Sunday, February 16, 2020

St Petersburg NOOD Regatta Preview

J/70 Helly Hansen Youth teams (St Petersburg, FL)– Everything is shaping up in St. Petersburg, Fla., to kick off a great season opener for the Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design Regatta Series — the largest national sailboat racing circuit in the United States. The St. Petersburg NOOD regatta, organized by Sailing World and hosted by St. Petersburg Yacht Club, has developed into the one of the largest regattas in Florida, and its 32nd edition will see 185 boats and more than 1,000 professional and amateur sailors converging onto Tampa Bay and the bustling downtown area for racing and fun on this Valentine’s Day weekend on Tampa Bay.

J/88s sailing on Tampa BayThe weekend weather forecast is promising to deliver perfect Florida conditions for the sailors representing 27 states and three countries: seasonal temperatures, sunshine and a mix of breezy and moderate winds will challenge the 17 different classes of sailboats racing in either one-design J/24s, J/70s, J/88s, J/111s or PHRF (handicapped). A distance race across Tampa Bay will be held for select classes on Saturday only.

Travis Odenbach, of Pittsfield, NY, returns to St. Petersburg this year to defend his J/70 class win against sixteen other teams, but also another chance to represent St. Petersburg at the series’ season championship invitational, the Helly Hansen Caribbean NOOD Championship Regatta, hosted by Sunsail in the British Virgin Islands in October.

Odenbach, a professional sailor, has competed in the previous six NOODs and considers the February event a great chance to mix sailing business with pleasure. His goal is twofold: gain valuable training for the J/70 World Championship later this summer in California, as well as enjoy a warm-weather family vacation. “Coming here is a win-win for great sailing and family time. You can’t beat the combo,” he said.

The St. Petersburg NOOD is also a favorite event for Tampa resident Chip Merlin, thanks to the typically gorgeous weather, protected water and ability for Tampa Bay to accommodate so many boats and race courses. “The multiple courses give you that ‘regatta within a regatta’ feeling when sailing, but we get to hang out with all the other fleets at the party after. It’s a great chance to see so many sailing friends in one place,” Merlin said.

J/88 sailing at St Petersburg, FLHelly Hansen—a global leader in technical sailing apparel with more than 135 years of experience protecting professionals on the water—continues as title sponsor for the elite sailing series for the sixth consecutive year. As part of Helly Hansen’s commitment to the sport, the company will also continue to sponsor two teams of local teens, competing as the Helly Hansen Junior Crew at each stop this year. One crew will be helmed by top woman youth sailor Heather Kerns from the host St Petersburg YC Youth Team. The other crew will have Preston Weaver as skipper, also a member of StPYC's Youth Team.

The J/88 class will feature all the top boats that recently participated in the J/Fest St Pete J/88 Midwinters two weeks ago.  Those crews include the winners- Iris Vogel's DEVIATION- plus other leading teams like Andy Graff's EXILE from Chicago, IL; Jim & Scott Sorbie's LEGACY from Detroit, MI; Lawrence Cutler & Andrew Weiss' ONE TOO MANY from Mamaroneck, NY; and Dave Tufts' GAUCHO from Rochester, NY.

J/111 sailing St. Petersburg, FLSimilarly, the J/111 class will also have their leading crews from their recent J/Fest St Pete J/111 Midwinters, including Ian Hill's SITELLA from Hampton, VA; Jim Sminchak's SPACEMAN SPIFF from Cleveland, OH; and Doug Curtiss' WICKED 2.0 from Buzzards Bay, MA.

The J/24 class sports a cast of characters from primarily the southeast USA. Those crews include Chris Jackson's LUCIFER'S HAMMER, Nadia Daggett's MUSTACHE RIDE, Seth Rosenthal's NO RULES, and Jonathan Stewart's BREEZE. The lone exception to that group is one team that literally traversed the United States north to south (about 2,300 miles)- Mike Quaid's ICE CUBE from Mallets Bay Boat Club near Burlington, VT!

In the world of PHRF handicap racing, two J/105s from Davis Island YC are racing in PHRF 2 Division; Stephen Mitcham's BREEZIN BAYOU and George Cussins' FIRE & ICE. Then, in PHRF 3 Division, two familiar and hotly competitive J/29 crews will be dueling for class supremacy; Robert Wetmore's FAMILY CIRCUS and Ray Mannix's SEMPER FI. Notably, in the North Sails Rally Racer Cruiser Division will be the Ford/ Mistele duo on the J/112E SILVER SURFER and Jose Suarez-Hoyos on the J/35 NO WAY JOSE!   Sailing Photo Credits- Paul Todd/Outside Images   For more St Petersburg NOOD Regatta Sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.