Pushing the Envelope

Chicago's National Offshore One-Design Regatta is the oldest of all the regattas in the Lands' End NOOD series; this weekend's event is the 17th running of the multi-class level and one-design event.

The Chicago NOOD has often been the year's biggest NOOD, and for 2005 the host Chicago YC has gone all out not only to add classes but also to improve the racing for an entry list that's grown to nearly 275. (Late entries were still being accepted Thursday afternoon.) For the first time, a fourth racing circle has been established, to the north on the Lake Michigan waterfront, off Belmont Harbor, where CYC has a second clubhouse. Locally based fleets of Etchells, Stars, and Shields will be joined there by Melges 24s and J/24s. "We wanted to reduce the number of classes on each circle," said Rear Commodore Glen Gustafson. "Instead of seven classes on a circle, we've reduced it to five or six." After a year off, the Great Lakes 70 sled class is back and will race on the "A" circle with PHRF 1 and 2 and the Farr 40 and 395 classes. Regatta chair Alan McMillan said that to keep the sleds and the other boats separated, an extra-long weather leg will be set for the sleds. At the end of the downwind legs, rather than using the leeward gate marks the other classes will use, the sleds will round a leeward mark farther downwind and offset from the gates. According to Gustafson, the club has also made a concerted effort to recruit new race committee and provide refresher training courses. Three different grades of RC seminars were held during the spring, attended by over 100 people. In addition, each of the four courses will be worked by two PROs, in some cases combining local and out-of-town talent. So the fleet is in, the committee is ready, the weather is fine, and Friday's wind is forecast from the north. Let the games begin.