St. Petersburg NOOD to offer ORC

Published on November 17th, 2021

Known as the NOOD, the National Offshore One Design series was founded in 1988 to help foster the growing interest in racing one design keelboats. Over 30 years later, North America’s largest sailing regatta circuit continues with the 2022 schedule returning to five familiar venues:

• February 18-20 – St Petersburg, FL
• March 25-27 – San Diego, CA
• May 13-15 – Annapolis, MD
• June 10-12 – Chicago, IL
• July 28-31 – Marblehead, MA

Since its inception, the series has continued to adapt to the changing landscape of racing in the United States. For the 2022 edition of the St. Petersburg NOOD, that translates to the addition of ORC racing for the first time and the introduction of Mixed-Plus trophies.

While most of the five NOOD venues remain predominately one-design class racing, handicap fleets have been included in some fashion across all events, especially St. Petersburg, which enjoys a vibrant and highly competitive handicap scene on Tampa Bay.

For 2022, the local spinnaker fleet has switched from PHRF to ORC racing for the entirety of its 2021-’22 Suncoast Boat of the Year series, which includes the NOOD.

“PHRF has been good for the local fleet, but it does have its pitfalls,” says St. Petersburg YC’s George Pennington. “Some people are ready for a change that might be better and that’s where the ORC is coming from. We’re trying to welcome it with open arms and get competitors to come onboard.”

Also new for the St. Petersburg NOOD is the awarding of Mixed-Plus trophies, an initiative kickstarted by J/70 world champion and professional sailor Willem van Waay, of San Diego. The concept, says Van Waay, is to encourage J/70 owners to include top-level female sailors into their teams.

“In the J/70 class especially, the main trimmer/tactician spot is taken by the guy pros and those guys have always been giving the opportunities that women haven’t been given,” say Van Waay. “Because of this, these guys have learned a lot of the tricks and they’re now the stars and making great money.

“Clearly, we need to get our talented women into a keelboat or sportboat class that they can compete in, because at any J/70 or Melges 24 event you’ll see six or seven women on the scene, but there’s a hundred guys.”

The best way to force change, he says, is for there to be a class where there are unlimited pros, but “you have to have two men and two women and the owner has to drive. Then, all of a sudden, an owner who buys a boat has to find two women—not the lightest women, but the best women.”

“I’ve had so many women come up to me that want to do it, and I think it will be popular,” Van Waay adds. “Those [owners] who do this will get the top women, the right pros and be ready. They will beat the all-dude teams that just want to sail that way, and that’s what we want to happen. We want the women to do well and win. I think with that there will be some obvious results for potential change for women to get more opportunities.”

To be eligible for the J/70 class’s Mixed-Plus trophy, the crew composition may only have two adult (over age 21) males and only one adult male may be categorized as World Sailing Group 3 (professional).

The Mixed-Plus division will be scored as a sub-division of the whole fleet using the competitor’s actual scores. To further promote the Mixed-Plus concept across other St. Petersburg NOOD classes, organizers will also award top teams with 50-percent or more female crew from classes with 12 more boats.

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