LONG BEACH, Calif., October 20, 2019 – – Light conditions persisted, as did the frontrunners in Farr 40 and WC 70 divisions, on Day Two of the Long Beach Yacht Club Campbell Cup Regatta.
Joel Ronning’s WC 70 Catapult added two more bullets to the scoreboard, finishing ahead of competitors with a solid 2-1-1-1-1 score to win the Campbell Cup perpetual trophy. Meanwhile, Mick and Marlene Shlens defended their championship title aboard Blade II over a half-dozen Farr 40 competitors, battling through lead changes at both windward marks and downwind gates.
Ten teams turned out to race in this year’s Campbell Cup, which was originally organized in 2006 by LBYC member Mike Campbell. Campbell successfully campaigned two 70-raters: Victoria, designed by Alan Andrews, and the Kernan 70 Peligroso; and created the fall regatta to spotlight big boat racing. When Campbell passed away two years later, the event was renamed as a tribute to his accomplishments in and support of sailing. His wife Victoria was on-hand Sunday at the prize-giving to carry on the Campbell legacy.
Conditions were mild for the two-day regatta with idyllic temperatures and southwesterly breeze topping just eight knots today.
“It would have been a good day for golf,” said Ronning, whose Minneapolis-based crew of Catapult have more than a just weekend in California to brag about, having won the regatta in a near sweep.
“But it was a great day of sailing,” Ronning conceded, and one of the reasons Long Beach is one of his favorite venues to sail. A veteran and second-place finisher in Transpac 2017, Ronning admitted he prefers sailing around the cans to blue-water racing and hopes to encourage other WC 70 owners to come out and play. He says he’ll return to the west coast next year for the Hot Rum Series and Yachting Cup, and will definitely be a boat to watch on the circuit in 2020.
While the WC 70s ran a 1.5nm course off Sunset Beach, the Farr 40s windward-leewards were 1.25nm, twice around.
Marlene Shlens, co-owner of Blade II, gave credit for their win to, “our outstanding crew, and a great tactician who was really on his game,” referring to Peter ‘Pedro’ Isler. “The boats were very competitive and positions changed a lot,” Ms. Shlens said. She noted a port/starboard situation at the start of Race Two which mandated a 360-degree penalty turn, during which her foot got tangled in a sheet. Despite the bumble, which saw Blade II dip to fourth around the windward mark, the team fought back to a second-place finish: giving them a solid seven-point lead over second-place Dark Star. Foil finished third.
Although the Farr 40 fleet is roughly two decades old, that pedigree is what makes the boat so enjoyable to race, said Blade II’s Tony Rey. “The boats are all a little older – but in good shape – and have varying levels of newer or older equipment and sail inventory.” At any moment, he noted, “any of us could be the fastest boat out there,” with the optimal suite for the conditions. “If you’re in the right corner of the racecourse and set up well; right in the sweet spot of your jib or spinnaker, you can be the fastest boat, regardless of equipment. It’s more about sailing skill, and that’s what makes it a high -level racing.”
Long Beach Yacht Club was lauded by competitors for “running great events, with a fantastic Race Committee.” Keen hospitality was extolled too, as sailors were hosted to morning breakfast and post-race beer, and beefy hors d’oeuvre buffets post-race. Race Chair was Cheri Busch, with John Busch as PRO, assisted by Race Director Jess Gerry.