Annapolis NOOD Regatta Preview
Posted on May 5, 2017
(Annapolis, MD)- The cherry blossoms have been blooming like mad in the greater Washington, DC area. No question, spring has sprung all around the Chesapeake Bay with fields of flowers exploding in color everywhere and sailors are energetically getting ready for the “mother of all regattas” on the Bay, the Annapolis Yacht Club’s signature spring-time event, the HELLY HANSEN Annapolis NOOD Regatta. The experienced volunteers at AYC gather together their colleagues at Eastport YC, the Severn Sailing Association and friends of the US Naval Academy, to host one of the more entertaining regattas of the year. Great sailing it is most times, but the social element of getting together with sailing mates from across the eastern seaboard in, and of itself, is a major draw for most sailors. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to come up with two better regattas to attend in succession than Charleston Race Week and Annapolis NOOD two weeks later! For sure, the time in between for many crews is a time for R&R from “sailing regattas”!
Answering the siren song (or, is it the “call of the wild”??) are 219 boats across a dozen fleets, with teams arriving from California, Texas, the Midwest and all over the East coast. Amazingly, 158 J/crews will be on hand (72% of the fleet!) to contest for many coveted prizes; the eight J/classes represented include J/22s, J/24s, J/70s, J/80s, J/30s J/35s, J/105s, J/111s, and a J/42 in the PHRF North Sails Rally class.
It appears the enormous contingent of J/22s on the Bay will have several top-notch crews from Texas, New York and the Midwest to join in on the fun. Thirty boats are expected on the starting line. The locals hope that crews like Jeff Todd’s HOT TODDY, Chris Wilson’s LIL PUFFY, Zeke Horowitz’s UNCLE FLUFFY, and others can carry the flag on to the podium for Bay sailors. A formidable group of marauders from afar will be doing their best to steal all the silver, including past World Champion Terry Flynn on TEJAS from Houston, TX; Chris Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1 from Youngstown YC in New York; Johan Koppernaes’s RAISED J from Nepean Sailing Club in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; and Chris Princing’s EVIL DR PORK CHOP/ AWARD & SPORTS from Tawas Bay YC in Michigan.
The eight boat J/24 class will see local hero Tony Parker (the Portland, Maine transplant) sailing BANGOR PACKET in the hopes of holding off teams like Matt Goushy’s GLADIATOR from Atlantic Highlands, NJ; Pat Fitzgerald’s RUSH HOUR from Baltimore, MD; and Pete Kassal’s SPACEMAN SPIFF from Eastport YC.
Perhaps the biggest, eye-opening development in this year’s event is the significant resurgence of the J/30 class- fourteen (14!) boats are ready to fly into battle to be crowned King of the Chesapeake! Veteran teams are back in the mix, like Bob Rutsch’s BEPOP, Tom Watson’s AVITA, Steve Buzbee’s BLUE MEANIE, Pam Morris’ BUMP, and they are joined by enthusiastic teams from across the spectrum of Bay area watering holes. Three couple’s boats are sailing- Tristan & Sheila Keen’s INFECTIOUS SMILE, Rob & Beth Lundahl’s RAG DOLL, and Doug & Amy Stryker’s TOTALED MAYHEM. Plus, another woman owner has joined the ranks, Linda Wojcik’s GUNSMOKE from Eastport YC. It should be fun sailing for this class!
Another J/classic is the famous masthead J/35 offshore machine. With it’s massive masthead # 1 genoas, it can move even in the lightest airs on the Chesapeake Bay. A solid half-dozen teams will be hitting the starting line hard, including past winners of the regatta. Look for AUNT JEAN’s duo- Jim Sagerholm & Jerry Christofel- to go for a three-peat, or four-peat(?) win. Planning on preventing that are good friends like Joe Perry’s JEM, Chuck Kohlerman’s MEDICINE MAN and Bruce Artman’s T-BONE.
