Sailing World Regatta Series moves west >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News
The second event of the Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series moves west as Division 14 prepares for the March 25-27 race in San Diego, Calif. More than 100 participants from nine different states plus Mexico will compete in an array of keelboat and dinghy classes.
“San Diego has such a unique and vibrant sailing scene, which is why this regatta has been so popular for so long,” said Dave Reed, editor of Sailing World Magazine. “The ability for us to have reliable racing conditions on the bay and on the high seas is what local and visiting crews appreciate. Our yacht club hosts in Coronado and San Diego always provide a high quality experience, on and out of the water.
Racing will begin on March 25 with the smallest boats in the regatta, which will be spread over two racetracks located in South San Diego Bay. The biggest boats will take to the ocean off Point Loma on March 26-27 and the North Sails Rally Race will send competitors on a low-key, one-day course inside the bay on March 26 only.
Competing on the South Bay Circle are boats of the Flying Dutchman class, the 20ft two-person dinghy once used in Olympic competition almost 60 years ago. The Flying Dutchman will share one of the South Bay racecourses with Formula 18 catamarans and International 14s, which will race in individual classes.
“It’s been years since the area has seen such a large fleet of Flying Dutchman,” says Doug Dommermuth, who sails with his FD near Mission Bay. “We love sailing South Bay. The winds are constant and with the short chop it’s a great area to sail with a Flying Dutchman.
The high-tech 14 Internationals have become a fixture of the San Diego Regatta’s South Bay action. Double trapeze dinghies don’t need a lot of wind to run at full speed. The skippers and their crews are dedicated to the care and maintenance of these craft, which have been refined for over a century and are now almost one-design (alike).
The 2022 edition of the Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta in San Diego also marks the return of the Ultimate 20 class. Often referred to as the original sport boats, U20s are light, sporty, towable keelboats. The U20’s simplistic layout and handling make it an ideal entry-level race boat and all but one of the teams will be traveling from out of state to take advantage of South Bay’s ideal race conditions.
One of the largest fleets in the regatta will be the J/24s. Comprising mostly vintage boats from the late 1970s and early 1980s, the class has nearly tripled entries since the San Diego event last year.
The winner of the J/105 division in 2021 was decided by just three points at the end of the five-race series, with local skipper Stewart Cannon’s J-OK (three-time regatta champion) emerging as the top team. With decades of racing experience off Point Loma, Cannon and his crew have mastered racing in the ocean swell. “It can be tough conditions, especially when the big swell is on,” says Cannon. “Part of that is the difficulty of driving in it.”
The J/70 fleet for this regatta in San Diego is made up of boats entirely from the west coast, including two from Mexico. Among the list of registered skippers is National Sailing Hall of Fame inductee Dave Ullman, who has been racing in the area for over 50 years.
When the San Diego Regatta ends on March 27, 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: Sarah Renz, Bonnier