Sizing Up Seattle
Sizing Up Seattle
The Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta Series makes its fourth stop in Seattle, where boats of all shapes and sizes will take to Puget Sound.
The fourth stop of the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta Series will play host to an eclectic mix of fleets next weekend, May 17 through 19, in Seattle. From skiffs to San Juans, singlehanders to storied 6-Metres, a wide range of one-designs will descend upon Puget Sound for a weekend full of racing co-hosted by Seattle YC and the Corinthian YC of Seattle.
The keelboat divisions will sail Friday through Saturday. The J/24 fleet will have at least 18 boats on the water, and with their Western Regional Championship on the line, the racing should be hotly contested. “The favorites for this regatta are likely to be Mark Laura and Team Baba Louie, and Mike Johnson with Team Pearl,” says Bill Taylor, co-fleet captain of local J/24 Fleet 26. “We are very pleased to welcome Taylor Martin from Bellingham as a newcomer to our local J/24 events.”
The locally born and bred San Juan 21s will draw in racers from Washington and Idaho for their Northwest District Championship. Kermit, a family affair sailed by Marc Vander Schalie along with his father and son, is an early favorite. “Their lime green boat has won the last 4 years,” says class coordinator Chris Popich, who will be racing on Wooglin. “Jessie, sailed by Jim and Ann Miller, won our Fleet 1 Championship last year and are always tough. A dark horse could by Mizu, sailed by Christian Lamp who has been busy prepping the boat and brought in hotshot crew David Garman.”
In addition to the spinnaker fleet, newer sailors also get in the mix in the non-spinnaker San Juan 21 division. “We always hand out awards to our working-sails division as a way to encourage their participation and break them into racing,” says Popich.
The 6-Metre fleet will also consist of many locals from Puget Sound in classic and modern designs in both glass and wood construction. Adam Henley, class coordinator, shares some of his picks for the weekend: “In the classics it would probably be Goose; she is a Sparkman & Stephens design and will be helmed by 2009 World Cup winner Eric Jespersen. The moderns will be tougher to predict. Arunga is the most current evolution of the moderns and is extremely tough to beat. Finnegan was designed specifically for the conditions on Puget Sound and is consistently at the top of the fleet. St. Francis V is the winner of the first World Cup held here in Seattle in 1973. Frenzy can be wicked fast in light conditions.”
A new addition to the keelboats this year is the Super 30 fleet, which will consist of four Farr 30s, a Henderson 30 and a Flying Tiger 10m. “I’d say the favorites coming off nice finishes in an early spring regatta, would be Mike Didyk’s Deep Pickle and Eric Nelson’s Gardyloo, the Henderson 30,” says fleet coordinator Lance Staughton, who will race his Farr 30 Bat Out Of Hell. “Never to be underestimated however is the Pacific NW veteran and Farr 30 fleet builder Dan Randolph on Nefarious.”
On the sportboat side of things, expect to see the biggest numbers in the Melges 24 fleet. J/80s will also race, and Vipers and VX Ones will share a start.
The Star class has been experiencing a local resurgence and will be gearing up for their World Championship later this summer in San Diego, according to Seattle YC Sailing Director and local Star sailor Brian Ledbetter. Ledbetter says to watch for hotshots Bill Buchan, Carl Buchan and son Jamie, and newcomer Derek DeCouteau this weekend.
Smaller boats will race Saturday and Sunday. The Hoot class will see its largest gathering to date. These 14-foot singlehanded skiffs, which were built in San Francisco until 2006, are currently in the final proto-stages under the hand of Michael France, who will be racing, along with Hoot designer Chris Maas. “I’m thrilled to see a good set of younger sailors take on the event,” says France of the seven-boat fleet. “These boats are a great combination between performance, sensitivity, and forgiveness, and provide a really good step up from more typical singlehanders.”
More skiffs will be found in the 29er/Open Skiff fleet, which will consist of several 29ers, Musto Skiffs, and a Swift Solo sailed by class coordinator Chris Wickham. “Most of us have not sailed our skiffs much since last summer,” says Wickham. “So it's anybody's guess what will happen. Pieter Versavel from the Bay Area, however, beat all the Swifts and the Mustos at our respective Nationals last year in Vancouver (we start together), and he is probably the boat to beat if the wind comes up. Mostly we just want to get out on the wire and get our boats going!”
The Laser District 22 Championship is also a part of the Seattle NOOD, and a dozen singlehanders are expected to race. “TThe fleet will be a mix of young and old sailors, with several highly experienced masters including Bill Symes, Dan Falk, Michael O'Brien, and Jay Winberg,” says fleet coordinator Kurt Hoehne. “While in recent years the conditions for the NOOD definitely favored the light-air specialists, everyone knows the potential for a tough southerly to blow in for a couple of days produce the short and steep Shilshole Bay wave pattern.”
Also racing this weekend will be Thunderbirds, San Juan 24s, Mini 12s, J/105s, and International Formula 18s.
Post-racing festivities will be held each evening at Corinthian YC. Rules guru Dick Rose will speak about the rules changes for 2013 on Friday night. And, of course, there will be Mt. Gay Rum aplenty.