Full day at NOOD St. Petersburg
Published on February 16th, 2019
St. Petersburg, FL (February 16, 2019) – Racing got started on time this morning in beautiful conditions for the second day of racing in the Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta with most classes sailing four races in winds averaging 10 knots.
Just for today, in the PHRF fleet, one racing circle included two North Sails Rally fleets – one racer fleet with spinnakers and one cruiser fleet without – who compete in one race around Tampa Bay. A hometown team on the Dufour 34 Revenge, came out on top of the racer fleet, skippered by Lee Burstiner.
“Conditions were good for my boat today and good overall for racing,” says Burstiner. “I didn’t feel any advantage as a hometown boat – we had some kinks to work out on the race course. I did not have my regular crew today – we had some add-ons – but we still had a great day and a fun race.”
Consistency is king on the race course and king of the Melges 24 fleet today was the crew on Vixen, skippered by Alex Shafer, who finished the day with one second place and three first place finishes. Their first day of racing was not as stellar, but they found their groove today.
“We had a really good day today, but it was tough,” says Shafer. “There was some sailing from behind and we were a little rusty yesterday, the boat had not been on the water in almost a year and a half and we haven’t sailed as a group together in 10 years. We started handling ourselves a lot better today and really shifting gears and working on the rig. But it’s a tough fleet with really good sailors and every race was close.”
The Vixen crew hails from around Florida, St. Croix, and Michigan, but the stars aligned for them to come together for this event and today their crew work came together as well.
“I think we had really good boat speed and the wind conditions were changing so we were changing the rig a lot and staying on top of that,” he says. “Everyone finally found their stride today, we had our heads out of the boat and got our confidence up. When we are all working well together it just seems to happen.” Shafer is hoping for more of the same success tomorrow and to go out and sail clean and consistent.
“We tried to go for a home run on the first day and today we managed that a lot better and we stayed in the group and aimed for low percentage mistakes. Tomorrow we will see who we need to watch – it’s not a done deal – we need to keep our nose clean.”
Sitting in first place in the S2 7.9 fleet is Rebel, skippered by class president John Spierling. His crew finished the day with straight second place finishes.
“A few of us on the boat have been sailing together for nearly 30 years,” says Spierling. “Everyone knows their role on the boat and knows everyone else’s and that makes it easy for everybody – they all know what to do. Yesterday was tougher with the light wind, so more breeze today is always better for us.”
Spierling has been sailing in this class and trailering a boat the 1,300 miles down to Florida to race since 2000 making this his 18th NOOD regatta.
Another veteran crew is on the C&C 30 My Sharona, skipper George Gamble and main sheet trimmer Scott Nixon have competed many times together including winning the J/111 Worlds in 2015. After a three year break, the two have reunited on on the PHRF 1 circle this weekend.
“It’s been awesome, we have been here since Wednesday sailing and it’s been classic beautiful Tampa Bay,” Nixon says. “We came here early because this is George Gamble’s second regatta in the C&C 30 and we are still learning the boat and getting him sorted.
“We have not done much PHRF racing, so it’s a new way of thinking and adjusting to some of the big boats on the course. For the C&C 30 to do well in this fleet it needs to be light or a lot windier to get on a plane and compete against the bigger more powerful boats.
“We are learning where to position the boat on the starting line compared to the other boats. One race we started at the pin end and got run over by another large boat and that was our worst race of the weekend. The other C&C 30s that are here are also having our own little competition against one another and that’s been fun to watch out for one another on the race course.”
Racing concludes tomorrow.
2019 NOOD Event Schedule
February 15-17 – St. Petersburg, FL
March 15-19 – San Diego, CA
May 3-5 – Annapolis, MD
June 7-9 – Chicago, IL
July 25-28 – Marblehead, MA
Caribbean NOOD Championship
British Virgin Islands
*Dates subject to change
Source: Jennifer Mitchell