Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta: Light Start, Big Finish

Once the seabreeze fills the racing gets underway at the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in St. Petersburg

NOOD
Tampa Bay is fickle sailing arena. Some years it delivers with plenty of wind, others it leaves your head scratching. Today was one of those days.Paul Todd/Outside Images

The Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta Series kicked off its first event of the year today in St. Petersburg, Fla. Although light winds delayed racing until mid-afternoon, most of the 13 competing fleets were able to complete two races on the first day of the weekend-long event.

In the popular J/70 class, which has an impressive 32-boat fleet this year, the day ended in a tie between Minnesota-native Joel Ronning and his team on “Catapult” and Brian Keane, a past overall winner from Weston, Mass., and the “Savasana” crew. The Helly Hansen Junior Crew, comprised of five local teenagers aged 14 to 19, held their own against the pros with an 11th place ranking at the end of day one.

Last year’s St. Pete NOOD Regatta overall winner, John Spierling of Shelby, Mich., landed firmly in the lead of the S2.79 division with two first-place finishes with his crew on Rebel496.

Points are accumulated based on finishing position in each race, and the team with the fewest total points at the conclusion of the regatta wins its class. Regatta organizers then calculate an overall winner based on the strongest individual finish in the most competitive class, and that crew is invited to sail in the Helly Hansen NOOD Caribbean Championship Regatta this October in the British Virgin Islands.

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