NOOD blows into the Windy City
Published on June 6th, 2019
The 2019 Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta series returns to Chicago Yacht Club (Chicago, IL) on June 7-9 with more than 130 teams competing in 13 separate fleets on Lake Michigan.
Robert Hughes (Ada, MI) is looking to line up against his friendly rival, Doug DeVos (Macatawa, MI) in the TP52 class, racing on 52-foot grand-prix machines manned by professional crews. “Doug’s new boat, Windquest, happens to be a sister ship to our boat, Heartbreaker,” Hughes says. “Both boats were built in 2015 by the same builder using the same mold.”
Hughes competed in his first Chicago NOOD with DeVos in the late 1980s onboard Hughes’ J/35. “Doug will be hard to beat, but it will be fun racing,” says Hughes. “The TP52 fleet is starting to grow on the Great Lakes. I am a one-design guy at heart, so we’re really happy to have three TP52s in our fleet. It should be a good battle.”
Each event on the NOOD Regatta circuit offers individual class winners the chance to win a berth in the NOOD Caribbean Championship in the British Virgin Islands in late October. Amy Cermak (Racine, WI) is looking to repeat her win in the 20-boat Tartan 10 fleet, which earned her the Caribbean Championship berth last year.
“When you get an opportunity like that,” says Cermak, “you cannot turn it down. The Caribbean was absolutely beautiful. Each night we were in a different port on a different island. It’s one of those things you remember forever.” Cermak has raced in 30 of 31 Chicago NOOD Regattas.
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. 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 boat speed.
“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.”
Heaton 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.”
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 warmup 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.”
The 2019 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta series continues in Marblehead, Massachusetts on July 25 to 28 and concludes with the NOOD Caribbean Championship on October 27 to November 1.
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
October 27-November 1
British Virgin Islands
Source: Michael Hanson