Please select your home edition
Edition
Seaview Studio 2020 LEADERBOARD

2021 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Chicago at Chicago Yacht Club - Day 1

by Laura Muma / Sailing World 12 Jun 06:39 BST June 11-13, 2021
2021 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Chicago © Mark Albertazzi

Courageous owners Ray Douglas and Kris Maybach jumped the gun in the opening race of the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Chicago series, drawing an over-early penalty and forcing them to re-start behind the rest of their eight-boat J/109 fleet. They recovered quickly enough to catch the fleet right before the end of the race. "Six or seven boats converged right at the finish line," says Courageous's spinnaker trimmer Aldo Caronia. "It was so close that the race committee declared a first-place tie between us and Slapshot II (a J/109 owned and driven by Scott Sims).

"From dead last at the start of the race to finishing with a split-first place—it's a big win for our team," Caronia says.

Courageous is currently in second place overall behind Smee Again, owned by George Miz, Peter Dreher and David Neenan, of Chicago. "Smee Again is definitely fast and very strong," says Caronia, "But everything is up for grabs and it's going to be a nice fight for tomorrow."

Nearly 150 competitors enjoyed the first of three days of the Chicago NOOD, which is taking place across four racing circles set within sight of the Chicago skyline. Racing will continue throughout the weekend with winds expected to be light and challenging for the sailors.

According to Richard Stearns, who is leading the J/105 fleet on Glider with a first- and second-place finish, even though conditions were lighter than he prefers, he was excited to be sailing and racing again with friends.

"I've sailed with everyone before, but it's the first time they've all sailed together. We have a great mix on board," says Stearns. "Today the breeze wasn't that shifty; just suddenly you had some wind, or you didn't. It's wonderful to get back on the water with friends."

For a team that hasn't raced in two years, it only took a couple of practice jibes on the way out to the racecourse for the Beneteau 40.7 La Tempete to fall right back into step according to owner/driver Thomas Weber. "Our crew has been together for so long, everybody just knows what to do," says Weber.

Weber, a previous overall Chicago NOOD winner, says the Chicago fleet of Beneteau 40.7s is more than a fleet, it's a sailing family both literally and figuratively. "We've all been together for so many years, it's like a family of sailors. Many of us have family members on board like me."

La Tempete is leading the seven-boat fleet with a third, first and second today, and Weber says their racing strategy is usually more about sailing in clear air than playing the wind shifts. "But we learned in the first race about the persistent right shift, and then played the right side the rest of the day."

In the J/88 fleet, the top-four boats are only separated by three points, with Dave Tufts and Mike Wilde's Gaucho leading. The team, from Rochester, New York, posted two first places and a fifth place today.

Wilde attributes much of their performance to great boatspeed. "We had three solid starts today and worked the slow but persistent right shift in the first race," Wilde says. "In the second race, we felt like there was more pressure on the left and split from the fleet on the first leg, but it just didn't pay off and we ended in fifth. It was nice to come back and finish the last race with a win."

In recent years, the J/88 fleet has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity spurred by former dinghy sailors, especially here in Chicago where at least three younger sailors now own J/88s. "Five years ago we were struggling to even have a J/88 fleet at the NOOD," says Andy Graff, the Chicago J/88 fleet captain and owner/driver of the second-place boat Exile. "Now we are one of the most competitive fleets."

Wilde compares the J/88 to an oversized dinghy, saying, "It's a blast to sail. A high-performance sportboat, but it's still dinghy-like enough where you need to roll tack and jibe, and you don't need to have professionals on board to do well. It's the closest thing you can get to a Melges 32 without being a monster."

Racing continues tomorrow morning and continues through Sunday, when an overall winner will be decided and advance to the NOOD's season championship in the British Virgin Islands in October.

For comprehensive results, visit www.yachtscoring.com.

Related Articles

2021 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Chicago overall
One final race at Chicago NOOD; Team Mojo wins big Team Mojo, the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Chicago's overall winning team, took its lumps early in the regatta but ultimately won the seven-boat Beneteau First 40.7 class and the overall title. Posted on 14 Jun
2021 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Chicago day 2
Racing ahead of the thunderstorm World-champion sailor Andy Horton, said that no one on their Great Lakes 52 team believed the forecasted afternoon thunderstorm would materialize but when it did, he agreed ending racing early for the day was the right call. Posted on 13 Jun
Stage is set for Chicago NOOD
150 sailboats arrive to compete in the Chicago stop of the nation's largest regatta series The colorful battle flags and race boats are filling the docks outside Chicago Yacht Club's Monroe Harbor station as more than 150 sailboats arrive to compete in the Chicago stop of the nation's largest and longest-running regatta series Posted on 11 Jun
Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta St. Petersburg overall
Gary Schwarting's Melges 24 Obsession wins the overall title Long-time Melges 24 sailor Gary Schwarting believes he had some help from above this weekend to win the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta overall title today in St. Petersburg. Posted on 5 Apr
Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta St. Petersburg day 2
St. Petersburg delivers another stellar day of sailboat racing Between catamaran sailboats flying by the St. Pete Pier and doublehanded teams taking off around Tampa Bay for the North Sails Doublehanded Distance Race, St. Petersburg delivered another stellar day of sailboat racing. Posted on 4 Apr
Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta St. Petersburg day 1
Gusty conditions test racers on St. Petersburg Regatta's opening day While a late-season cold front passed over Tampa Bay for an unexpectedly chilly start for the 120 teams competing on the first day of the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta St. Petersburg Posted on 3 Apr
National Sailing Series draws top racing teams
Two new dinghy racing fleets will debut at 33rd edition of Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta St. Petersburg Two new dinghy racing fleets will debut at this weekend's 33rd edition of the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta St. Petersburg: the new Melges 15 class and the established Thistle class, which has been active since the 1940s. Posted on 31 Mar
Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta San Diego overall
Argyle Campbell repeats as overall winner Etchells sailor Argyle Campbell won the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta overall title today in San Diego, winning his fleet by a narrow margin and being selected among the regatta's other class winners to represent San Diego at the NOOD Caribbean Championship Posted on 22 Mar
Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta San Diego day 2
Doublehanded racing and day two Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta San Diego 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. Posted on 21 Mar
Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta San Diego day 1
International 14s, Vipers, and 29er fleets buzz the bay The high-performance International 14s, Vipers, and 29er sailboat fleets buzzed around San Diego's South Bay today to officially kick off the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta San Diego, the opening event for North America's largest regatta series. Posted on 20 Mar