Regatta Series Returns to Detroit

Bayview Yacht Club will host the 2024 Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series in Detroit with a lineup of classes new and old.
The fleets of the National Offshore One Design Regatta in 2007 showcased the big-boat classes of the time. With big boats came big crews and big parties. Sailing World/Tony Bessinger

The Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series returns to Detroit’s Bayview Yacht Club after a 12-year hiatus, partnering again with the premier Great Lakes sailing club and its annual marque multi-class regatta from May 30 to Sunday June 2, 2024.

“For three decades, Midwest sailors have held this weekend on their calendars for competitive racing on Lake St. Clair,” says Bayview YC Commodore, Mike Helm. “This year, we have a great opportunity to grow our existing successful regatta and build partnerships with Helly Hansen, Sailing World, DRYA clubs and regional enthusiasts to build on this tradition.”

The Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series was originally created in 1988 as the National Offshore One-Design Regatta Series. It was an immediate success with its three-day concept for larger one-design keelboats, its unrivaled post-racing social experiences and its professional race management. The series grew nationally and remains the largest and only racing series of its kind in the United States.

“The Detroit stop of the regatta series was always a favorite of our event team,” says Dave Reed, Sailing World’s editor-in-chief. “It was so uniquely Detroit in that the sailing season being short, the enthusiasm for the racing, the variety of boats and the parties were second to none on the circuit.”

Today, the Regatta Series now features many different boat types: dinghies, multihulls, and keelboats that race one-design and under established handicap rating systems. Daily distance racing courses have also been added to embrace this growing segment of the sport, particularly in the Great Lakes.

“The freshwater sailors of Detroit represent longevity, commitment and high-level competition in sailing,” says Sarah Renz, Sailing World’s Director of Sponsorship and Events. “We’re pleased to return to Bayview and partnering with neighboring clubs to provide excellent race management.”

With sailors and teams expected from the other popular nearby clubs of Crescent Sail, Grosse Pointe, Port Huron, Detroit, Edgewater, Toledo, Cleveland and Chicago, the Sailing World and Bayview YC teams will be staging three days of buoy and distance races, which will kick off an historic racing season in the Midwest, which features the 100th running of the Bayview to Mackinac Race, a record fleet that already surpasses 300 entries. After-race socials with the Helly Hansen crew and store, Renz says, will be on par with the Regatta Series’ unrivaled onshore experience of food and drinks, music and games, race footage and Helly Hansen merchandise.

“After-race socials with the Helly Hansen crew and store will be on par with the Regatta Series’ unrivaled onshore experience of food and drinks, music and games, race footage and Helly Hansen merchandise.”

—Sarah Renz, Director of Sponsorship and Events

The Detroit edition of the Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series weekend will feature several divisions racing on multiple racecourses set across Lake St. Clair. Racing is open to nearly two-dozen one-design fleets including the classic and popular Cal 25s and Crescents, J/24s and Lightnings. The more modern Melges 15s, foiling Waszps and J/70s are expected to draw large fleets. Short distance races will be staged on Saturday and Sunday for the handicap-racing teams, many of whom consider the regatta essential practice for the coming Mackinac race. The J/35 and Cal25 classes, both of which will showcase strong turnouts, will showcase the longevity of these iconic classes that were once the big fleets of the Detroit NOOD.

Cal 25s race on Lake St. Claire at an early 2000s edition of the NOOD Regatta. The iconic class remains a local favorite.

The Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series is held in St. Petersburg, Florida, Annapolis, Maryland, Detroit, Chicago, and Marblehead, Massachusetts, and culminates with its Caribbean Championship in the British Virgin Islands where one selected team from each of the regattas competes against the defending champion and others for the overall title, raced in provided bareboats provided by Sunsail.