DETROIT, Mich. (August 18, 2019) — Allie Blecher (Long Beach, Calif.) won the 17th U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship with a 2-0 victory over Giselle Camet Nyenhuis (San Diego, Calif.) in Sunday’s Final.
Blecher, the 2010 Quantum Collegiate Female Sailor of the Year and a member of the US Sailing Team in 2013, won the Allegra Knapp Mertz Trophy for the first time in her second attempt. She finished runner-up in last year’s championship held in San Francisco. This year she won an abbreviated final that was reduced to a best-of-three from a best-of-five due to thunderstorms in the Detroit area.
Long Beach, Calif., August 11, 2019 – Dustin Durant continued his winning streak today and locked in his place at the US Match Racing Championship Finals at St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco this October 3 through October 6.
After a 3-year hiatus from match racing, Durant and crew have officially got their groove back. After the 8 and 0 record yesterday, Durant said that he was a little nervous at the start, but following a practice race and logging their first win, it felt that he and his five crewmembers got back in the groove. “The teamwork was there,” the LBYC sailor said.
Given that Durant is a four-time Congressional Cup Skipper and a two-time California Dreamin’ Series winner, and following yesterday’s sweep, the top-placed finish today was not a surprise. But with two races scheduled for today, anything could have happened.
The 31-year-old skipper shared the win with Shane Young on main, Neil Rietdyk and Wes Bryne on trim, Jack Bazz in the pit and Ian Paice upfront on the bow.
San Diego Yacht Club’s Chris Nesbitt will be one of the skippers Durant will face in October. Nesbitt also had a second strong day. Currently ranked 29th in the world and 5th in the US, Nesbitt competed here earlier this year in both the Butler Cup and Ficker Cup and has already qualified for the US Match Racing Championship. He won his first match today against Trent Turigliatto who arrived for today’s races with a sprained ankle and (adding insult to injury), incurred a penalty at the start.
Nesbitt’s second loss of the series came in the second race, and for a second time to Durant.
The second skipper qualified for the Championships is Cameron Feves, who won a qualifier in Chicago earlier this year and is the reigning Rose Cup winner. Feves didn’t have a strong showing Saturday, but he and his crew started to get to a better feel for the complexities of the Catalina 37s by the end of racing yesterday and put up a strong fight today in an attempt to break the three-way tie for third.
The day’s first flight saw all three seasoned skippers, Nesbitt, Liz Hjorth and Durant facing off against their younger rivals and schooled them handily. With the win in that flight, Hjorth, sailing for California Yacht Club, secured third place. Momentarily.
In the second flight, Feves turned up the heat, winning the race and drawing her back into the fold.
When LBYC’s sailing coach, Trent Turigliatto beat Colton Gerber in the last race, both young rivals had scored a win against Hjorth, which resulted in how the third-place position finishers ranked.
Colton Gerber, a 23-year old Corpus Christi, Texas resident sailing for Ann Arbor Yacht Club finished in last place but will go home with a boatload of experience. A lengthy collegiate sailing resume garnered an invitation to this event. But the Catalina 37s, the largest boat he and the crew have sailed, challenged the team.
“Boat handling deficiencies caught up to us pretty quick,” Gerber said. “Trial by fire, it’s how it works in sailing.” He felt good about the progress he and the crew made by the end of the day and looked to improve boat speed day. The trip to California was also an alumni reunion of sorts as his entire crew is fellow University of Michigan alumni, with one crewmember in his senior year.
Even Parker Mitchell, who handles the main for Nesbitt, said the boats really put boat skills to the test. “It’s hard to win races without strong boat handling skills,” he said.
This race was also the first time Feves had sailed the Catalina 37. Along with the bigger boat, he picked up a few crew members with varying degree of experience. The 18-year-old, sailing for Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club, said they learned as they went; catching a couple of flags that didn’t go their way, but overall, were pleased with the progress made in just 10 races.
The USMRC Finals in San Francisco will be sailed in J/22s, boats that both Nesbitt and Feves have experience with. “We want to win that one,” Feves said.
This qualifier event was sailed in Long Beach Sailing Foundation’s fleet of identical Catalina 37 sailboats donated by Frank Butler, the president of Catalina Yachts, for use in Long Beach Yacht Club’s signature event, the Congressional Cup. They are used in many events throughout the year that test many a skipper’s sailing skills and the further development of those skills.
Although this was also Turigliatto’s debut as skipper on the Catalina 37, the young racer has frequently sailed as crew on the boats for other skippers. And as Durant’s win today affirms, experience, teamwork, and local knowledge is a recipe for success.
Racing started before noon today, on a course off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. Winds of 9 – 10 knots filled in early creating elevated sailing conditions typical of late afternoons.
Egnot-Johnson (NZL) survives a late charge by Takahashi (NZL) to win the finals 3-2.
NEWPORT BEACH, CA (Saturday, July 20, 2019) – After five days, 22 round-robins, semi-final matches and final matches, which all took the full five races to determine the first team to win three, the 53rd Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship hosted the Balboa Yacht Club, Newport Beach, California, has a new champion, Nick Egnot-Johnson of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. READ MORE…………………………………..
