The complete Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta San Diego roster took to the waters off San Diego today for a mix of fleet and distance racing, including the inaugural North Sails Doublehanded Distance Race.
A new element to the NOOD Regatta series, the doublehanded race sent nine two-person teams on boats ranging from 28- to 48-feet around a 30-mile long course spanning San Diego Bay and offshore near Point Loma, rounding virtual and navigational marks.
Tim Forderer and his teammate Christopher Dalton, on HolyToledo West, earned the top spot. HolyToledo West was one of four Hobie 33s in the fleet. The Hobie 33s have long been a favorite boat for distance racing, and Forderer has sailed the lightweight, planing sportboat since he stepped on board Hull No. 1—named Holy Toledo—in the 1980s. Forderer now owns HolyToledo West, which is hull No. 3. “It’s super sentimental for me to race this boat,” he says.”
He credits COVID restrictions for elevating his appreciation for the boat, having spent much of last year singlehanding it around the San Diego area. He teamed up with Dalton for today’s distance race and the two had an “absolute blast, even if conditions didn’t quite live up to the boat’s potential.”
Kyle Vanderspek, on the Hobie 33 Aloha, also enjoyed the new doublehanded format. “We had a good start, and the lighter conditions gave us a chance to get in the groove of doublehanded sailing, which we don’t do a lot of here in SoCal,” said Vanderspek, who finished third overall.
“Upwind, we struggled a bit, and we watched HolyToledo West extend their lead on the rest of the Hobies,” Vanderspek said. “Then, they even overtook the Santa Cruz 37, which was great to see. Overall, it was a sunny day, nice and relaxing. What more can you ask for?”
The Ocean Course hosted the Etchells, J/105s, Beneteau 36.7s and 40.7s for three races in four to 10 knots of wind, with the added challenge of an unexpected large ocean swell.
Argyle Campbell and his Rock On team are currently leading the 19-boat Etchells fleet. According to Campbell, racing on the same course with the larger 40-foot boats of the other fleets presents yet another challenge for the smaller Etchells, for better or worse. “You can hear some of the other teams grousing a bit about sailing with the larger boats — and I could even hear it on board our boat a little bit,” Campbell said.
“That is, until the last race when we were in third place, and the first two boats got blanketed by a 40.7. We sailed right by them to win the race, and all the grousing on board our boat just kind of stopped,” he said with a laugh.
A familiar name topping the Beneteau 36.7 scoreboard is local champion Chick Pyle and the Kea crew, which began the regatta with three first places today. Pyle has been racing Beneteau 36.7s for almost 20 years, and he attributes Kea’s success to its longtime, loyal and talented crew, who essentially help “drag him around the course.”
He also enjoyed welcoming a new crew on board—former America’s Cup sailor and current San Diego YC Commodore Bill Campbell—who Pyle calls a special guest star tactician.
On the South Bay circle, the J/24s joined the International 14s, Viper 640s and 29ers and F18 catamarans. Longtime catamaran sailor and boat designer Pete Melvin quickly established his lead in the F18s, sailing with his son James.
In the five-strong J/24 fleet, four San Diego teams welcomed first-time NOOD competitor Brian Dolan and his Calamity team from Tucson, Ariz. Dolan currently sits in third place behind leaders Christian Seidel on Cygnet 2, and William Ramacciotti on Greenback Boogie, in first and second place respectively.
The Vipers, International 14s and 29ers have now completed between six to eight races, with Geoff Faudy’s Boomslang, Kris Bundy’s I-14 and Ian Nyenhuis’s 994 continuing to lead their respective fleets.
Racing concludes tomorrow and the overall winner will be selected to represent San Diego at the Helly Hansen NOOD Caribbean Championship.