2015 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Chicago: Words

Insights from the racing on the lake, plus your daily press release.

Saturday, June 13th
The guys aboard J/88 Rambler are laid back. So laid back, in fact, that when Sailing World caught up with them on the dock of the Chicago Yacht Club, they hadn't even checked the results of the North Sails Rally PHRF 2 class. "Oh wow, we won? Holy sh*%$!" said skipper Benjamin Wilson.

The crew, made up of Wilson’s J/105 and J/111 racing buddies from year’s past, sailed the 20.7 nm course in shifty, light breeze and sunny conditions—unusual for early summer sailing on Lake Michigan. “The conditions were challenging today,” said Wilson. “For us, at 25 feet, we have to be really good with our upwind sailing and our point. Sometimes, we weren’t accomplishing that.

We tried to go to a Code 0 to the first mark, but that didn’t work out well. We made some adjustments, and once we started getting to the points on the course where we can start reaching and running we do a lot better.”

Wilson, who is a volunteer assistant volleyball coach for the Loyola Ramblers men's Volleyball Team, plans to take the J/88 Rambler offshore for the Chicago-Mac next month. "It's a solid team, we've all known each other forever and we keep sailing together. I'm cruising, I get to hang out with my friends…Rambler just keeps rambling."

The rising temperatures heated up the competition on the one-design courses as well. After today's shifty racing, co-owners Brian Kennalley, Edward Mui, and Craig Roehl, aboard Tartan10 Meat, worked hard to hold on to their lead in the 24-boat fleet.

“The first race was reasonable, but the second race was out of control and the race committee did a fantastic job,” said Kennalley. “The first upwind leg was the craziest upwind one we have had in two seasons—with puffs here, shifts there, and converging breezes all over. Boats, including us, could go from zero to hero and back like the roll of a dice.”

“Coming into the last finish, the fleet took the kites down for about 20 seconds, put them back up, and took them back down again. We had two douses within two minutes,” crew Vic Smith added. “Yesterday was a boat speed day with solid boat work and no worry of maneuvers – just keeping the boat fast and clean. ”

Kennalley joked, "If we tie a bucket to Skidmark's keel, we can win tomorrow."

The Tartan10 fleet is a competitive and iconic group on the lake, and the level of camaraderie between boats makes for an excellent fleet dynamic. “Everyone wants to see you succeed – they cherish the competition, but also the community and everyone is willing to share knowledge. We wouldn’t be where we are without the assistance of those who are competing.”

Tomorrow’s final day of the action is scheduled to begin at approximately 10:00 a.m., dependent on wind and weather conditions. The Chicago NOOD regatta is a spectator-friendly event and the races can be seen aboard private yachts.

The overall winner of the Chicago NOOD will join Grant Dumas of St. Petersburg, Fla., and his crew of the Tripp 38 Warrior and John Laun's Caper crew of San Diego, Calif., along with Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, Terry Hutchinson, winner of the Annapolis NOOD and other victors in the British Virgin Islands to compete in the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Championship hosted by Sunsail. Each overall winning team will be outfitted with new sailing gear, compliments of Helly Hansen.

Friday, June 12th
Despite wet and wild conditions, the largest national sailboat racing circuit in the United States, the Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design Regatta series, kicked off its fourth stop of the season in Chicago with roughly 1,000 sailors competing on the Lake Michigan. Vying for individual class trophies, 135 boats are ultimately competing for the regatta's overall prize—a trip to the British Virgin Islands in the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Championship, hosted by Sunsail.

Ten one-design classes raced on Friday, with competitors enjoying a full day’s races in three different division courses [one-design means the boats are identical]. Overcast skies accompanied the inaugural race day with winds topping out at 14 knots, making for a competitive regatta from the beginning.

In the largest class, the Tartan 10's, is now lead by Meat, from the local Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club. Skidmarks follows in second, and Erica in third.

Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club member Martin Johnsson and his crew aboard the J/70 Aquaholiks won all four of their races today. Going into the second day of racing tomorrow, Johnsson will be the one to beat in the 13-boat class. John Heaton's Empeiria is in second place, and John Arendshorst's 20/20 is close behind in third.

Peter Priede's J/109 Full Tilt lived up to their name by putting in an excellent day of racing that won them three first place finishes in their class. The small, but competitive, fleet of five boats were the first boats to start racing today and were able to finish three races before returning to the Chicago Yacht Club for a fun after-party before continuing racing tomorrow.

The Chicago NOOD regatta is a spectator-friendly event and the races can be seen aboard private yachts on three separate racing circles. Race start times are dependent on wind and weather, with the first warning signal set at 9:55am each day.

To recognize exceptional individual performances in each boat class, NOOD Premiere Sponsor, North Sails, will present daily awards for the top three daily crews in each class. Additionally, on each Saturday of the season, North Sails will present the best performing local boat with an award for that day’s best racing. The final awards will be presented on Sunday, June 14, at the culmination of the event.

The overall winner of the Chicago NOOD will join Grant Dumas of St. Petersburg, Fla., and his crew of the Tripp 38 Warrior and John Laun’s caper crew of San Diego, Calif., along with Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, Terry Hutchinson, winner of the Annapolis NOOD and other victors in the British Virgin Islands to compete in the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Championship hosted by Sunsail. Each overall winning team will be outfitted with new sailing gear, compliments of Helly Hansen.

Along with new title sponsor Helly Hansen, we welcome back renewing sponsors including: Mount Gay Rum, North Sails, Sunsail and West Marine.

Chicago, Illinois (USA) The fourth event of the 2015 The Helly Hansen NOOD REGATTA SERIES hosted by Chicago Yacht Club, held on Lake Michigan. Race day two "North Sails Saturday" sunny shifty light air. North Sails Rally Race. ©Paul Todd/OUTSIDEIMAGES.COM OUTSIDE IMAGES PHOTO AGENCY©Paul Todd/OUTSIDEIMAGES.COM