The third and final day of the 2019 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta San Diego showcased plenty of tight racing across 12 one-design fleets. The regatta’s Ocean Course was set south of Point Loma and the two Bay Courses were set on South San Diego Bay. With light and shifty winds, racers had to stay focused throughout the challenging final day.
Tom Carruthers, of San Diego, won the 15-boat Etchells fleet in his boat, Elizabeth. Carruthers led the field going into the final race, but was called over early, forcing him to restart behind the fleet.
“We had good boatspeed all weekend, so we knew we would be able to claw back if something bad happened,” Carruthers said. “The funny thing is that between races, we talked about the importance of getting a conservative start. So, when we were called over, we were put in a tight spot.”
Sailing with tactician Jeff Madrigali and bowman Matt Reynolds, Carruthers emphasized the importance of keeping a cool head when things weren’t looking good. “Everyone stayed really calm,” Carruthers said. “We acknowledged the situation, and ground our way back to fifth.”
The team’s fifth-place finish was good enough to win the fleet, with the top-three boats separated by only three points.
In the Beneteau 36.7 fleet, a father-son duo and their teammates enjoyed a flawless score sheet, winning all six races. “This team has been together for a long time,” said Chick Pyle, of San Diego. “We have plenty of local one-design regattas throughout the year, but the NOOD is a major one for us.”
“It’s always super fun to sail with my dad,” said Pyle’s son, Nick. “This weekend always falls on his birthday, so it’s been a special tradition for five years now. He introduced me to the sport, so it’s great to come back and sail with him.”
Going into the final race of the J/105s, a 2-point margin between the top-three boats produced a winner-take-all showdown. After two races, Chuck Driscoll and his team on Juiced emerged victorious.
“This win is important to us,” said Driscoll, of San Diego. “My partner, Tom Hurlburt, and I have been sailing this regatta for twelve years, and we’ve come second many times. This was the first time we’ve been able to put it together for a win.”
The Driscoll family has a long history with the San Diego Yacht Club. “My grandfather was commodore here in 1939. My father won the Star Worlds in 1944 and was the skipper of Intrepid in the America’s Cup trials. My father also won the Lipton Cup, along with my brother and I. Our family has been involved in boating my whole life. We’ve been very fortunate.”
On the Bay Course, Jordan and Grant Janov, of Los Angeles, won the twelve-boat 29er class, the only youth class at the event and the smallest boats of the regatta. The brothers have sailed past NOODs on their father’s J/70, but lately they’ve been training in the 29er.
“It was really tight between the top-three boats,” said Jordan Janov. “We’ve been racing against each other a lot, doing local clinics and regattas. We have the 29er Midwinters West at Coronado next weekend, which is also the Youth Worlds qualifier, so we’re really excited for that.”
Alan Field’s team from Los Angeles closed out their dominant performance in the new RS21 fleet. “The boat performed spectacularly,” Field said. “We see them as a viable platform for match racing and team racing. They handle well and are really well thought out.”
Every member of Field’s crew drove the boat for a race win. “We had a great team,” Field said. “Kyle Collins from King Harbor is an up and coming star. He won the U.S. Youth J/70 Championship in St. Petersburg last November. He’s one of the kids to keep an eye on.”
Each stop of the 2019 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta series produces a challenger for the Caribbean NOOD Championship with Sunsail in the British Virgin Islands in late October. This year’s San Diego challenger is crew of Pamela Rose’s J/70, Rosebud. Sailing with Rose was Willem van Waay, who accepted the trophy on her behalf.
“I’ve had this regatta snatched away from me more times than I can remember,” said Van Waay, of Coronado, California. “Pam did a great job steering. The conditions were challenging each day, and consistency was key. We’re excited to head to the British Virgin Islands later this year and we should be competitive.”
The regatta’s final results can be found at: yachtscoring.com
The 2019 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta series continues May 3-5 in Annapolis, Maryland.