Swede Johnson RIP

From a post on Sailing Anarchy by Sleddog

Swede Johnson, Hall of Fame member of Balboa Yacht Club, peacefully crossed the bar January 14 in Costa Mesa, CA. Swede was 95. Quiet by nature, but with a twinkle in his eye, Swede was a man of great kindness and generosity.


As a long time sailmaker with Baxter and Cicero, Swede’s sail designs won Star Class World’s Championships, Transpacs, and countless dinghy races. More than a few Southern California sailmakers, including Dave Ullman and Scott Allan, began their careers with Swede’s encouragement.

Swede was an tinkerer by nature, and designed and built the first small boat tillerpilot in his garage. He also invented a clock that divided time into tenths to ease the job of race committees dealing with handicaps. Most folks would just muse on ideas like that, but Swede actually made the clocks, in finished boxes, and many are still in use today.

Swede loved music, handcrafted his own instruments, and played guitar with his beloved Channel Island Guppies. Swede was considered by many to be the cutting edge of radio controlled model boats and during his long life, Swede built countless ship’s models. He especially favored schooners. When Humphrey Bogart exited the world, Lauren Baucall asked Swede to build a model of Bogie’s’ favorite SANTANA. Swede did so, and the beautiful model was displayed on the pulpit at Bogart’s funeral.

Swede was the best of shipmates, a man of many skills, and calm demeanor. Swede always listened with his eyes as well as his ears, giving careful thought to what you had to say before he spoke. The answer was always worth the wait. Swede loved kids, and could often be found aboard his Cal 20, TACO II, anchored at White’s Cove on Catalina, strumming his guitar while a bunch of kids had fun turning TACO’s cockpit into an aquarium. We will miss you, Swede.

Barney Flam Service Announcement

A service to celebrate the life of Barney Flam will be held on Friday, February 27, 2015 at 1500 at  Long Beach Yacht Club.

From Steve Flam:

Renowned Southern California sailor Barney Flam passed away on January 2. He recently celebrated his 90th birthday with his children and grandchildren at his home.

Barney was born in Los Angeles. He was a graduate of Van Nuys High School and earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cal Tech. He used these skills on his boats and truly was an original MacGyver as he could invent, build or repair just about anything.

Barney raced competitively over the course of seven decades, achieving many victories and garnering the respect of his fellow sailors. Most notably, Barney was the original owner of Cal 40 #4, “Flambuoyant”, and he was one of the original partners in the Ragtime syndicate that won the 1973 Transpac. He also competed as a skipper in 11 Congressional Cups and won the prestigious Lipton Cup in 1981.

Barney was truly an innovator. In the late 1960s he put a hydraulic backstay on his Cal 40, the first person I know of that attempted this. It was immediately declared illegal but later on became the standard method of adjusting big boat backstays. He also trained himself in computer programming and in the late l970s was creating programs for scoring races at Long Beach Yacht Club. He also used his rather large home computer on his IOR boat in the early 1980s to integrate with the boat’s instruments to create polars to maximize performance.

Barney made many contributions to sailing including serving as Commodore of Long Beach Yacht Club, Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club and the Southern California Yachting Association. He was Assistant Principal Race Officer for the 1984 Olympics, was PRO for a number of Congressional Cups and in 1985 was awarded the St. Petersburg trophy as PRO for the Prince of Wales.

Barney lost his wife Evelyn in 2009. Together they raced for many years, with Evelyn doing the bow, first on their Kettenburg 38 and then their Cal 40. He is survived by his children Steve, Faye and Patty and by his grandchildren George, Henry and William. Barney will be remembered for his intelligence, his innovative approach to all things, his love for sailing, and his wonderful stories. His family is proud of his many accomplishments and his independent spirit. We will miss him.

Barney Flam



SCSN Special Report: Interview with Mike Van Dyke on his Sydney Hobart Race Experience on RIO 100

Long Beach, CA sailor Mike Van Dyke was aboard RIO 100 in the recently completed Sydney Hobart Race.


Mike has tens of thousands of miles under his belt having sailed in most if not all of the Southern California long distance races over the years. Mike has graciously agreed to an interview to tell us about his experiences in the famous classic that is the Sydney Hobart Race, a 600+ mile race in some of the most dangerous and challenging parts of the sailing world.


SCSN: Mike, congratulations on a safe and successful race in the recent Sydney Hobart classic recently completed on RIO 100 and welcome home! It sounded like RIO 100 experienced the usual wide variety of conditions that is typical for this race (except for the Bass Strait crossing). Tell us your general thoughts on the race and your experiences. What was your role on the boat?

Mike:  My first thoughts are were how well organized and prepared we were for the race which we all know can be extremely hard on the crew and boat. Our skipper, Manouch Moshayedi, is a very passionate sailor that is deeply involved in all aspects of the program and he made it possible for the crew to get in a weeks worth of training in New Zealand in November. When the concept for the boat came up, the focus was Barn Door for the Transpac and when the opportunity arose to sneak this regatta in the schedule (since the boat was being refitted at Cookson’s in NZ) it became a must do.

