Sperry Topsider Nood in Marblehead: Weekend Preview

What you can expect from this weekend's racing in Marblehead

This week marks the 125 Anniversary of Marblehead Race Week, and in recognition the Marblehead Sailing Hall of Fame will honor eight individuals from Marblehead who have made an impact on yacht racing. This year’s inductees include Robbie Doyle, of Doyle Sail Makers, Joan Thayer, an advocate of women’s sailing and the immediate past president of the National Women’s Sailing Association, and David Smith and Francis Scully, both Olympic medalists. Their accomplishments and information about the Hall of Fame will be on display all weekend near the registration tables under the race tent. The presentation will take place before the awards ceremony on Sunday, July 27.

Wilmington Trust is celebrating the 125 Anniversary by awarding a leader spinnaker to the winning boat of the J/105 class at the end of each race day. “We hope the leader spinnaker award will become a tradition at Marblehead Race Week,” said Will Parizeau, market leader for Wilmington Trust’s Wealth Advisory office in Boston. “Wilmington Trust is pleased to support the efforts of the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta and the Marblehead Racing Association, and wish the very best to all boats and their crews.” The overall winner of the J/105 class will be awarded the spinnaker to keep at the awards ceremony on Sunday night.

Among the oldest classes competing is the Rhodes 19, this year's largest class with 31 boats expected on the line, including six wife/husband teams. These double-handed sailors are a part of what fleet PR director Christina Pandapas calls the class that keeps going. “They’re a just-add-water type of boat,” says Pandapas, “and we’re glad that people want to be a part of the fleet.” Rhodes 19 past national champion Seamus Hourihan is also returning to the line this weekend after a brief hiatus.

The Viper class will feature 16 teams competing for their New England Championship. “Vipers consider Marblehead to be the unofficial home of the Viper fleet,” says class president Peter Beardsley. “When the class died for a bit in the early part of the millennium, it was the Marblehead guys who rallied together to save the boat and the class.”

The Marblehead NOOD serves as a qualifier to the Viper's 2015 EFG Pan American Championship, which will draw competitors from the US, U.K., Canada, Germany and Austria. Beardsley will be racing on his Viper, No. 161 Ghost Panda, with a name-matching spinnaker graphic you'll be hard pressed to miss.