Adventure on the high seas, well sort of, for local photo-journalist


We may live along the Pacific Coast – with the world’s largest ocean at our availability 24/7 — but when was the last time you took time to actually make it down to the seashore to dip your foot in the water, enjoy a romantic bayside restaurant experience or photograph a beautiful sunset?

In fact, when was the last time you actually went sailing out on the ocean?

Living in America’s Finest City, we take too many things for granted.

Bonita resident and Star-News freelance photographer Ron Becijos had the recent opportunity to do the latter when he photographed part of the Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta, the largest national sailboat racing circuit in the United States.

Multiple races for the one-design boats took place March 18-20 on elliptical-shaped courses located about five to six miles offshore. Spectators were able to see the races aboard private boats.

“It was great shooting the event in the light ocean breeze under outstanding weather conditions,” Becijos reported upon returning ashore from a three-hour excursion to photograph the open ocean boat racing.

Perfect weather conditions prevailed for all three days of racing as teams continued to face off for the top spot in the series championship, which is set Oct. 22-29 in the British Virgin Islands.

More than 100 teams competed in 12 classes on the second day of racing on March 19. Those on the press boat would have stayed out longer except for a malfunctioning motor that forced them to return to the dock about midway through the event to pick up a new boat.

Still, it was an exciting first-time shooting experience for Becijos, who has previously shot atop active lava tubes, captured underwater panoramas in Hawaii and photographed on glaciers in Alaska and New Zealand.

“Everyone on board the press boat was friendly and accommodating,” Becijos related. “The hard part was to keep your balance while the boat was moving. The boat did stop a few times but there were still choppy waves.”

“We could see the crews on the boats performing various duties aboard the vessels – teamwork was essential, especially on turns around the markers which made for more complex rigging maneuvers.

“All the boats in the same fleet are similar, so it comes down to the ability of the skippers and crews to maximize their skills to produce a winning effort.”

Becijos came away from the event quite impressed, and he wasn’t the only one.

“The clear weather and sea conditions for sailors, sailboats  and spectators was pure San Diego spectacular,” he said. “We saw other boats that were watching, a good number of powerboats that were following the action along the way.”

There are several race-courses at the event for various sailboat fleets, with a broad spectrum of sailors and sail configurations, Becijos reported.

“A sustained, dedicated effort is required to prepare the race boats for this elite event,” he said.

There was a course in San Diego Bay itself, while others were offshore.

“At one point, the course passed into Mexican waters,” Becijos recounted. “We were reminded about the roaming fees (on our cell phones) when crossing the border. Mine was off the whole time, though.”

Everything today is very technology-driven to allow for maximum performance on the waves. But machines still can’t replace human ingenuity when it is called for.

“You could hear the crew members shouting commands to each other when doing certain maritime maneuvers, especially when taking down and putting up the sails on marker turns and wind direction,” Becijos explained.

“At times, the boats did get fairly close to one another on the turns. It was exciting to see them with their full colors and sails billowing under movement – all of this with the backdrop of various San Diego shoreline landmarks.

“The Hotel Del Coronado looked spectacular from our vantage point five or six miles out, as well as the Coronado Bay Bridge. We even saw a huge freighter at anchor in the direction of the Point Loma lighthouse.

Mark Allen, skipper of the Ultimate20 fleet’s, Junta, from Salt Lake City, won four races on the day. He called it “fantastic champagne sailing in San Diego.”

Many others at the regatta had similar praise for San Diego, Becijos noted.

Dave Reed, editor-in-chief of Sailing World magazine, hosted and provided expert commentary for press members aboard the press boat, Becijos made special mention of. This access afforded outstanding views of various races up close in progress, while media liaison Johanna Schaffer, who also was on the press boat, aided in friendly guidance and additional information.


Regatta recap

Bruce Golison’s J/70 Midlife Crisis came out on top, winning its J/70 fleet and the regatta’s overall title. The win earns Golison a trip to the British Virgin Islands to compete in the Helly Hansen NOOD Championship Regatta, hosted by Sunsail.

A champion sailor from Rossmoor, Golison admitted he was more familiar with the J/24 and Etchells keelboat classes. “I had never sailed a sport boat before,” Golison stated in a prepared release, “so the adjustment from pole-back spinnaker sailing to reaching around was a huge adjustment.”

Golison’s team had its work cut out for it with the presence of several top teams mixed among the 26-boat fleet. His toughest rivals proved to be Jeff Janov and Luis Barrios’ Zumbale, with local ace Willem Van Way calling tactics.

“It was actually a pretty tricky weekend,” Golison explained. “It was a little shiftier than normal. It was amazing how the three of us took turns beating up each other. I think we each probably only had one race out of the top three. Then we all had at least two or three firsts. There were guys that would mix in that were always tough. It was great racing.”

The second day of racing, at the top of the J/70 fleet, Jeff Janov’s Minor Threat slid into the lead, after four races, over Golison’s Midlife Crisis.

“Obviously, we had a great day with a 2-1-1,” McLean stated in a post-race release. “It was close racing all day. We were pretty much keeping tabs on Golison and the Mexicans (currently in third overall). The three of us were dueling it out all day.”

On the same South Bay Circle, the Ultimate 20 fleet’s defending champion also turned in a top-shelf day, winning all four races. “It was fantastic,” says Mark Allen, skipper of the Ultimate 20 Junta, from Salt Lake City, Utah.

Chick Pyle’s Kea, after cruising in the Caribbean all winter, didn’t miss a beat on the opening day in the Beneteau 36.7 fleet. Despite being one crewmember short and not having sailed the boat in months, the team readjusted and turned in a flawless boat handling performance. They won all three of their races.

