Blecher’s CalYC & Team Wins 28th Annual LEMWOD

A second close day of racing brought rankings and women together 

Long Beach, Calif., October 13, 2019 — Yesterday’s three bullets made all the difference for California Yacht Club’s Allie Blecher, who won the 2019 Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One Design Challenge by a mere two points. Blecher finished the regatta in the Catalina 37 fleet with a total of 22 points. Liz Hjorth, competing for Women’s Sailing Associate of Santa Monica Bay was just a gust behind with 24 points while defending champion Casey Hogan, sailing for Newport Harbor Yacht Club, moved up the ranks to finish in third place with 29 points.

It’s been a good year for Blecher. In August, she won the 17th U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship. Beka Schiff, who sailed with Blecher in that event, served as main trimmer this weekend. Blecher’s name will go onto the perpetual trophy for a second time. She also won this event in 2013.

“We had some ups and downs today; tried to make things harder on ourselves, but in the end, the team as a whole made it work. Thankfully, our team is solid – you can’t win without your team – and uniquely for Marina del Rey, we really shine in a stronger breeze,” she said.

Following an hour weather delay, the day’s three races started in only 6 knots of breeze that picked up only for the last race.

The lighter winds were an advantage. For some.

Lighter conditions, which Annie Gardner requested, resulted in a better day for her – placing 2, 1 and 7 to position her team to finish in fourth place.

Her Hawaii Yacht Club team was organized by Alle Tsai, on pit, as a means for women to grow, and the chance to experience high-level competition. Although there were several new racers aboard, Gardner has been sailing with Katie Pettibone, her tactician and another member of the America3 team, since 1995. “In terms of opportunities for women sailors, it’s cool to see how far we’ve come,” Gardner said.

Although winds built, and rankings shifted, Hjorth, who also had an up and down day, held onto second place. How did they do it? “Channel girl power!” said Stine Cacaras, tactician and team manager. “As a WSA team, whose entire purpose is to promote women in sailing, our crew has a wide variety of experience,” she said.

“We’re always working with new people, coaching and teaching; bringing them up to a top-notch level of sailing.” Moving the sailors to different positions on the boat, building skills, and teamwork is part of that process,” she said.

The addition of the Cal20 fleet in 2018 is a symbol of that progress. Meeting the needs of a growing number of competitors interested in sailing is part of the organizing party’s commitment to serving the women’s sailing community.

As an added incentive, the organization also offered a new team trophy awarded to the yacht club with the best results in both Catalina 37 and Cal 20 fleets. This year, San Francisco Yacht Club was the proud recipient.

“The Cal 20s were offered primarily as an additional opportunity for women who wanted to advance into one-design sailing,” said Co-Chair Cyndi Martinich. “The growing waitlist indicated to us that there were more women who wanted to sail at this level, so we started looking for a fleet.”

They found the Cal20s, cared for and managed by Shoreline Yacht Club, now considered part of the trilogy of clubs supporting this regatta.

In this year’s race, Long Beach Yacht Club’s Satia To took her first opportunity as a new sailor to skipper – and blew away her competitors. In windy conditions, in light conditions, and even in the last race when organizers added an extra lap, To recorded bullet after bullet. She finished the regatta with 8 points. It was only in the second race Saturday when she scored a second-place finish – the result of being struck by another boat at the start. No damage was done, but the defensive measures set her back.

She credits the win for her and her team being in sync and tremendous support from her fellow sailors at LBYC who has coached and mentored her since she started sailing, just three years ago.

After a few times sailing with others on Taco Tuesdays, at first To did not get it. But last year, she started sailing in the club’s fleet of Solings and it clicked. “I just got out there, for small daily practices and races and started to feel more comfortable,” To said. “I asked a lot of questions, and everyone from my husband to club members at LBYC, and coach Ernie Richau were all greatly supportive.”

Being eager to learn and asking a lot of questions was key. As was a great crew. “I had a great tactician, Leah Ford, a former UCLA Sailing Team Captain,” she said.

To’s success speaks to the heart of this regatta and the WSA’s mission. Skippers come to win, but also to share their experience, their passions; their joy of sisterhood and support for each other.

One of To’s coaches and mentors, Lisa Meier, regatta Co-Chair who sits on LBYC’s board of directors also sailed in the Cal20 fleet as tactician for 11-year old Madison Mansour. Team “Small but Mighty” battled their way to third place; finishing one point out of second place with 22 points. Pinching is when you are heading up too high and sails luff a bit, slowing you down. Blair Carty, LBYC’s Port Captain also crews with the young sailing star.

