For nearly three decades, the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta national series kicked off in St. Petersburg, Florida, in February, but a shift in the 2021 calendar will put Southern California sailing front and center with the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta San Diego, March 19 to 21.
With experienced race management teams at co-host yacht clubs, San Diego and Coronado, competitive sailors in the region can expect top-quality races on San Diego Bay for the regatta’s smaller boats, as well as the deeper waters off Coronado for larger keelboats. As the first major regatta of the SoCal spring sailing season, the annual event will be a draw for local and visiting teams keen to freshen their skills from the long offseason of 2020.
For Helly Hansen, the regatta series’ seven-year title sponsor, the San Diego stop is a welcome beginning to the new sailing year. While the usual after-racing social events will not be held, organizers are keen to provide the best possible experience on the water.
“At Helly Hansen we make gear for professionals to feel and stay alive, and that’s also true for all the sailors of the NOOD Regattas,” says Helly Hansen Watersports Marketing Manager, Jenny Daudlin. “While 2020 was a challenging year, Helly has continued to bring along innovative new styles. There were some cool pieces in 2020 that people didn’t get to see, so we’re looking forward to reconnecting with the sailors in different ways and providing them the best gear possible to enjoy their time on the water safely.”
One trend that emerged through 2020 was the popularity of day-race formats that require fewer crewmembers. This movement is also fueled by the expectation of a two-person offshore discipline being added to the 2024 Games. In response to this rising demand for shorthanded races, NOOD Regatta organizers, in partnership with North Sails, added the North Sails Doublehanded Distance Race on Saturday, March 20. This daytime challenge will send competitors racing a variety of boats on one long course spanning San Diego Bay and offshore near Point Loma.
Rudolph Hasl, of San Diego, is one of the early registrants for the North Sails Doublehanded Race and says he’s looking forward to skippering his 48-foot raceboat around the course—with the sole assistance of his long-time bowman, Anthony Garcia.
“I’m really glad they’ve added this race to the regatta,” Hasl says. “Doing the typical windward/leeward buoy races all day can be tough on the crew—and the sails—so I like this format, as it offers plenty of excitement for me.”
Hasl, 78, raced doublehanded extensively when he lived in the Pacific Northwest, and now a full time SoCal resident, he says San Diego is just as challenging a venue to race, especially a boat the size of his J/145, Palaemon.
“We’re going to try our best to play it safely and carefully,” Hasl says, noting that he and Garcia will be using specialized sails that are easier for two people to handle. “This is the first time we’ll have doublehanded this particular boat. Anthony is a super bowman because he has his way of checking the lines are run correctly. The boat is set up in a way that I can tail halyards from the back while steering.”
Their biggest challenge, he says, may be keeping the boat’s massive spinnaker sail from ever touching the water. “We’ve sailed with it and I have a sense of what’s involved in the process and think we can control the beast,” Hasl says. “The key with doublehanded racing is just doing things deliberately.”
For decades, North Sails has supported doublehanded sailors in Europe where the passion for shorthanded sailing is unmatched. Inspired by the growth of this discipline, the U.S.-based North Sails team is tapping into the experience and expertise of class experts and designers from all over the world.
“North Sails is proud to partner with the NOOD Regattas to include a Doublehanded Distance Race in their 2021 events,” says Brian Janney, San Diego-based North Sails expert. “Doublehanded sailing challenges each team member to handle a range of jobs, opening the door to new opportunities and growing the sport. This is a great opportunity that anyone at any experience level can get involved in. We are excited to host the inaugural North Sails Doublehanded Distance Race in San Diego.”
As part of their Doublehanded Race initiative, North Sails will provide local support and expertise at all 2021 NOOD Regatta events offering the doublehanded race, as well as online resources for both new and experienced teams, which can be found at www.northsails.com
North Sails experts and sail-repair services will also be available in San Diego, serving all of the regatta’s other one-design classes, which span from the smaller International 14 and 29er dinghy classes to the Beneteau First 40.7 keelboats, a fixture of the San Diego NOOD Regatta, alongside the Beneteau 36.7s. The two Beneteau classes, as well as Etchells and J/105s, and possibly J/24s, will race on the Pacific off Point Loma. The NOOD’s Formula 18 catamarans, International 14s, Viper 640s, and 29ers will sail their races on San Diego Bay.
The final new addition to the NOOD Regatta series is the Cruising World Rally Fleet, which in San Diego will feature larger performance multihulls exclusively.