The Sperry Top-Sider National Offshore One-Design (NOOD) regatta, the largest sailboat race tour in the U.S., will draw more than 200 boats and 1,000 sailors to Puget Sound this weekend.

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The largest sailboat race tour in the U.S. will draw more than 200 boats and 1,000 sailors to Puget Sound this weekend.

It’s called the Sperry Top-Sider National Offshore One-Design (NOOD) regatta. Seattle is the fourth of nine stops in the regatta series, and the overall winner of each competes in the championship in the British Virgin Islands in November.

Last year, Dan Kaseler, of Port Angeles, and his crew on the pTeron won first place in their class — Melges 24, a 24-foot sport boat for four or five sailors — as well as the overall win, both in Seattle and the championship.

A sailmaker who designs windsurfing and kitesurfing equipment, Kaseler, 36, is returning to defend the title against 14 other boats. “We compete in one of the most competitive classes,” he said.

Kaseler said he’s been racing since he was a kid.

“I like it because it’s much more physical than your average layman thinks,” he said. “It’s a team sport like playing basketball, yet at the same time it’s got a really strong mental side, like playing a game of chess.”

His physical training regimen, then: mimosas and fois gras? “Right now, we’re all dieting. We’re trying to make weight, because for our class the total body weight can’t be more than 793 pounds. I’m kind of small; I’m trying to get down to 145,” Kaseler said.

As for the mental side, he said, “We just try to be kind of conservative and not take too many risks. It’s a three-day regatta. We’ve just got to make sure we don’t do something stupid.”

For instance, being over the starting line before the start of the race can result in a restart that could cost the whole race. Fouling another boat by cutting it off at a buoy can result in a penalty of having to do a 720-degree turn before proceeding.

The NOOD regattas were formed by Sailing World ( in 1988, and draw 30,000 competitors a year — which includes locals as well as America’s Cup and Olympic vets. Seattle joined the series in 2008.

More than 20 fleets will race in the Seattle regatta — boats of a given length making up a fleet. The boat lengths range from 20 to 70 feet.

“One-Design” means that each boat is made from the same model, said NOOD spokesman Michael Weiss. That’s an equalizer that places the emphasis on the skills of the sailors rather than the design of the boat, Weiss said.

The course takes place on Puget Sound just offshore from the Corinthian Yacht Club, 7755 Seaview Ave. N.W. It’s free to spectators, but organizers say viewing is limited and the best views are from Golden Gardens Park. Spectator boats are welcome, as well.

Mark Rahner: 206-464-8259 or