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By Linda Montgomery
The first NOOD Regatta came to the Toronto waterfront on June 25th to 27th, 2004 (pronounced like “nude”) but there were no sailors without their clothes! The National One-Design Offshore Regatta (NOOD) is North America’s longest-running series of sailboat regattas started by the U.S. publication, Sailing World magazine, a Bible to 50,000 performance racing enthusiasts. For the first time, a Toronto event was added to the agenda, one of only nine stops in North America, putting Toronto in the company of North American big-time sailing cities such as Annapolis, San Diego, Boston and Chicago.
The three-day event is designed to create a level playing field where larger sailboats can race boat-for-boat without handicap adjustments. Sailors enjoy the NOOD because it puts emphasis on sailing skills rather than boat design. The event attracted a large assortment of fleets from two-man dragon boats, to historic 8-meter boats, to big boats in the 40-foot range. With a couple of thousand expected attendees from all over the Great Lakes, the event was too large for one venue, it had to be hosted by two local waterfront yacht clubs- the Royal Canadian Yacht Club and the National Yacht Club. It involved a well-organized band of volunteers from multiple clubs to make it happen.
At 206 boats, the NOOD had a great turnout, especially for the first time according to John Burnham, editor of Sailing World Magazine. “The weather was great and we had lots of volunteers who made it a great event,” he said. “The NOOD is not just a race, it’s a big happening with international exposure and the cachÄ of a major series. We strive to make sure we have well set courses, good competition and that everyone has a fun time ashore.” As well as local contenders, there were teams from 7 different U.S. states, they had to sail or truck their boats to Toronto. He compared the Toronto event to other events in the NOOD series. “It’s the first time we’ve had a Shark class of boats, we had 20 of them competing. Also the J35 fleet had some of the hottest competition of the regatta.” Toronto has one of the biggest fleets of J35 boats in North America according to Burnham.
Going into the NOOD regatta, Falcon, a J35 boat skippered by Ed Bayer of Detroit, had previously won both the Chicago and Detroit NOOD events. But Falcon will not be doing a Great Lakes sweep as the top honours in Toronto went to American boat Battlewagon skippered by Roger Walker in his first NOOD win. Local Toronto sailor and North American J35 class Champion, David Ogden on Buckaroo Bonsai gathered some first and second place finishes then had his hopes dashed by being over the start line early. The rules required that he backtrack over the line again to end the race in a disappointing back of the fleet finish. His team ended up third overall.
By all accounts, it looks like the first Toronto NOOD Regatta was a success and will be back to the Toronto waterfront again next year.