Busy at Annapolis NOOD

Published on May 4th, 2018

Annapolis, MD (May 4, 2018) – Warm weather, sunny skies and moderate breeze set the stage for a solid day of racing on the Chesapeake Bay for the first day of the Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta in Annapolis. All 13 classes on three racecourses completed five races to kick off the three-day event.

With 32 boats registered each, the J/22 and the J/70 fleets are tied for largest of the weekend. The J/22s have an especially competitive roster this year as competitors prepare for their world championship in Annapolis in September. The current J/22 class leader, Pete Levesque, of Tiverton, Rhode Island, said it’s still anyone’s game.

“The top five are all going fast and, even behind them, there are a bunch of people who are capable of winning races,” he said. “It’s a pretty deep fleet.”

Levesque and his crew on Dusty took a conservative approach to the day, establishing a one-point lead over Jeff Todd’s Hot Toddy, of Annapolis, after five races. Facing an “uphill current and an aggressive fleet,” Levesque wanted to get off the starting line cleanly and avoid taking risks.

“It is my first time back at it in Annapolis in a while and first time sailing in a fleet this size in a while, so I just wanted to tip-toe into it,” he said. “We’ll probably have to take more risks as the weekend goes on.”

J/70 class leader John Brim, of Palm Beach, Florida, found success was on the western edge of the course, where, in one race, he and his crew aboard Rimette found tide relief and breeze in a pivotal moment, which resulted in a five-boat recovery that he said was a big factor in his team’s overall lead.

But the strategy didn’t work in their favor on the last race of the day, when team Rimette — already several places deep in the fleet — made its move to the west and watched as the boats sailing straight down the middle of the course gained speed. They held a strong lead most of the day, but that 10th-place finish left them narrowly ahead of class stronghold Brian Keane on Savasana.

The Rimette skipper also found the variable conditions challenging, with shifty winds and a “fair amount of chop” thrown into the mix. He said his crew found it was best to keep sailing through the chop than try to sail around the unavoidable waves. He also credited a brand-new mainsail and “fantastic” trim and tactical work by his crew for team Rimette’s first-place standing at the end of day one.

The J/80 fleet’s opening day leader on Courageous, skipper Gary Panriello, of Sausalito, California, echoed Brim’s analysis of the conditions out on the racecourse.

“Every single race was different,” he said. “All the things we thought would work didn’t, so we just had to pay attention to what was going on during each race. The pressure was better on the west side of the course for most of the day, but by the end of the day, the right side worked just as well as the left. Which is really interesting in Annapolis, because it’s usually a much more one-sided [advantaged] racecourse.”

Several local skippers made the top ranks today, with Maryland-based crews leading the J/24, J/30, J/35, J/105, Farr 30 and Alberg 30 fleets. The Helly Hansen Junior Crew, a team of local high school students specially selected to compete in the regatta, are currently placed 15th of 21 in the J/80 class.

The Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design Regatta in Annapolis is scheduled for May 4 through 6.

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Source: Evily Giannopoulos Peros

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