LONG BEACH, Calif., June 1, 2019 – David Wood, the 2018 Champion of Long Beach Yacht Club’s annual Junior Match Racing Invitational tops the leaderboard of this year’s event, despite forfeiting two matches so as not to miss Prom.
The event is a two-day, Grade 4, six-team, match racing event sailed in modified Solings on Alamitos Bay.
Before leaving the dock, the 18-year-old Wood, representing Balboa Yacht Club, said that consistency was the goal of the day. By the time he left the course after five races, the 51st World Sailing-rated sailor was the only unbeaten skipper. His early departure left the other five competitors hopeful of gaining some ground, but only fellow BYC skipper Jeffrey Petersen came close.
Petersen, who bested Wood in March’s Butler Cup, lost the head-to-head match in the day’s first race, giving Wood the tiebreaking edge. At the end of the day, half way through the second round-robin of the competition, Wood topped the leaderboard with five wins and two losses, followed by Petersen also at 5-2.
The LBYC teams, in a freeway-series type of matchup against the nearby BYC teams, had a day that matched the winds; shifty and inconsistent.
Although each of the skippers won at least two races, the day was an example of how important experience is. Wood has sailed 20 graded events since 2016 and Petersen 11 since mid-2017. Both of them have sailed in international events, traveling as far as Australia to race.
Most of the matches were won or lost in the five-minute pre-starts, when the sailors are jockeying for position to cross the start line first or be on a favored side of the start line, potentially making maneuvers that result in their competitors drawing a penalty.
It’s all about good boat handling; being in the right place at the right time and being able to anticipate or control an opponent, race officials said. It’s boat handling first, then learning to thinking strategically about what you’re doing with the boat.
Principle Race Officer Alexis Hall said this event was developed specifically so that junior sailors could get a jump start into match racing. The event is considered an excellent opportunity for match racers to polish their skills leading to the Rose Cup. Less experienced match racers have an opportunity to get a better grasp of the sport, during daily debriefings with coaches and umpires. However, Saturday’s debriefing was moved to just ahead of Sunday’s skipper’s meeting to allow other participants to attend proms and juggle school activities.
Hall, a second-year Fashion Institute student has served as PRO for eight events and was just named LBYC’s Rookie PRO of the year.
Sunday’s racing will complete the second round robin matches, then the Semi Final, Petit Final and Final race.
The boats racing in today’s event, are believed to be the largest yacht-club owned fleet of Solings in the country. They were built between 1961 and 1967, bought in pairs as of 2009, later modified by and maintained by LBYC. The modifications were to simplify the boats so they could be used for learning, rather than being the Olympic sailing machines they were initially designed for. The boats are 26.75’ LOA with 6.25’ beam.