Please select your home edition
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club LEADERBOARD

Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Chicago - Day 1: Racing cancelled due to fog

by Tony Veneziano 8 Jun 2019 06:31 BST 7-9 June 2019
Racers return to shore - The fourth event of the The Helly Hansen NOOD REGATTA SERIES hosted by Chicago Yacht Club June 7 - 9th, held on Lake Michigan. Friday, race day 1 under postponement due to very low visibility with the dense fog. © Paul Todd /

When the race committee postponed the first day of racing at the 2019 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Chicago, Nick Norris' crew was left with one choice: eat or sleep.

"We left the dock at about 8:30 so we could get an hour of practice in before racing," says Norris (Chicago, IL). As 120 boats made their way to three separate race courses two miles east of Navy Pier, a thin layer of fog hung over Lake Michigan. As boats neared their starting areas, visibility dropped to 50 feet. With uncooperative weather conditions, the Chicago Yacht Club race committee postponed racing at 11:00 AM.

"We all have different nuances when it comes to delays," Norris explains. "Some of us like to sleep, others like to stay active. I like to stay active and keep my mind in the game."

Norris has been helming the Beneteau 36.7 Split Decision for eight years, though the core crew has been sailing together for more than 30 years. "It's a really tight-knit group," says Norris. "The team is competitive so we're looking forward to getting in some racing tomorrow."

"It was one of the most unusual days of sailing I've ever had," says David Gustman (Wilmette, IL). "And I've been sailing for 50 years." Gustman sails his boat, Northstar, in the 10-boat J/109 fleet out of Chicago Yacht Club. "The key to keeping the crew focused in a situation like that is to only let them drink one beer an hour until they've cancelled racing," says Gustman. "We like to put music on to keep everyone pumped up. After that, there's not much you can do but wait."

And there was plenty of waiting Friday morning. Even with the wind averaging 8 knots, the fog lingered and the forecast was not promising. After an hour and a half delay, the race committee sent the competitors ashore at 12:30 PM.

"This kind of fog can happen in the Spring when the wind comes in from the north," says Ron Kallen (Highland Park, IL) "The lake is so cold that it's hard for the sun to burn the fog away. The water is still quite cold for this time of year, which doesn't help matters."

Kallen sails his boat M*A*S*H* in the 23-boat Tartan 10 fleet. Like other owners, keeping the crew focused is a challenge when races get delayed. "Once the race starts, it's all about concentration. There's no chatting about the movie you saw last night or anything like that. It's all about what is just in front of you."

For Michael Dannecker (Chicago, IL) in the PHRF 1 fleet, getting used to a new boat and a new style of racing is the primary goal of his Chicago NOOD Regatta. "We do a lot of one-design racing in Etchells," says Dannecker, "so getting used to the handicap system in the PHRF fleet has been a challenge for us. You need to focus on your own boatspeed more than anything else."

Dannecker and crew are gearing up for the Chicago Yacht Club's Race to Mackinac in July, using the NOOD as a training event. "We love doing the NOOD every year. The regatta is super well-run. Other than the weird weather today, we've never had a bad experience at this event."

With racing continuing throughout the weekend, Saturday will be an action-packed day for racers in all fleets. The North Sails Rally Race is set to start at 10:30 AM, with a mixed group of racer-cruisers setting out on Lake Michigan for a single race around navigational buoys.

For comprehensive results, visit

Related Articles

Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Chicago day 3
Jody Lutz comes away with the win in the RS21 fleet Morning rain and fog saw the remaining scheduled races cancelled on the third day of the 2019 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Chicago. Spirits were high, however, as competitors gathered at Chicago Yacht Club for the evening's awards party. Posted on 10 Jun 2019
Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Chicago day 2
Windquest leads 52s after four races After a fog cancellation on the first day of racing for the 2019 Helly Hansen Chicago NOOD Regatta, racers returned to the water with ideal conditions today. The PHRF 52 fleet, with four professionally-crewed grand-prix boats Posted on 9 Jun 2019
Helly Hansen NOOD Regattas at Marblehead Race Week
The annual three-day event features one-design racing The 2019 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Series, which has already contested events in St. Petersburg, Fla., San Diego, Calif., and Annapolis, Md., this year, continues in Marblehead, Mass., July 25-28. Posted on 6 Jun 2019
Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta returns to Chicago YC
Race season gets underway soon in Chicago Robert Hughes (Ada, MI) is looking to line up against his friendly rival, Doug DeVos (Macatawa, MI) in the TP52 class, racing on 52-foot grand-prix machines manned by professional crews. Posted on 28 May 2019
Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta at Annapolis overall
Local skipper John White wins J/80 Class and Championship Berth Top J/80 class skipper John White (Annapolis, MD) won three of eight races over three days, finishing the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta weekend series 21-points ahead of runner-up Daniel Wittig's Turbo Sloth. Posted on 6 May 2019
Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta at Annapolis day 2
College rivals tied atop NOOD Regatta's competitive fleet Over two days of racing at the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Annapolis, 190 teams have endured light and shifty winds on the Chesapeake Bay, with the competition especially tight in the 23-boat J/22 fleet. Posted on 5 May 2019
Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta at Annapolis day 1
Local teams claim top spots in season opener Consistency was key for skipper Matt Lalumiere (Chester, MD) in the nine-boat Etchells fleet. Lalumiere and his teammates won two races and never finished below fourth place to lead his class after the first day of three Posted on 4 May 2019
2018 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Chicago overall
J/111 Kashmir crowned at Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Chicago After three days of intense competition and challenging conditions on Lake Michigan, the Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta concluded its fourth stop of the season in Chicago on Sunday. Posted on 11 Jun 2018
2018 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Chicago day 2
Competition heats up at Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Chicago The 2018 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Chicago's second day concluded with two teams tied atop the J/70 class. With one final day of racing on the schedule, the pressure is firmly on the leaders. Posted on 10 Jun 2018
2018 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Chicago day 1
Crews overcome challenges during day one of Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Despite morning weather delays as lightning passed over Lake Michigan, crews competing in 11 classes completed two races during the first day of the annual Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design Regatta in Chicago. Posted on 9 Jun 2018