NOOD sponsor North Sails presented awards for Local Boat of the Day and the North Sails Rally Race, a one-day pursuit-style race around the bay. Lawrence Adams’ Corsair 31 Trimaran F Bomb won the Rally Race. Janov’s Minor Threat was selected as the Local Boat of the Day.

Golison will join John Spierling and the crew of the S 2 7.9 Rebel, along with other victors, in the British Virgin Islands for the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Championship hosted by Sunsail.

Day two race results, including the top three finishers in each class, included:


Far Ocean Course


Beneteau First 36.7 (One Design – 8 Boats)

  1. Kea, Beneteau First 36.7, Chick Pyle , Jamestown, RI, USA, 1 -1 -1 ; 3
  2. Kodachrome, Beneteau First 36.7, Jerry Twomey , San Diego, CA, USA, 3 -3 -2 ; 8
  3. Sorcerer, Beneteau First 36.7, Robert Kopaniasz , San Diego, CA, USA, 2 -5 -4 ; 11


Beneteau First 40.7 (One Design – 7 Boats)

  1. Wiki Wiki, Beneteau First 40.7, Mike Honeysett / Will Stout , Ramona, CA, USA, 1 -1 -4 ; 6
  2. Silhouette, Beneteau First 40.7, Warren Gross , San Diego, CA, USA, 2 -3 -2 ; 7
  3. Lugano, Beneteau First 40.7, Mark Stratton , Los Angeles, CA, USA, 3 -6 -1 ; 10


J 120 (One Design – 6 Boats)

  1. CC Rider, J 120, Charles Nichols , San Diego, CA, USA, 1 -1 -1 ; 3
  2. caper, J 120, John Laun , San Diego, CA, USA, 3 -4 -2 ; 9
  3. Mad Men, J 120, Ernie Pennell , San Diego, CA, USA, 2 -2 -6 ; 10


Flying Tiger 10 (One Design – 6 Boats)

  1. Relapse, FT 10M, Tom Hirsh , San Diego, CA, USA, 3 -2 -1 ; 6
  2. Justice, FT 10M, John Harrop , San Diego, CA, USA, 1 -3 -2 ; 6
  3. Mile High Klub, FT 10M, Phillip Infelise , Evergreen, CO, USA, 2 -1 -3 ; 6


Near Ocean Course


Etchells (One Design – 14 Boats)

  1. Elizabeth , Etchells, Tom Carruthers , San Diego, CA, USA, 1 -1 -3 ; 5
  2. Etchells, Etchells, Brad Rod , San Diego, CA, USA, 3 -4 -5 ; 12
  3. Blond Antelope, Etchells, Keith Whittemore , Seattle, WA, USA, 11 -2 -1 ; 14


J 105 (One Design – 10 Boats)

  1. Wings, J 105, Dennis Case , San Diego, CA, USA, 1 -1 -2 ; 4
  2. Sanity, J 105, Rick Goebel , San Diego, CA, USA, 2 -3 -1 ; 6
  3. Current Obsession 2, J 105, Gary Mozer , Beverly Hills, CA, USA, 3 -2 -4 ; 9



South Bay Course


Ultimate 20 (One Design – 7 Boats)

  1. Junta, Ultimate 20, Mark Allen , Salt Lake City, UT, USA, 1 -2 -2 -1 -1 -1 -1 ; 9
  2. Ultimate Antics, Ultimate 20, Bob Comstock , Fresno, CA, USA, 3 -1 -3 -4 -7 -2 -2 ; 22
  3. 222, Ultimate 20, Travis Gregory , Farmington, UT, USA, 2 -3 -5 -3 -2 -4 -4 ; 23


Bucaneer 18 (One Design – 4 Boats)

  1. Wonder, Buccaneer 18, Matt Davis , Phoenix, AZ, USA, 1 -2 -1 -1 -1 -2 -5 ; 13
  2. Easy, Buccaneer 18, Chuck Williams , Yuma, AZ, USA, 2 -1 -2 -2 -2 -1 -5 ; 15
  3. Rainie’s Day, Buccaneer 18, Michael Parker , Chandler, AZ, USA, 5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 ; 35


J 70 (One Design – 24 Boats)

  1. Minor Threat, J 70, Jeff Janov , Malibu, CA, USA, 5 -3 -2 -2 -2 -1 -1 ; 16
  2. Midlife Crisis, J 70, Bruce Golison , Rossmoor, CA, USA, 1 -1 -8 -3 -1 -3 -2 ; 19
  3. Zumbale, J 70, Luis Barrios , Mexico, CDMX, MEX, 2 -8 -1 -1 -4 -2 -3 ; 21


Viper 640 (One Design – 10 Boats)

  1. Last Call, Viper 640, Alex Steele , Costa Mesa, CA, USA, 1 -1 -2 -1 -1 -2 -2 ; 10
  2. Cobra, Viper 640, Tim Carter , Harbor City, CA, USA, 2 -4 -1 -2 -2 -1 -1 ; 13
  3. Clown School, Viper 640, Todd Downey , Port Hueneme, CA, USA, 3 -9 -6 -5 -4 -3 -4 ; 34


I 14 (One Design – 5 Boats)

  1. Mind Your Step, International 14, Cameron Puckey , Cardiff, CA, USA, 1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 ; 6
  2. Cheeky-Bastard/ Science Project/ Got Wave *Ohs, International 14, Aidan Mobley , Playa del Rey, CA, USA, 2 -2 -2 -3 -3 -3 ; 15
  3. Astragulus, International 14, Brad Ruetenik , Encinitas, Ca, USA, 6 -6 -6 -2 -2 -2 ; 24


Full race results for the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in San Diego are available here.

For more information on the 2016 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta series, visit For more information on Helly Hansen, visit

Adventure on the high seas, well sort of, for local photo-journalist