The Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design Regatta kicked into full gear Saturday as 220 teams in 17 classes battled the elements on the Chesapeake Bay.
While the NOOD Regatta series has been a springtime fixture in Annapolis for nearly 20 years, this is the first time the classic Ensign class has been part of the annual event. “Chowder” skipper Bill Murphey, of Island Heights, N.J., said he’s pushing the class to become more active and visible at a national level.
“We’re trying to get the Ensign out in front of people,” said Murphey, who is leading the class after one day’s worth of races. “It’s a great, stable boat. It’s inexpensive and family friendly. We’re trying to show the class to the rest of the sailing community, and Annapolis is the place to go.”
Though wind speeds were higher than most of the Ensign crews are used to, this fleet of veteran sailors stepped up to the challenge to complete three tight races. According to Murphey, the key to his team’s success was paying close attention to the puffs and playing the right angles.
While the new Ensign fleet is relatively small at seven boats, the J/70 class, popular and modern by more than 50 years, is once again the largest of the event with 43 teams competing. Leading that class after three races is 2016 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta San Diego overall winner, Bruce Golison, and his crew on “Midlife Crisis.”
In the J/22 fleet, 2016 Helly Hansen Annapolis NOOD overall winner Terry Flynn heads into day three at the top of the class aboard “Tejas.”
Saturday also featured the North Sails Rally – two races designed to give local crews on boats of any size the opportunity to participate in a single, day-long race. First-place prizes went to skipper David Robinson and his team aboard the C&C 38 “Magic 8 Ball” and Laurent Givry’s team on “Jeroboam,” a Farr 400.
Regatta sponsor North Sails also presented a special award for the North Sails Local Boat of the Day to team “Terminally Pretty” in the Viper class. The crew, led by skipper Mary Ewenson, kept at the top of one of the day’s most competitive fleets with one first-place finish and two second-place finishes.
Final awards in all classes will be presented on Sunday at the culmination of the event. The overall winner, chosen based on the strongest finish in the most competitive class, will receive an invitation to compete against winners from the other four series stops in the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Championship, hosted by Sunsail in the British Virgin Islands in October.
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by Evily Giannopoulos