I belong to the church of one design sailing. Though I miss a few Sundays, I make up for it on the occasional Saturday. Last week, I even went on Friday—for eight hours.
It’s been two years since my last Sperry Topsider NOOD Regatta. (NOOD is short for “National Offshore One Design,” but of course non-sailors assume you're talking about its homophone when you tell them you're off to sail in the NOOD -- always good for a laugh.) With nine events around the country, the series has become a national revival meeting for the church of one design. And thanks to a record-setting 220 teams racing in 16 divisions, the Annapolis stop was even better than I remembered.
NOOD regattas have something for everyone. At the top of my list is the competitive racing for those whose chosen class is no longer the hot new fad. Boats were grouped by size and speed, minimizing fleet overlaps and making the ambitious schedule of eight races in three days achievable. The Annapolis entry list included Alberg 30s, Beneteau 36.7s, Cal 25s, Catalina 27s, S2 7.9s, Etchells, Farr 30s, Melges 24s, Farr 40s—and seven different J/Boats classes. It was a true variety pack of keelboats, without a single PHRF rating to sour the mood after sailing.
Thanks to the depth of talent in Annapolis, we also had good race management. Annapolis Yacht Club, Eastport Yacht Club, and Severn Sailing Association teamed up to host four race circles. My only complaint was the wait for results; with each circle sending in scores before they came off the water, the competitors would be better served by prompt posting—even if the results are preliminary.
After sailing, the regatta tent served up adult beverages and food that could really pass for dinner—every day. Sailors of all abilities could mingle with the rock stars, catch up with friends, and go home with a full stomach ready to compete again the next day. That’s a real crowd-pleaser.
Of course it helped that the biggest regatta variable—weather—also cooperated. The first two days provided 10-15 knots of cool and shifty northerlies, rewarding those who kept their eyes open for the next line of pressure. Since this was the first regatta of the season for many, shaking off rust quickly was a top priority.
And if good parties and great racing aren’t enough, Sailing World has teamed up with Sunsail to offer the top boat from each NOOD a trip to the British Virgin Islands for the 2011 Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Championship. Nine teams will compete for the overall title this November, in new Sunsail 44i’s.
I can’t think of a better reward for going to church.
Photos courtesy Tim Wilkes
2011 Annapolis NOOD Results