Mansour’s parents were introduced to the junior sailing program when they joined LBYC. It was love at first sail. Although moving up to bigger boats is the goal (FJ’s are her next target) the LBYC junior club champion wants to master the Sabot and get up to the highest level of sailing in that class.

This celebrated regatta, hosted by LBYC and the Long Beach Women’s Sailing Association with the support of the Long Beach Sailing Foundation, is named after Linda Elias, one of Southern California’s most successful female sailboat racers, who died in 2003 after a nine-year battle with ovarian cancer. She was only 52 years old. The prestigious Peggy Slater “Yachtswoman of the Year Award” winner was an active leader of the Long Beach WSA and won this race as the Women’s One Design Challenge in1992, 1994 and 1996.

Martinich likened Elias to Billy Jean King in that she was very passionate about her sport; was funny, kind, and although didn’t set out to be a trailblazer, was.

As the winner of the regatta, Blecher gets to choose (per qualifying standards) where the $1,000 prize money from the Linda Elias scholarship fund goes. The foundation that assists promising sailors is supported by sponsors and fundraising activities each team participates in.

The regatta drew the biggest spectator fleet since the Congressional Cup series which carried friends and family who cheered on the teams over the two-day event.

FINAL RESULTS

Women Light Up the Water at LEMWOD

Allie Blecher Leads CYC Team to the top of the leaderboard.

Long Beach, Calif., October 12, 2019 — Three bullets and a fourth in the day’s fourth race scored seven points and secured Allie Blecher’s California Yacht Club team a day one first-place ranking at the two-day Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One Design Challenge. Blecher and 10 other teams sailed Catalina 37’s, as is traditional for this acclaimed race.

In the Cal 20 fleet – offered for the second year – Long Beach Yacht Club’s Satia To took a similarly commanding lead; finishing the day with five points. Fellow LBYC competitor, 11-year old Madison Mansour, finished the day tied for third place with 13 points.

The top rankings might sound like it was a runaway day for Blecher and To, but a large talented field of skippers and crew made for a close day of racing at the 28th running of this premier California women’s sailing event, the only of its kind for all-women crews in large boats.

Although dockside, the mood was welcoming and the chatter aplenty, these competitors came to win; or at least give it their best shot.

Each of the skippers, sailing in both fleets showed up Friday with their crews for the optional practice. At the skipper’s meeting, the room overflowed as crewmembers accompanied the skippers, most dressed in team colors and were prepared with questions for race management.

And this is a for women by women operation: three all-female chairs, two principle race officers and the chief umpire lead the LBYC team.

“These women are all part of our extended family, that come from all walks of life and several states from across the country. We’re like a fun family off the water, but on the water, our racers are some of the country’s most notable, experienced and competitive sailors,” said Lisa Meier, one of the chairwomen who is racing with Mansour.

The only woman not fully prepared to start the day was Mother Nature was who showed up in fine form after a one-hour delayed start. But she brought consistent 11 knots of wind that caused only one slight course change due to the swiftness of the Cal 20s.

Liz Hjorth, competing for Women’s Sailing Associate of Santa Monica Bay finished the day in second place. Hjorth competed here earlier this summer in a match racing qualifier, is a former Butler Cup winner and won this regatta in 1995 and 2002.

In third place is Summer Greene of Southwestern Yacht Club. She, along with Rebecca Ashburn are two of only 6 National Principle Race Officers in the country. Ashburn is overseeing the Regatta this weekend.

Annie Gardner (nee Nelson) a former Olympian in windsurfing and a member of the 1995 America’s Cup team “America3” with too many other titles and championships to mention, has won this regatta four times. “What I love about this event is that it is all about empowering women; seeing really qualified, experienced women mentoring and modeling the way for other women of all ages, bringing them to a higher level of skill, and providing additional opportunities is really the best,” she said. Sailing for Hawaii Yacht Club, Gardner said her 10-woman team has trained primarily in light air, so along with getting clean starts, the hopes for tomorrow is for slightly less breezy conditions.

Theresa Brandner, the first woman Commodore of St. Francis Yacht Club, sailing with only a crew of 7, said her team is comprised of about half of her usual old-school crew with the addition of some young collegiate sailors. “We’ve got a really good dynamic on the boat,” she said. “But with women today having so many responsibilities; kids, family, and jobs; finding those who want to race and have the time is challenging. But with support of regattas like this, where women are given the opportunity to show leadership in yachting, which is an important part of her personal mission, and that of SFYC can make a difference. Women have to make more effort to get things done and to be heard, but when they do, they are game-changers,” she said.

