We’re in the heart of Sperry Top-Sider NOOD season, race fans. Coming off a rocking regatta in Motown, the NOOD tour blows into the Windy City this weekend, where the competition on Lake Michigan promises to be as fierce as the ‘lectric guitar licks at the Chicago Blues Festial. Here are some classes to watch at the 2011 Sperry Top-Sider Chicago NOOD, which will feature more than 150 boats competing in 15 divisions.
**Last year, Peter Wright’s Maggie Mae team won five of six races to win the Beneteau 36.7 class. I don’t expect the going will be so easy this year, as Maggie Mae will have to contend with the crews of Chris Duhon’s Tequila Mockingbird and Robert Foley’s Tried & True, both of which finished in the Top 5 at last fall’s North American championship in Annapolis, Md.
**There are plenty of scores to settle in the 33-boat Tartan Ten class, the event’s largest. Last year, Martin Plonus and the Tango team edged out Steve Karstrand and Bob Warnecke’s Lightning, who will be looking to have the last dance this time around. Meanwhile, Leif Sigmund and the crew of Norboy should be carrying some momentum from their Top 5 finish at the 2010 North Americans.
**Long Distance Race
**I’m excited to be joining Julian “Skip” Schink and the crew of the Beneteau 36.7 Endeavor—along with at least 15 other teams—in the inaugural Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Distance Race. We’ll line up on Saturday morning for a 30-mile jaunt. The views of the Chicago skyline ought to be reason enough for going.