Despite a shortened day of racing due to afternoon storm conditions on Saturday, fleet rivalries are stoked at the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Annapolis. The event’s 10 fleets completed either two or three additional races in moderate breeze and drizzle, setting the stage for an earlier start tomorrow for the final day of racing.
In the nine-boat J/80 fleet, the top spot is at play between longtime friends and competitors, Will Crump (R80) and John White (USA 1162). In today’s two races, their teams traded off first and second places, with Crump retaining his 5-point lead on first place overall.
“It’s not unusual for us to be duking it out in a regatta,” Crump said. “We have a great friendship and rivalry between the boats, so it’s really fun to be there. The level of competition on the course is interesting—all the other boats are constantly challenging us, and it is really great racing.”
Crump plans to do what it takes to finish strong for Sunday’s final races. “In the overall tally I think we’ve beaten him [White] more than he’s beaten us, but you never know. To stay on top tomorrow, if we have to, we’ll get after John and his team right away in the starting sequence,” he said with a laugh.
Applying a more conservative racing strategy thus far, Doug Stryker and his teammates on the J/30 TOTALed Mayhem plan to continue playing it safe for the final day, especially to stave off Bruce Irvin aboard Shamrock, who has been challenging hard and sits 5 points behind in second place. For its performance today, Irvin’s Shamrock was selected as the North Sails Local Boat of the Day.
This year, J/30 teams are also racing for their East Coast Championship title. After six races, Stryker’s squad has racked up five second-place and one first place finish, and he hopes that consistency will be enough.
According to Stryker, Shamrock is “the boat to beat this year,” he said. “They’ve really improved over the past few years and we’ve been trading off the lead almost every leg it seems. Our goal is to play it safe; not bang any corners or take any flyers. We just want to hold on to the lead and come out on top.”
After winning two races today on the J/22 course, Jeff Todd’s Hot Toddy is now leading the six-boat fleet on a tiebreaker over a team of Naval Academy midshipmen, at 9 points apiece.
“We had a bit more pressure [wind] than yesterday, but it was still very shifty out there, especially racing near the Severn River,” Todd said. ” I’m glad we were able to get two races in before the afternoon storms. You never know what you’ll get sailing in Annapolis in August, and we’ve been really fortunate to have good racing so far.”
Todd expects more breeze tomorrow morning, and will employ a defensive strategy over the young collegiate sailors. “We plan to focus on our boatspeed, keep things going and keep ourselves between the Navy boat and the mark as much as we can.”
Regardless of speed, tight racing carries through across many of the fleets, including the six-boat Alberg 30 classics. Class leader, Tim Williams, likens sailing the heavy keel boats to “Racing tortoises.”
“It’s a great class, but moving 9,000 pounds of boat, it’s exhausting but still exciting,” he said.
He should know. Williams has raced Alberg 30s—specifically LinGin—since the age of nine, when his grandfather bought the boat in 1972. Over the past 45 years, LinGin has been a fixture in his family and they’ve been racing together on the Chesapeake.
After finishing today’s two races with first- and fourth-place finishes, Williams and LinGin remain on top of the Alberg fleet, although Laughing Gull has them matched at 14 points.
“Alberg is not like a lot of classes where crew numbers and weight matter so much,” Williams said. “This is a raceboat that we can bring new sailors along and hang out with us and experience racing, without it having an impact on performance.”
Racing will begin earlier Sunday, with a 10 a.m. start scheduled for the 79 teams competing. Results and race documents are at 2020 Helly Hansen NOOD Annapolis Results