Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta San Diego: Campbell and Crew Rock On To Championship

On the final day of the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta San Diego, Argyle Campbell’s team on Rock On, worked the fleet and the math to ensure they held their lead from the previous day. Winning the class netted them the overall title as well.
Argyle Campbell’s crew on the Etchells “Rock On” won the NOOD regatta, the overall title, and a custom-made quilt made in memory of local sailor Bill Bennett. Mark Albertaz

Etchells sailor Argyle Campbell won the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta overall title today in San Diego, winning his fleet by a narrow margin and being selected among the regatta’s other class winners to represent San Diego at the NOOD Caribbean Championship in the British Virgin Islands in October.

Campbell (Newport Beach, Calif.) previously won the overall title in 2017 in his first NOOD sailing the Etchells class. This year, he returned with crewmembers Jesse Kirkland, Chuck Easton and Alex Curtiss to top the 19-boat fleet.

“It was a great weekend out on the ocean,” said Curtiss, trimmer on Rock On. “We did a good job of seeing the landmines [windless areas] on the course, and positioning ourselves on the good side. Our motto was to keep it groovy and keep a good vibe going so good things could happen.


“It would be an amazing chance to go down to the BVIs and represent our fleet.”

Pete Melvin, onboard his new F18 Covid 18, mastered the South Bay’s shifty wind conditions to earn the F18 catamaran class win with his 26-year-old son James as crew. “We had a bit of everything throughout the weekend — from two to 20-plus knots,” said Melvin.

The F18s used Friday as an unofficial race day, and Melvin said it was probably the fastest he’s ever gone on an F18, which is saying something for the multiple world champion catamaran sailor and F18 boat designer. “James and I were double trapping downwind, which really worked for us especially in the flat water [typically only the crew uses the trapeze downwind]. It was a lot fun; we were really hauling.”


Throughout the weekend’s full range of conditions, Melvin consistently posted first and second places. He attributes their success to being aware of conditions on the race course. “We had good boatspeed and that always helps, but I think the biggest gains and losses were made on puffs and shifts and going the right way. It definitely wasn’t straightforward; we had our good and bad moments.”

The best-friend team of Alice Schmid (15) and skipper Samantha Gardner (16) overtook their training partners today to earn first place in the 29er fleet. “We’re really excited; it felt so good to have the girls out front,” said Schmid.

Over the past year, the local teams of Gardner and Schmid have trained with the other two podium teams, Ian and Noah Nyenhuis (second place), and Alice’s younger brother Anton Schmid and Peter Joslin.


Schmid said today’s light air and flat-water conditions in the South Bay played to their strengths. “We practiced a lot in those conditions and felt really fast today; we just kind of sailed away from the group.”

Their discipline to manage the tricky conditions also paid off. “Our game plan today was to get off the line well and know where we wanted to go,” Schmid said. “From there we’d play individual shifts and focus on leading the fleet. We were conservative, but also made sure we went where we wanted to go.”

Bill Ramacciotti and Mike Davies J/24 Greenback Boogie also leapfrogged into first place today thanks to two first-place finishes and one second. “We had super close racing all weekend among our fleet,” said Ramacciotti. “It was so much fun to see us finishing these races within seconds of each other.”


Four of the five J/24s are local to San Diego, and Ramacciotti and Davies have a concerted effort underway to build the class. “We’re not big budget programs and our goal is to keep it accessible and get more people out sailing,” said Ramacciotti. “We are all weekend warriors so to speak with different years of experience and these boats provide the vehicle to help us all continue learning.

They also agreed that the winning strategy today was picking sides. “Calling the line and committing to one side or another was crucial, Ramacciotti said, “but when you sail in San Diego with shifty winds, it really comes down to boatspeed and crew work.”

Final results click here.

With the conclusion of the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta San Diego, the series moves to St. Petersburg, Florida, in April, then onto Annapolis in May, Chicago in June and Marblehead in July.