‘Classic Long Beach’ conditions wrap-up three-day regatta
LONG BEACH, CA 23 June 2019 – -The 2019 edition of Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week wrapped up with a bang, as winds tickled the 20s and racers were tested in the final day of the regatta hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club and Alamitos Bay Yacht Club.
More than 100 teams participated in the June 21 to 23 event, which drew sailors from the western US and neighboring nations, plus Australia and Germany.
Wind conditions steadily built over the three day regatta, as did the excitement, as racers competed in a series of seven windward/leeward or three random leg races, in both one-design and PHRF fleets.
In many cases, it was a classic scenario of ‘the rich getting richer’ as precision starts and crew work paid off.
Vesper dominated the TP52 fleet for the second year in a row, with an impressive 1-1-2-1-1-1-1 record. Skipper David Team credited his crew for the win, adding, “The Race Committee did an incredible job and the conditions in Long Beach were amazing!”
Mike Pentecost and Nice Asp grabbed the lead in the 20-boat Viper 640 fleet, and never let go, taking the win. Struntje Light controlled the lively Farr 40 fleet with a series of podium finishes; DistraXion, an XP44 racing in Random Leg B, took a bullet in each of its distance races. In PHRF B Lugano finished in first with a solid 13-point advantage over that division’s runner-up. Elyxir’s 2-1-1 record in Random Leg A won the Ely family the Kent Golison Family Trophy for the second year in a row.
In other cases, it was a three-day skirmish for position. Bruce Golison’s Midlife Crisis and Jeff Janov’s Minor Threat were neck-in-neck the entire weekend, with Golison edging out Janov in a tie-breaker in the J/70 Class, receiving the Satariano Boat of the Week honors for their efforts. In third place, and also the top Corinthian boat, was Chris Kostanecki in Jennifer.
Racing for the Schock 35 Pacific Coast Championship, Code Blue and Whiplash tussled on the course and in the protest room. In the end, one point separated the two Long Beach rivals, with Code Blue coming out on top.
Hailing from Santa Barbara Yacht Club, the crew of Argo 3 took PHRF A over Aussie Airwaves, who was consoled with the LBRW Travel Trophy for venturing the furthest distance to compete. The J/109 Raptor snared first over Off the Porch in PHRF C. Holding off challengers Shadowfax (who took second) and Dos Amigos (third), in Random Leg C was Todd Wheatley and Gator, whose first in that class also garnered him the PHRF Boat of the Week Award.
In the always thrilling battle for the Catalina 37 National Championship, LBYC’s Team DH3 recaptured the title for the fifth time in nine years, with Staff Commodore Dave Hood at the helm.
Following the first day of races (Friday) DH3 and Keith Ives’ Team D-Ives Plus were tied for first; but by Saturday afternoon DH3 had a three-point lead. So it was no surprise that in the first of today’s two races, Ives attacked. To spectators, it appeared Ives and Hood had their own private match race going on, in the middle of the 11-boat Catalina 37 fleet. But Ives’ aggression backfired. Taking Hood up, he incurred a penalty; and in the busting 18-knot breeze, his penalty turn went afoul. Ives lost his chance at the title but came back strong to win the final race of the day and secure silver. That effort also helped ABYC win the Yacht Club Challenge, along with Chris Raab in Viper 640s and Shadowfax.
“We have rivalries on many levels,” said DH3 tactician Randy Smith, of the tug-of-war with Ives’ Team. “We compete against each other in big boats, ABYC versus LBYC, in the Catalina 37s … but we’re all the best of friends and have a ton of mutual respect.”
“However, when we go out there in hand-to-hand combat, we don’t care who’s friends with who!” he added with a smile.
Smith attributed their win to “incredibly strong teamwork and effort.”
“Every position on the boat has the best person out there. The team is incredibly strong, with the utmost attention to detail.” About skipper Hood, he said, “Dave started sailing late in life, and I’ve been with him almost since the beginning. I’ve watched him grow over the last 10 years, and it’s been a lot of fun.”
Rivalries and competition aside, “fun” is a key ingredient in the 40-year success of Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week.
‘This event is like a family reunion in a small town,” pointed out LBYC Commodore Camille Daniels. “All your friends get together once a year to race and celebrate the Summer Solstice. Just think. We have the longest day of the year to have the best party!”
Daniels said cooperation between LBYC and ABYC is also a key part of the recipe. “We have members from each club on the committees, working together. Each of our clubs has enough resources to do a regatta maybe half the the size – but together, it’s magic. We have three professionally run race circles and have had up to 160 boats compete at Race Week. That’s a big deal!”
During LBRW, sailors from near and far contend in up to three days of racing on three different race courses: one inside the Federal breakwater and two outside. Each course is astutely managed and run by race officials from ABYC, LBYC and other area clubs, winning the organizers kudos from participants.
ABYC Commodore David Schack added, “We’ve worked together on this regatta for years, so can tap into the talents from both clubs, which helps us do a really good job at both the racing and the parties. Because you can’t have one without the other!”
“The racing is great, and we get a good cross-section of the sailing community,” Schack continued. “It’s great to mix the big boat and the one-design boat and the small boat sailors. And the terrific vibe we have at the parties when we get everybody together is so cool. It really unifies our clubs, and the Bay.”
The effort Long Beach Yacht Club and Alamitos Bay Yacht Club put into this event is impressive, said Bruce Cooper, principal of Ullman Sails and title sponsor of LBRW. “As a local business, we appreciate the cooperation and expertise of the clubs, from the racing to the parties. It’s seamless, and a lot of fun for the sailors.”
“Long Beach always delivers,” Cooper added, “from the sailing conditions to the level of competition to the camaraderie. We are really proud to sponsor this event each year.”
“I just love this event,” added Commodore Daniels. “Whether we are working together, racing together or partying together, everybody enjoys each others’ company. We enjoy having their members at our club and on our boats, and they make us feel welcome. And in the evenings, you see your friends, buddies and mates you’ve sailed with over the years; you see their kids and the families and keep building the tradition. And I think that’s what we need: more families and more of a community feeling in sailing, to get the sport back up there, and build it up again.”
Cover Photo Credit: Tom Walker