(Long Beach, CA)- The 35th version of the West's largest keelboat regatta, Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week, was staged by neighboring Long Beach YC and Alamitos Bay YC, and despite the absence of the familiar white-capped race courses and breeze below the usual level the competition was quite lively. With many one-design classes and a number of offshore classes, the event provided a mix of sailing that is unique in the SoCal region. While one-designs were be doing the standard windward-leewards, the offshore boats had a choice of “random-leg” courses or basic buoy-racing.
For the J/70s, it was their debut in LBRW and it was also their West Coast Championships, a World’s qualifier for the top four boats. In the end, it was long-time class veteran David Ullman (and also regatta sponsor) who ran off with the top spot with five 1sts a 2nd and 3rd. Said Dave, “the wind wasn't big but it was good enough to sail. It was quite shifty, but we were always sailing.” Explaining his secret for doing so well in the event against other top teams, Dave said, “I’ve been sailing these boats for a year and a half, more than any of these people here. It makes a difference. Unlike many world one-design classes, the 70s are easy to sail with your wife and kids and limit hiking.”
Sailing his best J/70 regatta so far was Santa Barbara YC’s Scott Deardorff, sailing a very consistent series in the top four to take second place with 26 pts. Sailing with Scott for the series was San Diego J/24 veteran Chris Snow. Taking third was Newport Harbor YC’s Tom Garrett on SLOOP JOHN B with 31 pts. Fourth, was John Fuller’s BLISS and fifth was Bennet Greenwald’s veteran team on PERSEVERANCE.
The always competitive J/120 class had a half-dozen very strong teams from both the San Diego and Los Angeles area fleets. As expected, the racing was amongst the closest of any of the one-design fleets sailing in Long Beach, just three points separating the top four boats after seven races! Closing with a final 1st place, Chuck Nichols and crew on CC RIDER won with just 17 pts, two pts clear of the next three boats (who were essentially in a three-way tie). By taking 2nd in the final race, Gary Winton’s SHENANIGANS crew took the tie-breaker over John Laun’s CAPER, both tied at 19 pts each. Just shy of grabbing a spot on the podium was John Snook’s JIM, closing with a 1-3 for a total of 20 pts. Fifth was Peter Bretschger’s ADIOS with 32 pts.
Like a bolt of lightning, Tom Brott’s very capable Santa Barbara YC crew on the J/109 ELECTRA took class honors in their half-dozen boat class with three 1sts, two 2nds and two 3rds for 13 pts total. Second to fifth was nearly a four-way tie, much like their J/120 colleagues. It was Heinz Butner’s RAPTOR that took second with 22 pts sailing an equally strong regatta as ELECTRA, save for the fact they had to absorb an SCP penalty in the first race. Third to fifth were only two points in arrears! Winning the tie-breaker for third was Bryce Benjamin’s PERSISTENCE over John Shulze’s LINSTAR, a 23 pts each. Fifth was Chris Mewes’s SHADOWFAX with 25 pts.
With the proverbial “bull in a china shop” amongst them, the J/24s probably knew they were in for a fight for the top of the podium with a past J/24 North American and Pacific Coast Champion sailing in the fleet. Indeed, it was a nearly a “runaway” for Pat Toole and friends from Santa Barbara YC sailing on their beloved 3 BIG DOGS- winning quite easily with three straight bullets in the first three races to walk away with the title. The next four places in the top five were decided by just 5 pts! Second was Mike Johnson’s PEARL with 20 pts, followed by Tom Tunberg’s Santa Barbara YC team on BULLET with 21 pts, then fourth was Dave Klatt’s Ventura YC team on JADED with 23 pts and in fifth was past regatta winner Susan Taylor from California YC on her renowned TAKE FIVE with 25 pts.
In the world of PHRF handicap racing, there were J’s sailing both random leg as well as close-course windward-leewards. In PHRF-SB2 (sports boat class) the J/80 AVET sailed by Curt Johnson from California YC won with an amazing 1-1-1-2-1-2-1 scoreline for 9 pts total, handily beating the Olson 30s, Open 5.7s and others in their class. Mark Hunter’s J/80 IN-APPROPRIATE took 4th.
In PHRF-A, the two J/111s and the two J/124s had spirited competition amongst them over the three days of light air southerlies of 6-10 kts. Taking the bronze by winning the final race was Tim Harmon’s J/124 CIRRUS from Alamitos Bay YC; they took the tie-breaker over Glenn Griley’s J/111 STAMPEDE from Kings Harbor YC also on 30 pts. In sixth was Bill Webster & Mike Moorhead’s J/111 JATO from Kings Harbor YC at 39 pts.
PHRF-B class was simply a runaway. By winning the first six races, Dave Boatner’s J/35 RIVAL simply smoked their class with 8 pts total. Sailing photo credits- Dave McBride/ LBYC For more Long Beach Race Week sailing information