ST PETE -- The largest and most storied sailboat racing circuit in the United States, the Sperry Top-Sider National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta series, will launch its 26th season in St. Petersburg today. The nautical competition will be the first stop on the six-city tour, with roughly 1,000 sailors hitting the waters of Tampa Bay to contend for the event’s top prize – a trip to the British Virgin Islands to compete in the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Championship Regatta.
During the season-opening event, which runs through Sunday, sailors within various boat classes will compete in a series of races, accumulating points based on placement in each individual race. The boat finishing with the fewest total points will be declared the winner of its respective class.
A slew of local sailors will be looking to re-claim the event’s overall title, which was awarded last year to Travis Odenbach from Webster, NY competing in the J/24 class. Among the local contingent vying to bring the 2013 title back home is Todd Fedyszyn, a St. Pete-based junior sailing instructor who won the 2011 St. Pete NOOD regatta.
“St. Pete is always a great venue to open the Sperry Top Sider NOOD Regatta season,” said George Brengle, Sailing World’s director of marketing. “The locals are extremely passionate and skilled sailors and the event always draws a talented pool of racers from around the country.”
Race officials will determine the regatta’s overall winner, based on the strongest finish in the most competitive class.
In addition to the on-water sailing, U.S. Olympic and Sperry Top-Sider Team sailors Paige and Zach Railey will be hosting an onshore sailing clinic for junior sailors at the St. Pete Yacht Club immediately following the today’s racing.
The overall winner in St. Petersburg will be invited to participate in the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Championship Regatta in the British Virgin Islands at the end of the season to compete aboard Sunsail 44i’s against the other overall winners in the 2013 series.
For more information on the 2013 Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta series visit: http://www.sailingworld.com/nood-regattas.
Created by Sailing World in 1988, the NOOD series attracts over 1,000 boats and more than 20,000 competitors and spectators annually. Each event in the series features multiple days of sailboat racing for one-design models from 20 to 70 feet in length. In addition to local sailors, sailing’s top stars — including America’s Cup and Olympic champions — are well represented at the NOODs. Competitive sailors rate the NOODs as the top national event in each region of the country.