On Saturday, March 15, you might see a sailor riding a bike right up to the J/105 Viggen as it docks out. Joe Dagostino, the owner of the San Diego YC-based boat, is an avid cyclist—and the peak time for racing is in the spring. Fortunately, he’s got enough time to squeeze in a training ride in the morning before the first-ever North Sails Rally Race at the Sperry Top-Sider San Diego NOOD, which will be a one-day, random-leg, PHRF-scored race.
“Normally we wouldn’t have sailed the NOOD, so this got us into it,” says Tom Fisher, Dagostino’s J/105 partner and racing skipper. “We actually love the non-windward/leeward courses around San Diego Bay. San Diego Bay’s topography is really cool. There’s a lot of current and a lot of shifts. It’s really interesting racing.”
Viggen will have its full racing crew onboard, and the race will serve as a tune-up for the season, particularly for San Diego YC’s Yachting Cup, held in early May. “This is a great race to go out and practice for the regattas we’re tuning up for later,” says Fisher.
Fisher heard about the race through a promotion on Scuttlebutt from editor Craig Leweck, who offered to pay the entry fee for the first five people to contact him. “What’s great about the Rally Race is it not only includes a group of racers previously excluded from the NOOD, but it also offers something different for them,” says Leweck.
“Courses offering a variety of wind angles makes us think in new ways, and when the course includes land features, it can really stretch the brain,” Leweck adds. “While regattas should be won by the best teams, the windward/leeward course favors them, so by mixing it up, I hope it inspires some of the casual racers to participate.”
One of the goals of the event, according to race organizers, is to include a wider range of participants, like new-to-racing sailors, families, and sailors with custom boats that don’t fit within the one-design concept of the NOOD.
It’s already inspired some who wouldn’t normally be able to sail the NOOD, like Dagostino’s team, to get out on the water. Fisher’s tuned into the weather for next weekend and is gearing up for the race. “If a spring storm comes through, you can still race inside the bay–it’s more sheltered” he says. “You’ve got kind of flat water, and you can power up without the threat of big waves. We like that. For a spring race, it’s a good way to go.”
In addition to the Rally class, the three-day Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta will feature one-design fleets and a few handicap fleets. The J/70 and Viper 640 classes will have strong showings, with 2013 San Diego NOOD Overall Winner Jim Sears returning on F.N.G. in the Viper 640 class.
For more information on the North Sails Rally Race, click here
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