Thursday, July 5, 2018

J/Sailors Love Long Beach Race Week

J/70s enjoying Long Beach Race WeekCampbell Tops 70s, CAPER Clobbers 120s
(Long Beach, CA)- Sunny, southerly conditions were forecast for the Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week that took place from June 22nd to 24th last weekend. The popular annual regatta, hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club (ABYC) and Long Beach Yacht Club (LBYC), featured three days of fair winds and friendship for all.

Chuck Clay, long-time LBRW Regatta Co-chair and ABYC staff commodore, said, "I really enjoy the social side of the event and the camaraderie between the sailors. They travel from up and down the coast to compete, and are fierce on the race course! But, when they get ashore, it's all about having a good time and telling 'war stories' with old friends. Mix that in with a little rum from one of our sponsors (Mount Gay Rum) and you have a perfect recipe for great times, great stories and a few shenanigans!"  Indeed, all of that became true over the weekend!

Over 130 boats sailed in the regatta, featuring a huge one-design fleet of J/70s with some of the world’s top competitors participating. In addition, the ever-popular J/120 fleet had their usual knock-out, drag-em-out-fight for supremacy offshore.

J/120s sailing off Long Beach, CADay 1- June Gloom
Despite a gloomy morning and weather forecast, "Long Beach delivered!" said Co-chair Chuck Clay.  By the start of the first race, the marine layer (a.k.a. June Gloom Fog) had burnt off and the modest southerly flow began shifting right. Soaring inland temperatures drew in the ocean breeze, swiftly ratcheting to a 14-knot wind from 230-degrees.

Day 2- June Gloom + Big Lump
Was that Long Beach? Or, was that the laundromat?  Choppy, lumpy, 'washing machine' conditions on San Pedro Bay, with hearty 10 to 14 knot breezes, gave sailors a day to remember.  Again, seasonal 'June gloom' conditions dominated the sky, with steady breeze and sloppy seas, giving Random Leg (RL) racers a scenic and invigorating ride.

Random leg racing has grown in popularity over recent years, according to regatta co-chair John Busch. "What's kept this regatta going strong is we offer both buoy and random leg racing. A lot of the old-timer boats don't necessarily want to do the buoy racing, but still want to come out and play."

"We have four random-leg divisions, based on the size and age of the boats, and really fine tune the course for each group," said Busch, who is also PRO on Charlie course. The regatta ran races on three separate courses, each with its own expert Race Committee.

Saturday's racing capped off with the legendary Mount Gay Rum party, with music and dancing around the pool at LBYC.

J/70 winners- Argyle Campbell on SOXDay 3- No more June Gloom! Classic Sunny LA Day!
It all came together on the final day. The wind blew, the sun shone, dolphins leapt, and racers smiled.  On the last of three days of highly competitive racing, 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. And, from the standpoint of the sport of sailing, the heat was on!

As title sponsor, Bruce Cooper (Ullman Sails Newport Beach) 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."

There was no question the J/70 class saw some fearsome, close racing around the race track all weekend long.  After seven races, the surprise winner was a guy named Argyle Campbell from Newport Harbor YC sailing SOX.  Well, not so much of surprise when you realize who his team included- a fellow Etchells 22 World Champion- Bill Hardesty on main/ tactics and also J/22 World Champion- Allen Terhune on trim. Not exactly your crew of happy weekend warriors! In fact, more like a bunch of bloodthirsty mercenaries!

Despite that kind of intellectual, tactical firepower on board the mighty SOX, Bruce Golison’s team on MIDLIFE CRISIS (a pretty laid-back crew by comparison) nearly pulled off the overall win!  Both teams know the SoCal weather conditions like it’s their backyard, having grown up in the LA area for decades.  Golison’s crew threw down the gauntlet in the first race with a bullet, but then suffered in races 3 to 5.  However, they got their “mojo” going to close with two bullets while Campbell’s crew were suffering a bit of brain fade (or, speed)- remarkable, considering it was Hardesty and Terhune.  In the end, great competition amongst SoCal sailing legends.  Taking third was Jeff Janov’s MINOR THREAT from California YC, fourth was Ignacio Perez’s ZAGUERO from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and fifth place went to the Corinthians Division winner- Pat Toole’s 3 BIG DOGS from Santa Barbara YC.  Second in Corinthians was Chris Raab’s SUGOI and third was Tony Collins’ FLY.

In the J/120 class, it was John Laun’s CAPER that took class honors with five 1sts in seven races for a total of 12 pts!  Second was Chuck Nichols’ CC RIDER with 16 pts and third was John Snook’s JIM with 22 pts.

In the PHRF handicap world, Doug & Jack Jorgensen’s J/111 PICOSA took 2nd place in PHRF B class, narrowly missing the overall win by just one point. Their team was winning going into the last race, averaging just over a 2nd, but a last race miscalculation saw them score a 5th to the winner’s 2nd to lose the event. They were sailing in a very high-powered fleet that included three 1D35s, three M32s, and Farr 30, all high-performance light-medium air boats that do not like any heavy weather!

Then, in PHRF RL-D class, Jack Mayer’s J/109 ZEPHYR took third. In PHRF RL-C class, Paul Stemler’s J/44 PATRIOT was 5th and Tim Harmon’s J/124 CIRRUS was 6th.

In PHRF D Racing, with seven buoy races to the count, David Boatner’s J/35 RIVAL crushed the competition with four 1sts and three 3rds for 13 pts total.  Second was Heinz Butner’s J/109 RAPTOR with 21 pts.  And, fourth was Scott McDaniel’s J/105 OFF THE PORCH with 30 pts.  For more Long Beach Race Week sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.