Sunday, May 3
More than 195 boats in 14 classes competed in the final day of racing at the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Annapolis, Md. The three-day event wrapped up with local pro sailor and Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Terry Hutchinson and his crew winning its 60-boat fleet as well as the regatta’s overall title. The win secures his team a berth at the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Championship, hosted by Sunsail, in the British Virgin Islands in October. The regatta’s biggest fleet, the J/70s, is a highly competitive class, which was packed with both professional and amateur sailors. In light conditions and strong current, the fleet completed four races over three days.
“Day one we made a couple of small mistakes, but we had good speed and the team was doing well,” said Taylor Canfield, Hutchinson’s tactician. “The beginning was tricky for us because we were over early in the last race, but we had a great comeback. The conditions were supposed to be windy, but we predicted it would be lighter than the forecast. We have been training since last Sunday and expected to have a decent first race with pressure, but it was lighter.”
Canfield later added, “We sailed conservatively to keep ourselves in the hunt for the rest of the weekend. We put in more fight when we needed to.”
As the regatta continued into its second day, no races were completed for any of the regatta’s buoy-racing fleets, including the J/70s. Considering the light-wind forecast for the remainder of the weekend, Hutchinson said he’d told his team on Friday that they’d “better be in the lead, because there might not be any racing after.”
The final race on Sunday was delayed once, but with a light southerly sea breeze finally filing, the race committee started the day’s one and only race. “We tried to get off the line clean and sail fast. We started a little bit late, and went left with the tide,” said Hutchinson. “A big right-shift filled in halfway up the first beat, and we sat in 20th place initially. We passed boats in the first run down, and beat most of the teams around the mark the second time.”
Hutchinson said Canfield wanted to go left and they went for it, but ultimately it didn’t feel like a Hail Mary. “It was smart sailing,” he said. Hutchinson gave credit to his new team of sailors, which included his 13-year-old daughter Katherine, Canfield, sailmaker Nick Turney, and Morgane Renoir.
“Last weekend my son was on board sailing, and this week my daughter is,” said Hutchinson. “Katherine helped tack, pull the ropes and trim the jib. She was worried we would lose after Friday and I told her that it’s not in the start—it’s the finish that counts, and we did well.”
Hutchinson and his crew will join Grant Dumas of St. Petersburg, Fla., the crew of the Tripp 38 Warrior and John Laun’s Caper crew of San Diego, Calif., along with winner from Chicago and Marblehead, in the British Virgin Islands to compete in the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Championship, hosted by Sunsail.
For complete results, click Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Annapolis: Final Results.
Saturday, May 2
Light Air For The North Sails Rally
Less-than-favorable wind conditions arose on day two of the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Annapolis, giving sailors a shortened day of racing, with winds peaking at four knots. Saturday’s races allowed only one of 14 fleet classes to finish. NOOD Premier Sponsor, North Sails, presented awards to its Rally Race winner, the only class to complete a full race, as well as the most spirited local boat.
A new feature the regatta series, the North Sails Rally Race encourages local competitors to participate in a low-key day of racing for one day only, with a short distance race. The 13.4-mile pursuit race finished late into the afternoon.
Skipper Geoff Ewenson’s C&C 30, Themis, won the rally, finishing in a time of 1h:46m:27s, while Monkey Dust received the award for Most Spirited Local Boat. In second place of the rally, the Farr 280 Still Messin’ came in with a time of 1h:54m:13s, followed by a second Farr 280 named Boat, with a time of 1h:54m:13s.
“The weather didn’t cooperate one-hundred percent, but the NOOD persevered,” said Ewenson. “It wasn’t ideal conditions the entire time sailing, but for us it was a new boat that we are only scratching the surface on. To be able to sail against Farr 280s with them having done a few more events than us, we did well. To see the number of boats out participating in an event that they wouldn’t even be involved in without the rally, is a huge thank you to North Sails for really promoting it.”
Skipper Adam Esselman, of Still Messin, from Grand Rapids, Mich., said, “It was fun to get out there and go racing, whether it was pursuit or not – it was good to have some wind rather than no wind like it was predicted.”
