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St. Petersburg welcomes 2,000 sailors for Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta

by Laura Muma 17 Feb 05:26 PST February 18-20, 2022
Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta © Paul Todd / Outside Images

With 215 sailboats registered and more than 2,000 sailors from Florida and around the country, the national Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series opens this weekend, February 18 - 20, in St. Petersburg with the largest fleet yet in the regatta's 34-year history.

Teams from 26 states and two countries will compete across 17 divisions in boats ranging from 14' to 44'. In 2022, two new classes will join the regatta for the first time: the single-person Weta trimarans and the sporty new L30 class. Additionally, the regatta serves as the Midwinter Championships for the Hobie 33 and S2 7.9 classes.

A new initiative introduced at the regatta will have more than 30 teams vying for a "Mixed-Plus" Trophy. The inclusive initiative, led by Willem van Waay, a world champion professional sailor, and the Sailing World Regatta Series, was created to encourage boat owners to include more top-level women sailors on their teams.

The concept has already proven successful. Of the 31 J/70s registered, 15 teams will include at least a 50/50 male-female ratio and qualify for the new trophy. "The interest and the talent is definitely there," van Waay says. "Now we need to provide the opportunities to get women in the key positions on board."

Once again the largest fleet at the regatta is the high-tech single-person A-Class Catamaran class, which has two divisions—Foiling and Classic—consisting of 16 and 22 boats, respectively. The classics are traditional catamarans while the foilers 'fly' above the water, suspended on hydrofoils.

A-Class competitors and the Weta trimarans will launch daily from Flora Wylie Park, north of the New Pier, and among them will be Olympic hopefuls and world-caliber sailors with their state-of-the-art multihulls on display before and after racing each day.

Saturday morning, spectators will also be able to enjoy watching the sailboats parade by the end of the St. Petersburg Pier prior to the starts of the North Sails Rally Race at 10 a.m. Three divisions will compete in a 10- to 20-mile course around Tampa Bay.

Racing for all competitors begins each day at 10 a.m. each day and at the conclusion of the regatta on Sunday, February 20, one class-winning competitor will be chosen to compete in the Helly Hansen Sailing World Caribbean Championship in October in the British Virgin Islands.

For more information on the Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series events, visit here.

For comprehensive results, visit www.yachtscoring.com.

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