Chicago NOOD Regatta Preview
The 2019 Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta series returns to Chicago Yacht Club with more than 130 teams competing in 13 separate fleets, beginning an action-packed summer of sailboat racing on Lake Michigan. The regatta is one of the highlights of the summer for one-design classes of J/70, J/88, J/105, J/109, J/111, and PHRF handicap racing for the North Sails Rally.
In the J/70 fleet, John Heaton (Wilmette, IL) is looking to use the Chicago NOOD Regatta to shake off the winter rust and get back to racing. The J/70 is one of the hottest classes in the world, and serves as the perfect platform for new and experienced sailors to race in large, competitive fleets. Heaton's normal crew isn't available for this event, so he's enlisted professional sail makers and world champion sailors Tim Healy and Zeke Horowitz to continue to work on his boatspeed.
"We always use the NOOD as a way to keep learning the boat," says Heaton. "There's so many good sailors in the fleet that you have to keep pushing yourself. Tim [Healy] has already taught us a lot about these boats, and we're excited to get him back on the water to keep plugging away."
J/70s sailing off ChicagoHeaton was one of the first Chicago-area owners to purchase a J/70, which debuted in 2012 and has witnessed the rapid growth of the class worldwide. "We're still building the local fleet in Chicago," says Heaton. "It's great getting the out-of-town boats coming in for a three-day event right here in our backyard. It's a very well-traveled fleet, so we're excited to get some national-level talent out on Lake Michigan."
Other top teams that will be challenging Heaton's recent success will be Steve Knoop's AMERICAN FLYER, Mark & Sarah Renz's BERTEAU GROUP, Amy Neill's NITEMARE, Leif & Laura Sigmond's NORBOY, Pam Rose's ROSEBUD, and Buddy Cribb's VICTORY.
For Len Siegal (Chicago, IL), the NOOD will serve as the start of what promises to be a busy season of racing in the J/111 fleet. "Since the NOOD comes so early in the season, it makes everyone get ready for a major one-design event right off the bat," says Siegal. "It's good for building enthusiasm early on, and for us, it will be a warm-up for the other big events this year."
Many teams from the Chicago-area J/111 fleet will also be competing in Chicago Yacht Club's Race to Mackinac in July, as well as the Verve Cup and the J/111 World Championship in August. "It's going to be a big year for us," says Siegal. "I didn't sail that much last year, so I'm looking forward to getting back into it this year. We have some new crew onboard, so it's great having a regatta like the NOOD to get everyone up to speed."
Siegal's LUCKY DUBIE team will be facing a very strong contingent of teams for the J/111 podium, such as past winners KASHMIR (Mike Mayer & Steve Henderson), Kevin Saedi & Raman Yousefi's MOMENTUS, Rich Witzel's ROWDY (winner of the COLORS Regatta last weekend), and Jeff Davis' SHAMROCK (a J/111 Midwinter Champion).
The J/88 class will have a number of hot teams vying for one-design supremacy, including Andy & Sarah Graff's EXILE (winner of the 88 class in the COLORS Regatta), Tod Patton's BLONDIE 2, Ben Marden's BANTER, and John & Jordan Leahey's DUTCH.
The J/105 class will most likely see a battle royale between a trio of boats; Clark Pellett's SEALARK, Gyt Petkus' VYTIS, and Jon Weglarz's THE ASYLUM.
With ten-boats, the J/109 class is out in force with a number of familiar names that will certainly be a factor at the top of the leaderboard. Those teams include Jim Murray's CALLISTO, Peter Priede's FULL TILT, Robert Evan's GOAT RODEO (Chicago-Mac winner), Scott Sims SLAPSHOT II, David Gustman's NORTHSTAR, and Jack & Jim Tolliver's VANDA III.
Over in the handicap world, PHRF 2 Class will see two J/35's do battle for the top spots, Rick Stage's ALPHA PUPPY and Dan Leslie's NOMATA. In the North Sails Rally PHRF Division are four J/crews; Ben Lumpkin's J/112E MARY GAIL, Frank Giampoli's J/120 JAHAZI, Rick Reed's J/35 OB LA DI, and Jay Butler's J/44 CHEEP N DEEP II. In the North Sails Rally ORR Division are three J/crews; David Hughes' J/100 BARRACUDA, Jim Gignac's J/130 SALSA, and Mitchell Weisman's J/35 FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER. For more Chicago NOOD Regatta sailing information