Esselman noted that he and the crew got to work with pros like Farr Yacht Design’s Ian Gordon on Friday, which gave them fun things to try out and take the input from them to see what works best. He later added, “Every regatta race we do puts ourselves that much closer to being good with the boat. To go from Charleston [Race Week] to here, and coming back today from being over the start line early– we still kept on racing with our heads in the game. Overall, we are happy with today’s results.”
Friday, May 1
Local Knowledge Doesn’t Always Reign Supreme
The largest national sailboat racing circuit in the United States, the Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design Regatta series, kicked off its third stop of the season in Annapolis, Md., today with roughly 1,000 sailors competing on the Chesapeake Bay. Vying for individual class trophies, teams 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.
Fourteen one-design classes raced on Friday, with competitors enjoying a full day’s races in four different division courses. Overcast skies accompanied the inaugural race day with winds topping out at just 10 knots, making for a competitive regatta from the beginning.
More than 55 boats set sail in the J/70 class with three races completed. Joint Custody, skippered by Jenn and Ray Wulff, takes the lead with 13 points, and Peter McChesney’s Bang Ding Ow in second trailing with 17 points.
“I told my team to keep your head out of the boat and ignore local knowledge. People say follow local knowledge, which is staying to the left and avoiding the current because the left side is closer to land” said Wulff. “Today that wasn’t the case, and we did the opposite. Jenn did a great job driving as always, and we stayed away from the larger group of boats at the start, which gave us great starts.”
Wulff later added that the team switched over to Quantum sails this year, and had great boat speed all day to keep momentum going. Pro sailor Taylor Canfield, a sailor on Terry Hutchinson’s USA 419 of the J/70s class, noted that the team had a couple small mistakes, but had a great last race. The wind conditions were forecasted to be higher, but the team sailed conservatively to keep themselves in the hunt for tomorrow.
The J/80 class had 25 boats competing and two boats, Meltemi and R80, tied for first place with 18 points. Vayu, skippered by David Andril, sits in third place by one point.
Mike Hobson, skipper of Meltemi, said it was a good day first day of sailing for his team. “There was breeze and the first two races were effective with good starts. The last two we had more choices of which way to go and local knowledge went out the window because wind shifts. The fleet is competitive—with lots of boats and no consistent winner, it mixes it up. We are pretty happy, the race is tight and we will start again tomorrow to see if great racing holds up.”
“The crew would say don’t screw the start up,” Hobson said. “We need to stay in the game and had to dig hard to get out of the last two starts today. Tomorrow, we just have to try and stay in the game.”
In the Etchells fleet, an older but still technical class, had nine boats complete four races throughout the day. Ken Womack’s 1371 leads with 10 points, followed by Jeff Borland’s Make Mine A Double with 12 Points and Whirlwind in third with 15 points.
“Today was a good day, we had four races,” said Borland. “It was a fun fleet, but the last race was a bit of a struggle. The breeze was different and we missed a couple of shifts. There are so many good sailors in this fleet and if you miss a shift, you’re in trouble. Today we were just ready to go – the bay changes and weather rarely happens as it is predicted.”
The Annapolis NOOD regatta is a spectator-friendly event and the races can be seen aboard private yachts. Race start times are dependent on wind and weather, but a daily rendezvous is scheduled at the mouth of the Severn River at 10:00am 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, May 3, at the culmination of the event.
The overall winner of the Annapolis 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 other victors in the British Virgin Islands to compete in the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Championship hosted by Sunsail.
Along with new title sponsor Helly Hansen, we welcome back renewing sponsors including: Mount Gay Rum, North Sails, Sunsail and West Marine.
For more information on the 2015 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta series visit: http://www.sailingworld.com/nood-regattas. For more information, visit http://www.hellyhansen.com/sailing/heritage/ and http://www.hellyhansen.com/about-us/heritage.
More From Ray Wulff Joint Custody Skipper— “We’re in first place now. Jenn did a great job driving. The entire crew—Jenn, Jake and Wilson—did an awesome job. We did exactly what we said we wanted to do—keep our heads out of the boat and not rely on local knowledge.