Long Beach, Calif., July 18, 2019 — It was family fun day at the 32nd annual Jessica Uniack Memorial Beach to Bay Race Thursday, July 18! The event for seven to 17-year old’s saw 122 boats race along a five-mile course that took 12 classes of dinghies, helmed by 144 young sailors, from the corner of Alamitos Beach near Island Grissom, off Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier to the finish line by the long dock of the race’s host, Long Beach Yacht Club.
Principal Race Officer Alexis Hall, a former coach for racers in this event, had the first class of boats underway at 10:30 a.m. following a 30-minute delay until the wind picked up. It was the largest race the 20-year-old PRO Rookie of the Year had organized. For some of the boats, it’s the only race of the year they leave the protection of Alamitos Bay and venture into the waters of the harbor.
Although last to start, the 29-boat CFJ fleet quickly weaved through the other competitors. Tate Christopher, of Alamitos Bay Yacht Club and crew Stewart McCaleb, crossed the finish at about 12:30 p.m. to claim the overall winner title. The pair were just eight boat lengths ahead of LBYC’s Alex Lech with his crew; brother Nicky Lech, who were followed closely by twins Scott Pearl and Chloe Pearl of ABYC.
“It was a great day on the water,” said Race Director and event Chairman Jess Gerry. “With clearing blue skies, winds that started at 5 to 7 knots and building to 7 to 9 created simply perfect conditions for these young sailors.”
The event was very much family-friendly and spectator-friendly, with coaches and parents cheering on the youngsters from shore, the pier or in dinghies, he said. In addition to the Lech’s and the Pearls who sailed together, Christopher’s brother Gage (who placed first in the O’pen Bic fleet) and 18 other sets of siblings participated.
With the majority of racers representing local yacht and sailing clubs, the race also had a strong neighborhood, community, and social vibe.
After the race, the kids quickly put away their boats and gear and hit the poolside deck for the burger bash. It was a scene from Caddyshack by the pool, Gerry said of the fun and camaraderie shared by the competitors.
“Beach to Bay is a regatta that both the coaches and sailors look forward to all summer long,” said Hall. “There is something special about watching 120 kids race with big smiles on their face and then enjoy a fun pool party.”
The burger bash was topped only by the awards ceremony where the Jessica Uniack Perpetual Trophy was awarded to ABYC’s Cole Barth for being the winning sailor in the largest fleet – the Sabot C3s.
The event is named for Jessica Uniack, a dedicated volunteer and supporter of junior sailing who died in 1994. Her husband, Staff Commodore Bill Uniack, attended Thursday’s race. Her son Billy Uniack helped the kids launch their boats, assisted with the recording finish times and presenting trophies.
At the ceremony, LBYC’s Preston Woodward picked up yet another trophy!
Last month, Woodward and Lech crewed for Trent Turigliatto at the Junior Match Racing Invitational and placed third. Yesterday, the 14-year-old borrowed a Laser Radial from LBYC coach Sawyer Gibbs; raced it for the first time and won the class.
‘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.”
LONG BEACH, CA 22 June 2019 – – Racers were rockin’ and rollin’ on and off the water at the 2019 Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week here today. Ullman Sails LBRW is hosted annually by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club and Long Beach Yacht Club.
Conditions on Day Two of the three-day event cranked up from a modest 11 to 13 knots at the onset, to sporty seas and breeze in the high teens by late afternoon. Buoy racers in 10 different divisions, competing on three courses, enjoyed a trio of lively races; while Random Leg racers took a scenic tour of San Pedro Bay in distance courses ranging from 12 to 23nm. In that category, Elyxir moved to the top of the leaderboard of RL A; DistraXion posted a second bullet and firmed up their lead in RL B; while Gator snapped up first place in RL C.
Midlife Crisis and Minor Threat ended Day Two tied for first in J/70s. Amidst that competitive 18 boat fleet is Ullman Sails owner and LBRW sponsor Bruce Cooper, racing aboard USA32, in sixth place.
Ullman Sails has been hosting a nightly debrief for J/70 racers, and tonight’s talk was aptly about ‘dealing with chop’ and ‘communications onboard in heavy and noisy conditions.’
Holding a 10-point lead over rivals in the Viper 640 fleet was Nice Asp. Code Blue blew Whiplash out of first place in Schock 35s, with a 2-2-1-1-1 record. Also clocking only top-two finishes was Raptor, in PHRF C: 2-1-1-2-2. In PHRF A, Santa Barbara Yacht Club’s Argo stood in first place, with Lugano the frontrunner in PHRF B. In the Catalina 37 Nationals, a home-town rivalry shaped up, with LBYC teams DH3 moving to first place and D-Ives nipping at their heels.
Today’s conditions provided spectacular viewing for competitors, spectators, and the 70-some volunteers on the water. A panorama of colorful sails spanned the horizon atop white-capped seas, where dolphins and sea lions cavorted.
