in Newport, RI.

J/70s sailing San Diego South BaySaturday- Shifty, Rough Day Offshore
Saturday was a challenging day on the water for the hundreds of sailors competing in the eleven classes. Sailors faced shifty winds and rough seas on two race courses set on the ocean off Coronado Island.

San Diego-native John Laun, the 2015 Helly Hansen NOOD San Diego Overall Winner, found the conditions demanding, but he and his crew aboard CAPER established a comfortable lead in the J/120 class, which saw four different boats win each of four races.

“It was a great day,” Laun said. “The sea state was very confused for the first couple of races in particular. There were big wind shifts and big changes in wind direction, so it was very challenging.”

Those big shifts resulted in an abandoned race. But, the wind eventually shifted westerly and held steady with more reasonable oscillations,

Behind Laun’s CAPER with a 2-1-2-2 tally for 7 pts, it was Chuck Nichols’ CC RIDER in second with a 5-2-1-4 scoreline for 12 pts and sitting in third was Rudolph Hasl’s HASL FREE with a 3-3-4-5 score for 15 pts.

The ten-boat J/105 fleet got rolling on Saturday as well.  It has been tight racing, as illustrated by the roller-coaster scorelines of the top three boats.  Leading was Stew Cannon’s J-OK with a 1-5-2 for 8 pts, followed by Rick Bergmann’s ZUNI BEAR in second with a 4-3-4 tally for 11 pts.  After an awful first race, Tom Hurlburt & Chuck Driscoll’s crew on JUICED re-grouped and, ultimately, posted a 10-2-1 for 13 pts to sit in third for the day.

Meanwhile, the large J/70 class produced a few more winners and a few luckless outcomes, too.  Leapfrogging into first place was Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE, adding a 1-8-3-2 to their record to close with 26 pts total.  Dropping down to second was Snow’s COOL STORY BRO after posting a 4-5-12-1 for the day for 33 pts total.  Then, top woman helm- Pamela Rose from Chicago, IL- guided her ROSEBUD team to a 5-4-8-3 tally for 35 pts total.  Dropping off the face of the Earth was Raab’s SUGOI team scoring a dubious 3-13-13-13 on the day to drop them out of second and, in fact, out of the top five- rough day for the Newport Beach crowd!

J/120s sailing offshore San DiegoDay 3- Sunny, Gentle Breezes for Finale
Continuing to maintain their composure on the last day was Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE.  They maintained their lead with a 12-2-4 to win the J/70 class with 44 pts total.

“The J/70s are always tough,” Greenwald said, touting that the fleet this weekend boasted several world champions. “South Bay is really fun because it’s flat water but the shifts come quick. It was a very exciting weekend. It feels good to win, but just being here is a privilege.”

The Snow/Brigden duo on COOL STORY BRO closed with an 8-5-7 to finish with 53 pts.  Just one point back in the bronze position on the podium was Jeff Janov’s MINOR THREAT; it was quite a comeback to hop on the podium for Janov’s team, closing fast with a 1-4-1 for 54 pts in total!  Climbing like a Phoenix arising from the ashes of defeat and destruction the previous day was Raab’s SUGOI, clearly going for redemption and blitzing the fleet with a smokin’ hot 2-1-2 tally the final day for a total of 59 pts- good enough for 4th place!  Rounding out the top five was Fabian Gomez-Ibarra’s VAGAZO from Mexico with a total of 66 pts.

In the J/70 Corinthians Division, it was Gomez-Ibarra’s VAGAZO team that won the title; followed by Craig Tallman’s JAYA in second, and taking third was the incredibly well-sailed Santa Barbara YC Youth Team, skippered by Paul Harteck.

In a somewhat unusual scenario, after scoring just the three Youth teams participating in the regatta, it was the King Harbor YC FLY Team skippered by Kyle Collins that scored as top Youth team for the event by just one point over the Santa Barbara YC Youth Team.  Third was the Newport Youth Team skippered by Max Mayol from Newport Beach, CA.  As a result, the King Harbor YC youth team qualifies to go to the U.S. J/70 Youth Championship to be held in November 2018 at St Petersburg YC in Florida.

In the J/105 class, the standings for the three lead boats from the previous day did not change.  Stew Cannon’s crew on J-OK kept up the pressure on the fleet and closed with a 1-2 to take the J/105 title.  Also, closing with a 2-1 was the Hurlburt/ Driscoll duo on JUICED to take the silver.  Finally, Bergmann’s ZUNI BEAR had a good regatta to close with a 5-6 and secure the bronze.

Laun’s team on CAPER ran away with the J/120 class, sailing very consistently to close with a 2-3-2 to win with just 12 pts.  Nichol’s CC RIDER team also hung in there with a 4-4-1 to hold on to their second place.  However, third place was up for grabs all day long, with a new team looking ready to grab the bronze.  Nevertheless, those efforts proved elusive for most boats, with Ernie Pennell’s MAD MEN sailing like “mad men”, taking a 3-1-4 tally straight to the podium to seize the bronze for the regatta.  Coincidentally, it was anyone’s guess who would get that final medal as only 2 pts separated the three boats from 3rd to 5th. Tim Hogan’s SHAMROCK took 4th and Hasl’s HASL FREE must have fallen from grace with the sea, dropping down to 5th place.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ Outsideimages.com and JOY Sailing/ Bronny Daniels.   For more Helly Hansen San Diego NOOD Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.