Below Left: Jen Millar, Emerson Smith and Susan Toth work hard as they round a mark on the Farr 30 Gotcha. Below Right: The J/109 Storm ghosts downwind ahead of the fog.
photographs by Sara Proctor
If there were a Super Bowl of one-design racing on the Chesapeake, know which regatta it would be? That’ll be the National Offshore One-Designs, aka the NOODs. (Okay, let’s get the joke out of the way right now. “The nudes?” you say. “Well, no wonder it’s the Super Bowl! Anyone racing nude has got to be hardcore!”) No, there’s nobody sailing naked. But yes, this annual regatta is a biggy. The NOODs are held every year in early May in Annapolis, sponsored by the Annapolis Yacht Club and Sailing World magazine. The regatta (one of seven NOOD regattas across the country) regularly attracts over 200 competing boats to Annapolis. And, it being a spring race, it is usually met with blustery winds and ripping currents—exactly what you need for a good rousing regatta.
When we came across this month’s cover shot from the 2012 NOOD regatta—taken by official event photographer Sara Proctor—we couldn’t resist sharing more of her wonderful photos, and with them, an introduction to the race series itself. The word “offshore” is a relic of the regatta’s origins—25 years ago, when most of the entries were big offshore racers. Since then, the classes have evolved, and now there’s everything from big offshore bruisers down to dinghies. And of course “one-design” means simply that boats race only against boats of their own kind— J/105s against other J/105s, Etchells against Etchells, and so on. This makes for great racing, in that racers can’t blame a loss on poor boat performance or the handicap rating system. Nope, in one-design racing, it’s all about the skill of the sailors onboard.
The 2012 Annapolis NOOD regatta featured a whopping 17 classes—ranging from classic Alberg 30s and Cal 25s to a brand-new racing class, J/111s, and powerhouse Farr 30s (aka Mumm 30s). The lineup changes from year to year, often depending on what boats are hot on the racing scene. This year, for example, the brand-new J/70s will make their first showing.
As for the quality of the racing, of course it’s top-notch. It’s not uncommon to see America’s Cup veterans and Olympic sailors in the crews. And no matter the level of sailor, you can bet some will be coming from far afield. Last year’s entries featured boats from all over the country, including Seattle, Santa Barbara, Cal., Saginaw, Mich., Marblehead, Mass., and St. Paul, Minn. (which has a surprisingly large sailing community), not to mention international entries from Canada and Sweden.
Most of the sailors will be from the Chesapeake though, as the Bay is home many, many fleets of one-design boats. And the NOOD regatta is a great opportunity for southern Bay fleets to get mix it up with their northern counterparts. Taking advantage of the wide interest in the regatta, classes will sometimes hold championship events within the NOOD. For example, last year’s event was also used as the Farr 30 class North American Championship and the J/22 East Coast Championship.
The 2013 NOOD regatta will take place May 3–5 in Annapolis. Headquarters will be at Annapolis Yacht Club. For more information about the regatta, including race course information and registration details, visit www.sailingworld.com/nood-regattas. And if you are out and about on the water, feel free to float by and watch a race or two . . . just stay off the course, lest ye be greatly chastised.
After all, folks, this is the Super Bowl!
Above: Red spinnakers fly as Cuore di Leone, a J/111, follows Fleetwing into a downwind leg.
Above: The crew aboard the J/105 Veloce hoists the spinnaker.
Above: The crew hikes hard on Jubilee, a Beneteau First 36.7.
Above: The Farr 30 class lines up for a start.
Above: Double Eagle follows the colorful J/109 pack downwind.
Right: The crew gets the spinnaker up on the J/111 Velocity, eventual winner of its class.