With so many boats, everyone was really excited to jump right up on to the line, so we just stayed away from the largest group of boats at the start. Because of that, we had really good starts. We just switched over to Quantum sails, they were fantastic, and we got the boat dialed in really quick so we had good boat speed all day.
The current was strong, and we had a lot less current than the guys on the left side of the course. The reason we got hooked up the second race [where they finished first] was because we had a lot less current than the guys on the left. The local knowledge says to stay left to get out of the current, but today there was so much more current to the left and less on the right, plus there was more pressure over there so we went that way. Between that and our solid driving, we had a great day and we’re looking forward to it tomorrow.”
April 24th—Expect The Unexpected
For the snowbirds who spent their winters racing in Key West, Charleston and other warm-weather locales, the Annapolis NOOD is a time to put those polished tactics to the test. For those who braved the snowdrifts and frozen bays for lingering months, it’s a chance to shake off the cobwebs and prepare for the season ahead. With impressive numbers in the J/70, J/22 and J/80 classes and the twelve other one-design classes slated to compete, class leaders are optimistic that the Mid-Atlantic sailing capital will provide a fantastic weekend. But, that’s the tricky part about Annapolis in the springtime—you have to expect the unexpected.
Ray Wulff, the J/70 class leader, warns against relying on data over good, old-fashioned observation. “The tide chart may say one thing and it is doing something completely different on the course,” says Wulff. “We have a lot of rain this time of year and with the Bay acting as an exit point, all the tributaries feeding the bay cause havoc with the current and tide tables. No one wins the NOOD because of local knowledge, the key is keeping your head out of the boat.”
The J/70’s are out in force with almost 60 boats registered a week out from the regatta. With a line that long, Wulff advises his fellow competitors to focus on their own race. “It is rare for the person who wins the start in such a big fleet to win the race,” he says. “Typically, we try to stay away from other boats and focus on just trying to get a good start. When others get freaked out sailing with a lot of boats, we focus on the compass and do what we think is best for our boat.”
The J/70 fleet boasts a few big names—Terry Hutchinson and the “famous family Flack,” says Wulff—a handful of international entries, including Mauricio Santa Cruz’s Bruschetta, from Brazil, and Julian Fernandez Neckelmann’s Flojito Y Cooperando, from Mexico, which bring exciting variety to this year’s fleet. “You can’t predict who is going to do well this year when there is a new crop of people you’ve never raced against before,” says Wulff. “To do well, especially in a fleet this size when you can’t cover everyone, you can’t be worried about the other boats. Call it ‘Frozen’—you just have to let it go.”
The next largest class, the J/80s, are on the heels of wrapping up their North American and World championships last fall in Annapolis. “Much of the fleet is going to find themselves in familiar waters,” says Ramzi Bannura, J/80 fleet 10 officer and skipper aboard Stacked. “I don’t pretend to know the tricks of the Chesapeake Bay. The good news is that the more you sail, the more you’ll be able to understand here.”
Bannura, like many J/80 sailors, is still reassembling the boat following the journey back from Charleston Race Week. “We have to be conscientious about preparing for this regatta, making sure we can control the variables we can control,” says Bannura. “Make sure the boat is in good shape. You don’t want to lose a shackle or a halyard, which happened to us in Charleston. Sailing in the conditions is complex enough, there’s no reason for additional challenges.”
Compared to the J Boat parade, the Etchell’s class of eight boats is small, but mighty. Made up of half local sailors, half out-of-towners, Jeff Borland is hesitant to make any predictions on who will take home top honors in the NOOD “It’s shaping up to be a competitive fleet,” says Borland. “We don’t have the hot-shots coming up from Miami, but last I looked pretty much anyone could pick it up. It should be a pretty tight fleet.”
With the smaller class comes the opportunity to race in the same circle with the other fleets in the regatta. “The biggest piece with multiple fleets in the same circle, the key is to keep your lane,” says Borland. “With the Etchells, since often we can point so much higher than other boats on the water, when we get in with other classes it can get a little funny.”
“The conditions in April and May here in the Bay, you can get a little of everything,” says Borland. “There can be quite a bit of debris in the water, especially if we’ve had rain. You have to keep an eye out, be on your toes.”