The fourth of nine events in the 2011 Sperry Top-Sider NOOD series begins this Friday in Seattle. More than 150 teams in 22 divisions will be racing on Puget Sound, and I’m looking forward to scoping out some of the Pacific Northwest’s more idiosyncratic one-design classes, like the Thunderbird and the San Juan 21.
The 31-boat Vanguard 15 fleet constitutes the regatta’s largest division. Last year, Seattle YC’s Jack Toland dominated a seven-boat fleet, winning six of eight races. Seeing how much the fleet has grown, I can only imagine Toland will have his work cut out for him defending his crown.
Last year’s overall champion, Michael Johnson, returns with his Hot Pursuit team to the 11-boat J/24 division. I had the chance to meet Johnson at last year’s NOOD Championship in the British Virgin Islands, and when we parted ways in Tortola, he mentioned he was planning to sail the J/24 World Championship this November in Buenos Aires, Argentina. If that’s still the plan, you can bet Johnson and company will be in fine form as they prepare to head south.
Where the Weta goes, David Berntsen follows. As the West Coast distributor for the pint-sized trimarans, Berntsen has been tireless in his efforts to promote the class. His was among the 7 Wetas racing at the San Diego NOOD in March, and he’ll be competing in the 5-boat fleet in Seattle this weekend. When I caught up with him at the California event, he was thrilled to have ceded second place in the standings to first-time Weta sailor Mathew Bryant. I guess that’s what it means to be the class sparkplug.
Got news from your class? Let me know in the comments section below, or email me at [email protected]. See you in Seattle!