The regatta is named after Linda Elias, one of Southern California’s most successful female sailboat racers, who died in 2003 after a nine-year battle with ovarian cancer at the age of 52. She was a winner of the Peggy Slater “Yachtswoman of the Year Award”, was an active leader of the Long Beach WSA and won this race as the Women’s One Design Challenge in1992, 1994 and 1996.

The regatta is hosted by LBYC and the Long Beach Women’s Sailing Association with the support of the Long Beach Sailing Foundation.

Remembering Linda ELias ahead of the LEMWOD Regatta THis Weekend at LBYC

Linda Elias

Your SCSN Editor had many joyful years of personal life sailing experiences with Linda and her husband Mike for 20+ years starting in the late 70’s. Special people.

Here is an article from thelog.com that is a nice representation of what Linda was all about:

LONG BEACH — Hundreds of women have raced in the Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One-Design Challenge regatta at Long Beach since it was renamed for the special lady way back in 2003 — and the event just celebrated its 20th anniversary Oct. 22-23 (see the related racing story). Perhaps some of the younger competitors may wonder now: Who was Linda Elias?

READ MORE…………………………………………………….

2019 Firefighters Smoke Rivals in LBYC’s ‘Heroes Regatta

LONG BEACH, CALIF – Long Beach Firefighters smoked the competition in a series of four races at the Long Beach Yacht Club Heroes Regatta. Roughly two-dozen first responders teamed up with coaches and club members, for the sixth running of one of LBYC’s favorite one-design sailing events.

Competitors from Long Beach first responder agencies were invited to the annual regatta, which was raced aboard the Catalina 37 fleet. Following a morning briefing and chalk talk, the crews set out for a practice race, then three windward-leewards.

Long Beach Lifeguards made a splash out of the gate, winning Race One by just inches, hoping to defend their Heroes Regatta title of 2018.

But after three races around the buoys, it was LBFD Station One in command, with a score of five points; with LBFD Station Four close astern.

The scorching weather may have given the firefighters an edge. Soaring temperatures inland sparked a stiff onshore breeze and classic Long Beach conditions prevailed, according to Racing Director Jess Gerry, who reported a “perfect” 8 to 12 knot breeze out of the southwest.

The fourth and final race was a 6nm random leg course from the inner harbor breakwater into Alamitos Bay, with the finish inside the harbor in front of LBYC. LBFD Station Four rallied and blazed ahead – winning the tie-breaker with LBFD Station One, and the Heroes Regatta Championship Title.

Rick Brizendine, a coach aboard the victorious boat, said, “The firefighters were a joy to sail with. Each readily and willingly – and probably unwittingly – accepted the most challenging positions, including bow and helm.”

Of Kelvin McCaleb, recruited to do foredeck, Brizendine said, “Even a skilled bowman can make any number of errors in any one maneuver, but ours were almost flawless. And Wade (Haller) on the helm really got the hang of driving and found the groove.”

But it wasn’t the first responders having all the fun. “We sail so often the competitiveness sometimes overcomes the joy,” Brizendine added. “Sailing with our local heroes brings the joy back to the sport. We’ve all participated in this regatta before, and will do it again. There is no shortage of volunteers from LBYC when the call goes out to volunteer for the Heroes or Patriot (for active duty military) Regattas.”

The winning crew consisted of Kelvin McCaleb, Wade Haller, Chris Macy, Bob Piercy, Ken Mattfeld, John French, Blair Carty and Rick Brizendine. Race Chair was Christina Mansour. A post race reception was held on the LBYC pool deck, with burgers for the competitors and their families, coaches and race management. To three teams were presented Olympic-style medals, recognizing their Olympian efforts both on and off the course.

For more information please visit www.lbyc.org.

Photo Credits:         SeaToSkyImages: Mike Reed/Tom Heaton

Roy Disney, Seahorse Sailor of the Month

Skipper and owner Roy Disney of Pyewacket and talented crew absolutely deserve this award and more.

Read the below linked article to Scuttlebutt– and take special note of the last paragraph:

From SailingScuttlebutt.com

“But that is why Pyewacket’s rescue of the crew of the sinking OEX should be recognized, there were other less fancied yachts a similar distance from the stricken boat but it was an instant call to abandon his own race and do the right thing, sadly not everyone is always quite so selfless.”

HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM……………………….

I would hope the the Transpac Race Organizer and the US Sailing safety committee are opening up investigations into why there was only one competitor that responded when many more were around.

READ MORE…………………………………….

Local Sailing News From SoCal and Beyond