Long Beach, Calif., October 13, 2019 — The Long Beach Yacht Club Campbell Cup Regatta got off to a late start today, but there was no holding back on the fun and spirited competition, in the 14th running of this treasured event.
Light conditions had PRO John Busch postpone racing until 1:00 PM when southwesterly breezes finally materialized. That was enough for the fleet of seven Farr 40s and three WC70s to pull off three races. But fickle breeze produced fickle results.
Mick and Marlene Shlens’ Blade II clung to first place at the end of today’s races, followed closely by Dark Star and Foil.
“We went out there expecting a light breeze to fill in and build and go right as it always does here: classic Long Beach conditions,” explained Tony Rey, racing on Blade II. “Everybody thinks they know what to do in Long Beach, that you have to go right. But today was that day that left was actually pretty good most of the time,” Rey continued. “There were plenty of times you could find some real nuggets out there on the left, which made it interesting. We got it pretty wrong in the first race, but got lucky and got it right and won the next two.”
Even so, Rey expects the podium spots will be ‘wide open’ tomorrow, in a fleet which is already primed from the recent Farr 40 Worlds.
Just three WC 70s graced the racecourse, where true to their names, Bolt bolted to the top of the leaderboard after Race One, but Catapult catapulted to the lead after Races Two and Three.
Catapult skipper Joel Ronning, sailing under the St. Francis Yacht Club burgee, said Catapult has “a good bloodline” – originally Pyewacket: a four-time winner of this event. A strong proponent of the 70s, Ronning credited tactician Peter Isler with “beating the drum” to rally the 70 Class to compete in the Campbell Cup. “This is a great boat and a great class,” Ronning said. “There are a lot of 70s still on the West Coast – maybe nine or 10 – and we want to get back out there and race. I want to get to know the other skippers and keep helping to promote and progress this class.”
For decades the ULDB 70s dominated and defined West Coast racing. After the heydays of the 1980s and 1990s, the sleds split off to ports afar and other performance fleets moved in.
To spotlight and support the fleet, LBYC member Mike Campbell launched the 70s Invitational in 2006, providing the big boats a fall race venue at LBYC. After Campbell’s untimely passing in 2008, the regatta was rededicated in his honor as the Campbell Cup.
“Our good friend Mike was the guiding force behind this event and we are dedicated to keeping it going strong and committed to his memory,” explained LBYC Commodore Camille Daniels. “It’s great to see the 70s out here; it brings back good memories. We’re really hopeful the 70s are successful in pulling the fleet back together; it would be fantastic to have more return, plus the 52s and any other big boats that want to come join us in the Fall.”
Today’s racing took place in the ocean off Seal Beach beneath sunny skies, with southwesterly breezes ranging from five to 12 knots. Competition continues tomorrow, Sunday, October 20, starting at noon. After the conclusion of two more planned races, a prize-giving reception will be held at LBYC at approximate 4:00 PM.
Photos by Betsy (Crowfoot) Senescu for LBYC