Romance and racing at St. Pete NOOD
Published on February 12th, 2020
The season opener for the 2020 Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design Regatta Series – the largest national sailboat racing circuit in the United States – is set to commence February 14-16 on Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg, FL.
The Valentine’s Day weekend weather forecast is promising to deliver perfect Florida conditions for the sailors representing 27 states and three countries: seasonal temperatures, sunshine and a mix of breezy and moderate winds will challenge the 17 different classes of sailboats racing in either one-design (identical) or PHRF (handicapped). A distance race across Tampa Bay will be held for select classes on the middle day only.
One class with a strong cross-continental representation is the A-Class Catamaran. The 18-foot carbon single-person boat is the largest fleet this year at 42 entries, almost evenly split between the modern ‘foiling’ and ‘classic’ sub-divisions.
Local Emmanuel Cerf, known as the A-Cat ambassador, said St. Petersburg has become a hotbed of A-Cat activity. “The NOOD Regatta is first in line of three major events for us this year on Tampa Bay,” he said. “St. Petersburg will also host more than 150 A-Cats this October for the A-Class North American and World Championships.”
Travis Odenbach, of Pittsfield, NY, returns to defend his J/70 class win, but also another chance to represent St. Petersburg at the series’ season championship invitational, the Helly Hansen Caribbean NOOD Championship Regatta, hosted by Sunsail in the British Virgin Islands in October.
Odenbach, a professional sailor, has competed in the previous six NOODs and considers the February event a great chance to mix sailing business with pleasure. His goal is twofold: gain valuable training for the J/70 World Championship later this summer in California, as well as enjoy a warm-weather family vacation.
“Coming here is a win-win for great sailing and family time. You can’t beat the combo,” he said.
The St. Petersburg NOOD is also a favorite event for Tampa resident Chip Merlin. “The multiple courses give you that ‘regatta within a regatta’ feeling when sailing, but we get to hang out with all the other fleets at the party after. It’s a great chance to see so many sailing friends in one place,” Merlin said.
Merlin, a frequent ocean race competitor with his Bill Lee-designed 68-foot Merlin, will stay local for the NOOD, competing in PHRF with his Leif Bailey-designed B-32 Chip’s All In. This will be his first NOOD racing this boat in PHRF and he’s looking forward to the great competition from teams like Alpha Dog, Warrior and Wasabi, as they also use the NOOD points toward a regional Boat of the Year series.
As part of Helly Hansen’s commitment to the sport, the company will also continue to sponsor two teams of local teens, competing as the Helly Hansen Junior Crew at each stop this year.
Operating since 1988, Sailing World’s National Offshore One Design Regattas, known as the “NOODs,” are the longest-running and most popular sailboat racing series in North America. Every NOOD regatta attracts regional, national and international talent to compete against the local community on their home waters.
Source: Laura Muma/NOOD
The 32nd edition of the National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta Series returns to the same five venues across the USA in 2020 before it sets offshore again for the Caribbean NOOD Championship in the British Virgin Islands.
St. Petersburg, FL
February 14 – 16, 2020
St. Petersburg Yacht Club
San Diego, CA
March 20 – 22, 2020
San Diego Yacht Club
Coronado Yacht Club
May 15 – 17, 2020
Annapolis Yacht Club
June 12 – 14, 2020
Chicago Yacht Club
July 23 – 26, 2020
Corinthian Yacht Club
Caribbean NOOD Championship
British Virgin Islands