As has been the case for the past three years, the J/70 class will be the largest in the regatta, with forty-four teams registered. Interestingly, there are many top J/70 teams making their first appearance for the year in this event, including crews like Peter McChesney’s 3 MEN IN A BOAT, Mark Hillman’s SIX, Tom Lord’s CARLOS, Taz Coffey’s DANGER MOUSE, Todd Sackett’s FM, Larry Ray’s J-RAY, Bill Jorch’s MOXIE, Heather Gregg & Joe Bardenheier’s MUSE (the first J/70 North American Champion), and Peter Bowe’s TEA DANCE SNAKE. They will be up against a number of boats that have been sailing most of the winter/spring events, like Doug Strebel’s BLACK RIVER RACING, Al Terhune’s DAZZLER, Jenn & Ray Wulff’s JOINT CUSTODY, Bruce Golison’s MIDLIFE CRISIS, Marty Kullman’s NEW WAVE, Oivind Lorentzen’s NINE, Tom Bowen’s REACH AROUND, Brian Keane’s SAVASANA, Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE, Will Welles’ SCAMP and Henry Filter’s WILD CHILD.
After Charleston Race Week, the J/80 fleet has doubled-down on Annapolis, and a talent-laden group of two-dozen J/80s will chase down what might be considered the Atlantic Coast championship for them. Past Champion Tom Klok (with Will & Marie Crump) is sailing GULDFAXE and they will be challenged hard by Bay area talent like John White’s USA 1162, David Andril’s VAYU, Alex Kraus’ COOL J, Jim Praley’s GROMIT, Mike Hobson’s MELTEMI, and Vince Kalish’s WHITE LIGHTNIN’. Winning the long-distance award and hoping to also land on the podium is an experienced J/80 racer, Gary Panariello’s COURAGEOUS from Sausalito YC in Sausalito, CA.
The nearly two-dozen boats sailing in the J/105 class represent veterans, past winners of the event, and several new faces in the crowd. In the old guard department are teams like Andy Kennedy’s BAT IV, Jim Macdonald’s DISTANT PASSION from Bermuda, Jim Rathbun’s HEY JUDE from Toronto, Canada, Mike Mountford’s LIVE EDGE, Don Santa’s SANTAS REIGN DEAR, Carl & Scott Gitchell’s TENACIOUS and Mark Masur’s TWO FEATHERS. That group is basically comprised of a cast of characters and wily foxes that have crews that could be central casting right out the “Pirates of the Caribbean”- avast! Be forewarned, do not have too many Mt Gay rums with them, you will get in trouble in some way or another! The two newer crews include Ben duPont’s CTRL ALT DEL from Rockland, DE and Jane Millman’s HELLY HANSEN JUNIOR TEAM from Annapolis YC.
Finally, the relatively “new kid on the block” as a class are the J/111’s (other than the 70s). A most excellent fleet has assembled as the owners have rallied after traveling to points south during the winter for offshore events and Key West Race Week. A talented fleet it is, loaded with Key West Champions, Chesapeake Bay Champions, Rolex Big Boat Champions, Block Island Race Week Champions and what not. The form on this group of nine teams is a bit tough, especially since most boats have won events in their local/ regional circuits. Nevertheless, after winning Key West twice and taking 2nd in the 2016 J/111 Worlds, the betting is that Peter Wagner’s SKELETON KEY from St Francis YC in San Francisco, CA will be even odds, at best. Just a few ticks above their team from the odds-maker’s perspective will be a handful of crews, like Sedge Ward’s BRAVO, Dave McCreight’s DARK HORSE, Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF, Marty Roesch’s VELOCITY, and Doug Curtiss’ WICKED 2.0. Then again, Jim Whited’s BAD CAT, Jeff Davis’ SHAMROCK or Jim Connelly’s SLUSH FUND could all clean out the podium- all have won races! If there is a range of weather conditions, watch this space, this will be an entertaining fleet to monitor as each boat has their favorite weather.
Last but not least, hoping to trounce all comers in the North Sails Race Rally in the Cruisers division will be Paul Mikulski’s J/42 FULL CIRCLE from Annapolis YC- it is a Saturday-only pursuit-style race around a random-leg course in northern Chesapeake Bay. For more Helly Hansen Annapolis NOOD Regatta sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.