Ron Buzil is a popular man. When he and his crew aboard Beneteau First 40.7 Vayu were announced as the overall winner at the 2015 Helly Hasen NOOD Regatta in Chicago, the crowd under the tent at the Chicago Yacht Club roared louder than they had all day. That is, until they were also announced as the regatta's overall winner.
"In Chicago sailing season, the ultimate prizes are the NOOD, Verve and Race to Mackinac," said Vayu tactician Bryan Hayes. "If you can win one of those three, it is an amazing feat and the fact that we won the NOOD is awesome! We can't wait to go to the BIVs."
"Obviously it was a great weekend with successful results, but it was not easy to come by," said Buzil. "The conditions on Friday were awesome – cold rain, high waves – people couldn't believe we were out there. The first two races we beat LaTempete, but in the last race we placed sixth.
“The final day’s racing we did well, but in the last of three races we had to cut the jib sheet, get the knife out and ultimately slice it,” said Buzil. “We got a replacement jib sheet up and hung in there. The crew is terrific and the members on my team have been doing this with me from anywhere from five to 16 years. My newest crew member has been on the boat for three years.”
Ultimately, Vayu won the class with an overall score of 19 points, followed by LaTempete, skippered by Tom Weber, in second with 21 points and Das Boot in third place, skippered by Jay Muller, with 25 points.
Before they hop on a plane to the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Championship, Buzil and his crew will tackle a handful of other local and ocean races this summer and fall. Beyond the Chicago-Mac and the Verve, they’ll be sailing in the Bayview-Mackinac race, the Nassau Cup Race, and February's Storm Trysail Club's new race to Cuba.
The interview was cut short by Buzil’s crew, brandishing bottles of champagne and Mt. Gay Rum cups to celebrate their victory. Needless to say, Buzil will have no trouble finding crew to race in the BVIs later this year.