To compare this race to something that some of your readers might be able to relate to would be a mini transpac with winds on the nose at 26-28 knots for the first part of the race, then a period of 30 knots downwind running towards the end before the turn into Storm Bay. So we did see a little of everything. Pretty impressive running with a hounds kite and reefed main and maintaining speeds north of 25 knots.

I’m one of the two trimmers on the boat and then I have the side job as the medic. I pair up with Peter van Niekerk (two time America’s Cup winner with Alinghi) and we share the trimming responsibility. As you can imagine, it’s a great opportunity to learn from one of the best. The medic job is something I’ve done on past programs and took it on for this one. One comment here is, after the race of 1997 with the loss of life, they have a very strict safety and medical procedures. Every crewman had a harness, an AIS transmitter, a personal EPIRB, light stick, sea dye, etc. I’m a believer, if you are not, read Fatal Storm. (Editor’s Note: Fatal Storm: The Inside Story of the Tragic Sydney-Hobart Race)

SCSN: Was this your first S2H? What was your impression of how Australians treat and regard the sport of sailing in their country?

Mike: This was my first S2H and it was a very enjoyable experience. Just like all offshore races, the skipper, crew, and preparation of the boat can make or break for a good or bad experience. As I mentioned Manouch is very passionate and involved and he put together a tremendous sailing team. Couple that with Keith Kilpatrick as the boat captain and some very, very good cubbies (shore crew), it made the decision to do it easy, why not?

Another thing that was amazing, and I underestimated it, but Australia takes their yachting very seriously. I’d be wearing a crew uniform getting a cab home at night after practice and the cab drivers would be telling me about the latest news on the race and the betting odds on the first to finish. The front page of every newspaper had coverage leading up to the race, as well as television. How about coming home from a crew dinner, turning on TV and your skipper is being interviewed on a major network? Pretty cool. Race start on boxing day is an unbelievable experience, hundreds of boats out on water, hundreds of thousands watch from the shore.

SCSN: I have heard that there are “Sunfish Encounters” on this race and heard that RIO 100 had one as well. Tell us about it.

Mike: I think you are probably going to hear more and more about fish and or debris encounters with new boat designs. With the trend towards dual rudders (Rio has dual rudders) the boats now have three targets to hit or be hit and even though the dual rudders tend to be much smaller (lower profile) they do not have the benefit of a stainless keel fin to take the brunt or block the blow. Carbon is strong, but a direct hit can and will do damage, as we saw on the Volvo Ocean Race (Around the World) with one of the boats losing a rudder in the first leg. We were lucky in that we just ran into a sunfish, which certainly startled us a bit (probably the fish more), but there was no real damage and we were back off and running in no time after a quick inspection.

SCSN: What are RIO 100’s 2015 plans in SoCal? Will you and most of the S2H crew be aboard for 2015 events? Was handling RIO 100 on a completely different scale than the 82′ Magnitude you have sailed on frequently or similar? For instance, how many people does it take to raise the mainsail, set a kite, change sails etc?

Mike: The RIO schedule is to get on a ship and come to California. The crew gets back together for a couple of days of training and sail testing before the Cabo race this spring, then we’ll do the same for the Transpac to Hawaii this coming summer. After that there was talk of the Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro Race in Feb 2016, but it’s all up in the air. The boat is a true super maxi but is not powered or partially powered by engine or stored power sources. Wild Oats is a fully powered boat, winches, keel, etc. Comanche is partially powered, water and keel, but not winches…that has to do with the world sailing records she will be going after. The Barn Door Trophy in the Transpac is for only manually powered boats, so with our size we should have a good shot at it. The boat is big (the 5 winch pedestals are for something!) and takes the full compliment of crew for sail changes. RIO is 25% bigger than Mag 80 and it seems the speed increases are maybe 15-20% greater and with higher maintained speeds, but the effort for sail handling and changes seems greater than 25%, so it makes for a very physical boat. We took 22 crew in the S2H and are planning a few less for Cabo and Transpac, probably in the 17-18 range.

SCSN: Tell us about the RIO 100 in general and the team that is sailing her. Also, what is a realistic expectation for a 24 hour run in perfect conditions on the Transpac? Could she make it to Cabo in less than 2 days?

