If sailors came to the Sailing World NOOD (National Offshore One-Design) regatta looking for a challenge, they got more than they bargained for.
Unusually strong winds turned this three-day sailing regatta, hosted March 15-17 by the San Diego Yacht Club, into intensive spring training for 166 boats from 12 States and Canada.
A low-pressure system ushered in 15- to 20-knot winds for the opening two days of the event, and the fleet saw its requisite carnage in rugged conditions with swells that ran 10 feet high. By Sunday, the breeze had calmed to 5 to 10 knots: contests of wet and wild survival were over, and the fleet's tide of adrenalin calmed into what is known as business as usual in this part of the world.
"Today the conditions were more typical and what we're used to. It was different from yesterday's sailing, because it wasn't survival mode--and the boat was not a bath zone," said San Diego skipper Dennis Case, winner of the J/105 class. Despite conditions of two extremes, Case put together a consistent series, winning three individual races and never dropping below fourth place in this 25-boat class, the second-largest in the event.
Tonight, in an awards ceremony held at San Diego Yacht Club, Case and 13 other skippers were crowned class winners at the San Diego NOOD, the second stop on a nine-event national racing circuit.
In the largest 30-boat class, Etchells racer Erik Bentzen of Seattle entered the final day of racing with a three-point lead over San Diego's Andy LaDow. But a slim points lead is never large enough in this class, notable around the globe as a minefield of world-class talent. On the final day of racing, Bentzen held his edge with finishes of 4-10. That final record was enough for a class win over second-place LaDow, a local racer who won the class at the 2000 NOOD.
Two classes used this event to compete for class championships. Zach Berkowitz, a San Francisco sailor clearly in his element in the strong breeze, captured the International 14 West Coast Championship by 18 points, the largest points margin in the regatta. Berkowitz won all six races to take the class title.
Greg Hamm of Las Vegas topped a fleet of eight Holder 20s for the class' 2002 National Championship title. Hamm was one of two skippers who successfully defended his class win from the 2001 NOOD.
Chick Pyle and Chuck Nichols of San Diego also successfully defended a class win from last year's event, to capture top honors once again in the J/120 class.
On Friday, March 15, Ultimate 20 sailor Bob Aman (Albany, Oregon) was crowned winner of the Hall Spars & Rigging Boat of the Day Award, the regatta's sole fleet trophy presented to the top performer on opening day. Aman also won the 12-boat Ultimate 20 class.
Support sponsors who joined host San Diego Yacht Club at the NOOD include: Frederiksen, Hall Spars & Rigging, Marlow Ropes, Mount Gay Rum, North Sails, Raymarine, Ronstan, Samuel Adams and The Boston Beer Company, and Sunsail.
The NOOD regattas are a nine-event racing circuit organized by Sailing World magazine of Newport (R.I.). San Diego was the second stop on the 2002 circuit. The series next stops in early May in Annapolis, Md. (May 3-5).
MELGES 24 (15 boats)
1 Cathy Wood Irvine CA Foxtrot 22 pts
2 Rick Rajewski Redondo Beach CA Sharks Never Sleep
3 Brett Gripenstraw Santa Cruz CA Mary Don't Surf 25 pts
CORSAIR F24 (7 boats)
1 Bob Anderson Santa Ana CA SEA SMOKE 13 pts
2 Mike Gettinger Basalt CO Super Fly 19 pts
3 Sigi Stiemer Surrey, BC CAN BRROCH^3 26 pts
ETCHELLS (30 boats)
1 Erik Bentzen Seattle WA Odin 36 pts
2 Andy LaDow San Diego CA Sponge Bob 40 pts
3 Norm Reynolds San Diego CA Carnival 45 pts
SOLING (6 boats)
1 Steve Smidt San Diego CA BYCOR 15 pts
2 Ian Wareham Eastsound WA Ghost Rider 16 pts
3 Steve Brownsea San Diego CA US 791 25 pts
CORSAIR F28/F31 (8 boats)
1 H.L. Enloe El Paso TX MerLoe (F-31) 15 pts
2 Jeff Cohen Covina CA MENTAL FLOSS (F-31) 21 pts
3 Leonard Gregory Del Mar CA WE'RE TRYING (F-28) 37 pts
ONE DESIGN 35 (1D35) (8 boats)
1 Doug Ament San Diego CA KOINONIA 12 pts
2 John Wylie San Diego CA TABASCO 17 pts
3 William Wright Larkspur CA ZSA ZSA 19 pts
J/120 (10 boats)
1 Chuck Nichols/Chick Pyle San Diego CA C.C. RIDER
2 Jed Olenick Olivenhain CA DOCTOR NO 18 pts
3 John Laun San Diego CA CAPER 26 pts
J/105 (25 boats)
1 Dennis Case San Diego CA WINGS 16 pts
2 Carolyn Hardy Newport Beach CA MISCHIEF 23 pts
3 Geoff Longenecker La Jolla CA NEMESIS IS OK 24 pts
INTERNATIOAL 14 (11 boats) - West Coast Championships
1 Zach Berkowitz San Francisco CA (none given) 6 pts
2 Ron Boehm Santa Barbara CA Super Confident Bill 24 pts
3 Paul Galvez/Pablo Rodriguez Aliso Viejo CA (none
given) 25 pts
1 Bill Jenkins San Diego CA Weasel 6 pts
2 John Billings San Diego CA The Kitty 11 pts
3 Geoff Nelson San Diego CA Mental Floss 27 pts
J/24 (11 boats)
1 Troy Smith San Diego CA Danada 9 pts
2 Julie Mitchell San Diego CA Geraldine 14 pts
3 Richard Demmler Bellevue WA ITCHY & SCRATCHY 15 pts
ULTIMATE 20 (12 boats)
1 Bob Aman Albany OR ROGUE 8 pts
2 Alan Schroeder San Diego CA Wiz 14 pts
3 Chuck Allen Stockton CA UFO 25 pts
HOLDER 20 (8 boats) - National Championships
1 Greg Hamm Las Vegas NV Scraps 9 pts
2 Will Jaffe Vista CA Maya 13 pts
3 Jerry Buk Fallon NV Overkill 17 pts
CAPRI 22 (8 boats)
1 Steve Ross San Diego CA CarmeLinda 5 pts
2 G. D. Beckett San Diego CA First Site (Black Eye) 14 pts
3 Tom Warren El Cajon CA TOMKAT 15 pts