LONG BEACH, CA 24 June 2018 – – It all came together on the final day of Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week. The wind blew, the sun shone, dolphins leapt, and racers smiled.
On the last of three days of highly competitive racing, in this popular perennial regatta hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club and Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, sailors got ‘the whole enchilada.’
A gentle breeze from the south filled in, bringing with it a mild sea state – nothing like Saturday’s churning grey waters. Marine life came out to play, and sunny skies warmed the sailors’ backs. And from the standpoint of the sport, the heat was on!
The always-intense racing for the Catalina 37 National Championship title resulted in a three-way tie going into the final race of the series. Team ABYC Juniors, Dave Hood’s LBYC entry, and the Southwestern Yacht Club team were neck-in-neck entering Race Seven.
The local Long Beach clubs had faced a strong challenge by SWYC’s team, headed by Shala Youngerman, who showed winning form right out of the gate. With “great starts, tactics and clean roundings,” they took first in the opening bout of the event, and two more bullets in Races Five and Six. On a winning streak, they were within striking distance of the title.
But Team ABYC Juniors had a different idea.
“The pressure was definitely on,” said skipper and commodore Kevin Brown. “In this fleet, anything can happen: it’s so tight you can go from first to last, pretty quickly!”
“We were able to keep calm and keep our heads in – and out – of the boat; keep our focus, and keep our fingers crossed. Because even when you sail clean, you need a little bit of luck,” said Brown. They held off their rivals on the final twice-around course, to win the Championship. It marks the first time since 2014 ABYC has won the Catalina 37 title; and more than half the winning team members were Juniors.
SWYC was competing as part of the Yacht Club Challenge with neighboring San Diego Yacht Club; as several members of Youngerman’s team got a head start practicing for this fall’s Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One Design (LEMWOD) challenge. Raced in these same custom, equalized Catalina 37 keelboats, getting time onboard is key.
Another team with their eyes on the future, representing California Yacht Club, finished fifth. “We brought our team to get more time in the boat (Catalina 37) and a little more race-ready for the LEMWOD,” said crew member Mary Stuyvesant. “The high level of competition we experienced here is definitely making us better racers.”
Things were a bit more clear-cut in the Schock 35 division, where Code Blue blew away the competition: defending their Pacific Coast Championship title with a nearly perfect race record of 1-1-1-1-1-1-2.
Bob Marcus has owned Code Blue since 2007, although he’s participated in Race Week since 1988. “It’s always a blast, so we keep on coming back.” He lauded the Race Committee, saying, “They communicate well, give us all sorts of heads up and warnings, nice and crisp. It makes for a great regatta.” Marcus added, “I’ve had the same team for three years. They’re all terrific sailors and work with great synergy and very little direction. I just drive.”
Hundreds of competitors representing 51 yacht clubs from up and down the Pacific Coast, and four nations, competed in the 2018 Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week.
“We’re proud to be a long-time sponsor of this event,” said Bruce Cooper, principal of Ullman Sails Newport Beach, and event sponsor for more than 30 years. “We believe in supporting local sailing, which is easy to do when there are great regattas like this.”
Attributing the success to the excellent venue, and expert race management and organization by ABYC and LBYC, he said supporting it provides “the perfect opportunity to show our appreciation to the competitors.” Catering to a diverse fleet, from Viper 640s to Pac 52s, Cooper called the three-day regatta “a premier event” – and he would know. He has competed world-wide, and recently returned from the Newport, RI to Bermuda Yacht Race.
“What makes this event special is it combines really great competition with a chance to catch up with old friends. Everyone I’ve seen has a smile on their face. They come with a smile and leave with a smile.”
As title sponsor, Cooper spent several years driving the media boat, visiting the three courses each day, and checking on clients and friends along the way. When he became active in the J/70 fleet though, he added another hat – joining the fray as competitor. “Moving from a sponsor-spectator, to competitor, I’m definitely burning the candle at both ends – racing during the day (on his J/70 USA 32) and handling sail repairs at night! But it is worth it. It’s like Christmas morning, when you know you’re going to get to do race week. Whether there’s a lot of wind, or not, it’s always some of the best racing you’ll have all year.”
Other results include: in the thrilling Pac 52 class, top three finishes in all seven races led Vesper to a first-place finish. Margaritaville clung to the top of the leaderboard in PHRF A; while Kite35 turned the tables on Picosa to win PHRF B/C and earn Boat of the Week honors. Rival was unrivalled, in PHRF D; with five bullets over three days, Caper triumphed in J/120s. Random leg entries, competing in one race a day saw Todd Wheatley’s Gator edge out Dos Amigos Dos in RL-D. DistraXion, with two bullets, won the tie-breaker over Aussie Airwaves in RL-C. Elyxirheld off attack by Triumph, to win RL-B; also acing the Golison and Kent Family Trophy. Bretwalda, with a perfect 1-1-1 record, won RL-A. And recogized as the team traveling the furthest distance was Aussie Airwaves, representing the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.
Nice ASP nipped It’s All Good in Viper 640s, by one point. Following a lengthy protest hearing, Argyle Campbell’s Sox maintained footing at the top of the J/70 fleet, with Midlife Crisis second and Minor Threat third. Pat Toole’s 3 Big Dogs topped the Corinthian fleet, and was also an impressive fifth overall.
Coquille was disqualified in Race Six moving Blade 2 to the top of the Farr 40 class. ABYC unseated friendly foe LBYC in the Yacht Club Challenge, based on the cumulative score of three pre-designated yachts, which must include one Catalina 37.
For a complete list of results please visit www.lbrw.org.