Mike: There has been tons written about the boat itself with pictures (awesome in person and seems like a TP100) and I would refer the readers to RIO’s Facebook page or the RIO 100 section on the Live Sail Die website for the boat specifics. The crew is from around the globe and the backgrounds range from Volvo, AC, and the TP52 class. Putting together a program with Gavin Brady, Peter Isler, Mike Howard, Mike Sanderson in the back of the boat and then add in the rest, it does create something special. I’d expect this boat will see a sub 48 hour Cabo Race…part of the problem with a 48 hour Cabo race is Cabo itself where you park up with no breeze drifting off of Cabo. Mike Sanderson and Doyle did a great job making a set of hard sails for reaching that should make the early am transition less painful and put that 48 hour mark in sight. When reviewing the films and speed in the heavy running conditions, going to Hawaii I’d look for daily runs in the high 400 to low 500 miles range and maybe even getting towards 600 mile days when conditions present themselves. I’m looking forward to it!

SCSN: Any other thoughts you would like to share?

Mike: I’d like to thank Manouch for making it all possible.

SCSN: Thanks Mike! Appreciate the time and we will certainly be following RIO 100 in her race adventures in 2015 and beyond.

2015 Rose Bowl Regatta Final Report

From Rich Roberts:


RB Winner

Georgetown’s winning ‘A’ crew of Nevin Snow and Katia DaSilva roll-tack for the finish

While Georgetown University coasted to a comfortable defense of its College championship in the 30th Rose Bowl Regatta Sunday, Newport Harbor High
School kept its foot on the gas to close Point Loma’s eight-year reign in the High School Gold class.

The Sailors’ (that’s their appropriate nickname) B team of Campbell D’Eliscu and Madeline Bubb matched the efforts of the A team’s Sean Segerblom and Briggs D’Eliscu (Campbell’s kid brother) in winning the first and last of their eight races over two days, and also notched two firsts and a second as NHHS swept the Gold A and B groups.

RB Winner 1

Cathedral Catholic of San Diego repeated as winner of the High School Silver class.

Thirty college teams coast to coast and 62 Gold and Silver high schools all sailed 13-foot, 3-inch two-person CFJ dinghies off the beach at the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier in the major youth sailing event hosted by the United States Sailing Center and Pacific Coast Sailing Foundation.

D’Eliscu and Bubb made the most of it with a first and second in the last three races, wrapped around an 11th. A bold last-second burst at the line launched their first place, but when they tried to match it the next time . . .

“We were over early,” D’Eliscu said.

But by the end of the day it didn’t matter. Bold moves often pay off.

RB 2014

“It was a big thing to win this at the start of the year,” D’Eliscu said, “especially among some amazing people.”

Those included A.J. Reiter, skipper of Georgetown’s B boat with Isabelle Luzuriaga as crew. Like many of the competitors, Reiter and Luzuriaga were Californians racing for Eastern schools.

Unlike most Easterners, “We’re very lucky to sail all year,” Reiter said.

The weekend conditions weren’t entirely easy as the teams urged limited knots of speed out of their boats in Saturday’s gentle breeze, and Sunday started worse with 2-4 knots from downtown Long Beach to the northwest before fading completely in early afternoon.


That was a good sign, because soon a steady 8 to 9 knots filled in from the locally reliable southwest to pick up the pace.

Georgetown thus remained a close second in the national college standings to Yale, which didn’t venture West this time, and added the trophy to the World University Championships it won in Italy last summer.


Top finishers

College: 1. Georgetown University, 52 points; 2. U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 89; 3. Fordham U., 98.

High school Gold: 1. Newport Harbor, 61; 2. Corona del Mar 105; 32. Point Loma, 107.

High school Silver: 1. Cathedral Catholic, 79; 2. Windward School, 95; 3. The Bishop’s School, 101.




Rich Roberts


cell 310.766.6547


Sail On and Godspeed – Barney Flam

Long Beach and Southern California sailing legend Barney Flam has passed away.  He was living life on his terms to the very end notes his son Steve Flam.  He recently enjoyed celebrating Christmas and his 90th birthday with all of his family including his 3 grandsons.

Barney Flam

Your SCSN editor spent much of his youth into adulthood sailing with this  incredible man on his Cal 40 named Flambuoyant, highlighted by competing successfully in multiple Congressional Cups on some great teams that Barney assembled and led, that included his wife Evelyn who handled the foredeck and his young son Steve at the time.

Evelyn Flam

Steve of course developed and grew into a very successful sailor himself carrying on where his father left off.  Another highlight for this SCSN editor was sailing with Barney on his IOR Doug Peterson 41 winning the Lipton Cup (ahead of Dennis Conner on his Peterson design) with an incredible crew that Barney put together that included at that time Long Beach greats Rod Davis, Roy Cundiff and Hank Schofield among others.

Barney Flam

Barney was also one of the original Long Beach Syndicate owners that acquired Ragtime to compete and win the 1973 Transpac by 4 minutes over Windward Passage, that effectively launched the ULDB phenomenon to SoCal and changed the sailing world.

Barney Flam certainly left an indelible mark having personally been a part of steering and developing the SoCal yacht racing scene that lives on to this day.

RIP my friend.