Ideal Racing Conditions Highlight First Day of Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in St. Petersburg

Beautiful Day in the Burg

The largest St. Petersburg Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta in 10 years got underway Friday with 170 boats and more than 500 sailors racing on Tampa Bay in optimal conditions ranging from 8 to 12 knots.

In the Melges 24 class, one of the largest fleets in the event, Monsoon tactician Mike Buckley credits his team's Day 1 lead — with three first-place finishes in four races — to conservative sailing and a little luck off the starting line after the first race.

“The first race was really tricky; there was light wind and the two boats that beat us did a better job transitioning and maneuvering,” Buckley said. But when the breeze came in, team Monsoon had three solid starts and were able to keep the rest of the fleet behind for the duration of the race.

Looking forward to the next two days of racing, Buckley expects the competition to ramp up, so he plans to focus on three things: “Good starts, good speed and good boathandling.”

“We try to keep it pretty conservative on the first day, get a decent result and build from there. We got a nice lead today, but we all know that the lead can go away quickly. So we’re going to keep chipping away, don’t try to do anything special, focus on everyone doing their job and take it one race at a time.”

Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in St. Petersburg
2018 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in St. PetersburgPaul Todd/Outside Images/NOOD

Another of the big fleets on the water is the A Class Catamarans (known as A Cats), speedy one-person multihulls with a passionate community of sailors who typically only participate at the St. Petersburg event of the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta circuit.

Ben Hall, a longtime class leader whose La Femme Nikita is his 28th A Cat, is currently leading the competitive fleet after four second-place finishes. Recently retired, Hall sails in the fleet's tamer Classic division rather than the contemporary foiling group, which feature hydrofoils that lift hulls out of the water to increase speed.

“I’m going better upwind than I have in the last 10 boats,” Hall said, referring to his newest boat’s design and equipment. In addition to having more time to “making little tweaks to the boat, go sailing for a couple hours, then change something else,” Hall attributes his success to an active lifestyle and constant learning.

“When I was working, I didn’t take the time to go to the gym. In this boat, you’ve got to be in shape to compete against the younger guys. Now I’m riding the bike, I’m swimming, I’m sailing,” Hall, 72, said of his more conducive sailing lifestyle. “But sailing is still my favorite hobby by far.”

The regatta's largest fleet is the popular J/70 class, which is headed up by Brian Keane and his crew aboard Savasana after four races.

More results below. For comprehensive results, visit yachtscoring.com.

DAY ONE RESULTS (TOP THREE)

Sonar (One Design - 8 Boats)
1. SPYC Sonar, Diane Fowler, 1 -1 -1 -2 -1 ; 6
2. Shamrock, John Twomey, IRL - 3 -2 -4 -1 -2 ; 12
3. Puff, Dawn Hart, 2 -3 -5 -7 -3 ; 20

Flying Tiger 7.5 (One Design - 8 Boats)
1. Vitaly, Chuck Norton, 2 -2 -5 -3 -1 ; 13
2. Richard Parker, Gary Weisberg, 1 -7 -1 -4 -3 ; 16
3. Giant Realistic, Sabine Leonhard, 6 -6 -6 -1 -2 ; 21

Lightning (One Design - 13 Boats)
1. Bad Larry, Michael Zonnenberg, 4 -1 -3 -3 ; 11
2. Fog Horn Leg Horn, Joel Humphrey, 1 -4 -7 -1 ; 13
3. %*)&^, Steven Davis, 2 -5 -4 -2 ; 13

A Cats Classic (One Design - 16 Boats)
1. La Femme Nikita, Ben Hall, 2 -2 -2 -2 ; 8
2. Silver Alert, Craig Yandow, 1 -5 -5 -4 ; 15
3. Homey, Woody Cope, 3 -6 -3 -3 ; 15

A Cats Foiling (One Design - 23 Boats)
1. CAN 44, Larry Woods, CAN - 3 -2 -2 -1 ; 8
2. USA 311, Bruce Mahoney, 2 -1 -1 -7 ; 11
3. CrowdFiber, Bailey White, 4 -3 -3 -2 ; 12

J/70 (One Design - 39 Boats) 1. Savasana, Brian Keane, 1 -3 -4 -2 ; 10
2. Rosebud, Pamela Rose, 2 -5 -3 -1 ; 11
3. 40, Travis Odenbach, 3 -1 -6 -3 ; 13

J/88 (One Design - 6 Boats)
1. Wings, Mike Bruno, 1 -2 -2 -1 ; 6
2. Albóndigas, Al Minella, 4 -1 -1 -2 ; 8
3. Deviation, Iris Vogel, 3 -3 -4 -4 ; 14

Melges 24 (One Design - 18 Boats)
1. Monsoon, Bruce Ayres, 3 -1 -1 -1 ; 6
2. Zingara, Richard Reid, CAN - 2 -2 -3 -5 ; 12
3. MiKEY, Kevin Welch, 4 -3 -2 -3 ; 12

J/111 (One Design - 5 Boats)
1. Skeleton Key, Peter Wagner, 3 -1 -1 ; 5
2. Spaceman Spiff, Rob Ruhlman, 1 -4 -2 ; 7
3. Slush Fund, Jim Connelly, 2 -2 -3 ; 7

S2 7.9 (One Design - 11 Boats)
1. Matros, Tom Bryant, 5 -1 -1 ; 7
2. Rebel, John Spierling, 1 -4 -2 ; 7
3. Scratch, Paul Latour, 2 -2 -4 ; 8

Hobie 33 (One Design - 4 Boats)
1. Viva Las Vegas, Steven Attard, 1 -1 -1 ; 3
2. Barbarella, Jim Blakewell, 2 -3 -2 ; 7
3. Rhumbline, Scott Maust, 3 -2 -3 ; 8

PHRF 1 (PHRF - 8 Boats) 1. Raven, Mike Kayusa, 2 -1 -1 ; 4 2. Warrior, Grant Dumas, 4 -2 -2 ; 8 3. USA 123, Scott MacGregor, 1 -3 -6 ; 10

PHRF 2 (PHRF - 7 Boats)
1. Fire & Ice, George Cussins, 2 -2 -2 ; 6
2. J-Hawk, David Arata, 4 -3.5 -1 ; 8.5
3. Back Off, Tony Barrett, 1 -3.5 -4 ; 8.5

PHRF 3 (PHRF - 8 Boats)
1. Semper Fi, Raymond Mannix, 1 -1 -1 ; 3
2. Fully Involved, Steve Vincent, 4 -2 -2 ; 8
3. Meltemi, Alexander Korakis, 2 -3 -3 ; 8