Record fleet for St Pete Regatta Series
Published on February 16th, 2022
The 2022 Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series opens February 18-20 with 215 sailboats registered and more than 2,000 sailors in St. Petersburg, FL. Formerly known as the St. Petersburg NOOD, teams from 26 states and two countries will compete across 17 divisions in what will be the largest fleet yet in the regatta’s 34-year history.
In 2022, two new classes will join the regatta for the first time: the single-person Weta trimarans and the sporty new L30 class. Additionally, the regatta serves as the Midwinter Championships for the Hobie 33 and S2 7.9 classes.
A new initiative introduced at the regatta will have more than 30 teams vying for a “Mixed-Plus” Trophy. The inclusive initiative, led by Willem van Waay, a world champion professional sailor, and the Sailing World Regatta Series, was created to encourage boat owners to include more top-level women sailors on their teams.
The concept has already proven successful. Of the 31 J/70s registered, 15 teams will include at least a 50/50 male-female ratio and qualify for the new trophy. “The interest and the talent is definitely there,” van Waay says. “Now we need to provide the opportunities to get women in the key positions on board.”
Once again the largest fleet at the regatta is the high-tech single-person A-Class Catamaran class, which has two divisions—Foiling and Classic—consisting of 16 and 22 boats, respectively. The classics are traditional catamarans while the foilers ‘fly’ above the water, suspended on hydrofoils.
A-Class competitors and the Weta trimarans will launch daily from Flora Wylie Park, north of the New Pier, and among them will be Olympic hopefuls and world-caliber sailors with their state-of-the-art multihulls on display before and after racing each day.
On February 19, the North Sails Rally Race will host three divisions in a 10- to 20-mile course around Tampa Bay.
At the conclusion of the regatta, one class-winning competitor will be chosen to compete in the Helly Hansen Sailing World Caribbean Championship in October in the British Virgin Islands.
Formerly known as the NOOD, the National Offshore One Design series was founded in 1988 and continues in 2022 at five 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
Source: Laura Muma, Sailing World