Nowhere was the excitement more evident than Bravo course, where the big boats played. Farr 40 skipper Rick Goebel, flying a Canadian flag off a hockey stick astern Insanity, said the racing was, “not for the faint of heart.” Insanity, in second place after today’s racing, is tuning up for the Farr 40 Worlds, to be held here in October, and illustrates the international pedigree of LBRW racers. While Goebel is Canadian, Farr 40 leader Struntje hails from Germany; TP52 competitors Nimbus and Patches are from Mexico. PHRF A fleet’s Kite35 is also from Canada, and Aussie Airwaves from the Land Down Under.
Sailors were rockin’ and rollin’ each night at LBRW as well. Following up Friday evening’s rousing party on the lawn at ABYC was a Mount Gay Rum party poolside at LBYC tonight. Rivalries melted as friendly competitors danced and shared racing tales and cocktails as the sun sank low.
Sailing continues Sunday June 23 for LBRW daily and overall honors, plus the Kent Golison Family Trophy, Satariano (one-design) Boat of the Week and PHRF Boat of the Week awards, the Yacht Club Challenge, Catalina 37 National and and Schock 35 Pacific Coast championship titles. Races start at 11:55am tomorrow, with a prize-giving at LBYC at 5:00pm.
LONG BEACH, CA 21 June 2019 – – Right on cue on Solstice Day, the grey skies cleared, the sun came out, and the guns fired, announcing the start of Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week. Summer has arrived in Southern California!
On Day One of Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week, competitors were treated to delightful conditions for the first of three days of racing. Seasonal ‘June gloom’ gave way to sunny skies and southwesterly breezes of six to ten knots, with nearly 1,000 sailors competing on windward-leeward and random-leg courses on San Pedro Bay.
Hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club and Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, LBRW is a favorite tradition of sailors for 40 years, with competitors hailing from five states plus Australia, Germany, Mexico and Canada. The event will continue through Sunday June 23.
One of many trophies and titles up for grabs this weekend is the Catalina 37 National Championship. The Catalina 37s are an elite fleet: designed for the prestigious Congressional Cup regatta, this custom keelboat exists only here in Long Beach. Racers come from far and wide to charter these one-design race boats, which are owned and maintained to identical standards by the Long Beach Sailing Foundation. This year’s lineup at LBRW includes teams from San Diego to Tacoma and several ports in between, plus neighboring Arizona.
The battle for last year’s National title came down to a three-way tie, as racers entered the final match of the series. That clash, between Team ABYC Juniors, LBYC’s DH3 entry, and Southwestern Yacht Club, went to ABYC. But with ABYC unable to mount a defending campaign in 2019 (ABYC skipper Kevin Brown is this year’s LBRW co-chair) the door was wide open for new challengers.
Hearing the call was first-timer Kyle Collins and his King Harbor Yacht Club crew. Collins is a 20-year-old, third generation seafarer from nearby San Pedro. A sailor for most of those two decades, he has competed in everything from dinghy racing to Transpac, and last year won the J/70 Youth Championship.
New to the Catalina 37 boat, Collins and the KHYC Youth Foundation team – a multigenerational co-ed effort – none-the-less launched off the start line and led the fleet from pole to pole in Race One. “These boats are so identical, it makes the racing really close,” noted Collins. “The racing is really tactical, so you have to be on top of it for the start and into the first shift.” They followed their win in Race One with a sixth place finish in Race Two, ending the day in third. First place went to Team D-Ives, with a 3-2 finish. After a superb recovery from an OCS in Race One, DH3 Racing rebounded to second overall, with two days of racing still ahead.
The largest fleet of the event, the Viper 640s, saw Nice Asp advance to the top of the leaderboard. Midlife Crisis edged out Minor Threat by one point in the J/70 class.
The Schock 35 Whiplash ended the day with two bullets; so did Vesper in the TP52 division. Argo and Mexican Divorce are tied for first in PHRF A, as are the Farr 40s Insanity and Blade II. Just three points separate frontrunners in PHRF B: Lugano, Rival and TBD; while Raptor holds the lead in PHRF C.
In the Random Leg Division, A Class boat Elyxir trails Deception by a small margin; DistraXion topped Random Leg B.
While Gator led the eight-boat Random Leg C fleet, Dos Amigos won points for heroic action. Skipper Bob Hubbard said he spotted a small powerboat along the race course sitting low in the water, with the two crew frantically bailing. His crew doused the spinnaker and went to the aid of the distressed boat – standing by until rescue arrived. After redress, Dos Amigos stood in second.
But much can change over the next two days, as racing continues tomorrow and Sunday, with starts at 11:55AM. Following today’s post-race festivities at ABYC, is Saturday’s Mount Gay Rum Party at LBYC with music, dancing, complimentary hors d’oeuvres and no host bar. Also at LBYC, complimentary coffee and espresso drinks are served each morning at the Buzz Bar, hosted by U.S. Sailing.