More races at St. Pete Regatta Series >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News
St. Petersburg, Fla. (February 19, 2022) – More than 200 sailboats competed on day two of the three-day Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series in St. Petersburg in 8-14 knot breezes, helping some teams solidify their leads, and others to capitalize on as they head into the final day tomorrow.
The Melges 15 fleet of two-person dinghies has more than doubled in size since debuting in 2021 in what was once known as the NOOD series. Chicago’s Mike Schroff and his crew Emily Shanley-Roberts won the final race of the day to establish a one-point lead over Tampa local Rob Britts and his crew Meredith McIntosh.
“It’s definitely a tough fleet,” says the Shanley-Roberts crew. “This is our third event together, and I feel like we are working well. The key today was really to stay in sync. However, when the fleet behind you splits up, it’s always hard to decide which path to cover. I felt like the left side of the course worked really well, so we really tried to capitalize on those, especially on the first beat.
“For tomorrow, we will just focus on getting the good starts and then doing our own race. It never seems to work if you focus too much on one person. If you cover one, you lose the fleet.
The Lightnings also compete on the busy A course. Former regatta winner David Starck rode into the fleet today in first place, which he attributes to dusting off cobwebs.
“In fact, my family and I haven’t sailed since last fall,” he says. “We focused on other sports – skiing, hockey, etc.
By family, he refers to his brother Tom (Starck’s Team PatStrong crew); his wife Jody Starck, who drives his own Lightning and is only two points behind David; and his daughter Sabrina, racing with skipper Tanner Probst.
“With the other fleets racing on our course, we spent a lot of time looking at the boats ahead of us upwind and observing preferred gates, deciding how best to deal with the chaos,” Starck explains. “But it’s really good preparation as we look to the Lightning World Championship in May and then the Pan Am Games after that.”
Today’s North Sails Rally Race started just off the eastern end of the New St. Petersburg Pier, much to the delight of curious morning strollers and coffee makers. More than 25 boats in three divisions, including racers, race cruisers, cruisers and one-design L30 keelboats, sailed a 15-20 mile sailing course around Tampa Bay.
Richard Svedsen’s Honey Pie won the Spinnaker Division with his new Caruluna 245. “We’re still learning how to sail it, and how to start with that result,” he says. “It is also our first participation in the Sailing World regatta. For a February day in Florida, what more could you ask for? The course took us to different marks around Tampa Bay, and taking into account the wind and current challenged us all, but what a great way to spend the day.
Gail Haueser’s Liquid Time, a Beneteau 40, took the Racer-Cruiser victory, and Dave Roberts’ Legacy, a Catalina 310, took the Cruiser Division title.
Alongside the North Sails Rally Race was the new L30 fleet, labeled as a fast sport boat with cruising comfort. Six L30s compete in the St. Pete Regatta Series, doing a mix of fleet racing on days one and three as well as today’s distance race.
Dave Ullman and his son Charlie pilot one of the new L30s, designed by Olympic medalist and Volvo Ocean Race veteran Rodion Luka. On Ullman’s second day on board, which they won in today’s distance race, he is sold. “It’s going to be a good one-design boat,” says the multi-world champion and Sailing Hall of Famer. “It strikes the right balance between fun to sail, but there’s a lot to tweak and tweak to make it a challenge.”
Over seven races, George Braddon and his Bogus team of Victor, NY, lead the J/24 fleet. In his fourth season with the boat, Braddon has J/24 and North Sails guru Mike Ingham on board to help trim the sails and mentor the team as they prepare for the J/24 Midwinter Championship of across the bay next week.
“We learned a lot about sailing with Mike,” says Braddon. “He really helped us optimize the trim of the sails. The boat seemed fast today; we are in good gear going up and down the course.
At the end of the regatta, a class-winning competitor will be chosen to compete in the Helly Hansen Caribbean World Sailing Championship in October in the British Virgin Islands.
Formerly known as NOOD, the National Offshore One Design Series was founded in 1988 and continues in 2022 at five locations:
• February 18-20: St. Petersburg, Florida
• March 25-27 – San Diego, California
• May 13-15: Annapolis, MD
• June 10-12 – Chicago, IL
• July 28-31 – Marblehead, MA
Source: Laura Muma, Sailing World