Long Beach, California. Posted June 29, 2014. Reported and photographed by Rich Roberts
The sailors with the best prescriptions survived the relatively windless distress of a difficult Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week—notably Bob Lane, the pharmacist who drove his familiar Andrews 63 named Medicine Man to first place in Random Leg PHRF 1 for the biggest of the 142 boats in 15 classes.
The 35th version of the West’s largest keelboat regatta was staged by the neighboring Long Beach and Alamitos Bay Yacht Clubs, and despite the absence of the familiar whitecapped race courses and breeze below the usual level the competition was lively.
Lane progressed each day with finishes of third Friday, second Saturday and first Sunday against the West Coast’s best ocean racers on courses as long as 22 nautical miles between Long Beach and Point Fermin at San Pedro to the west. He edged Jay Steinbeck’s Margaritaville (2-1-4) by one point and Ed McDowell’s Grand Illusion (1-6-2) by three.
Lane’s worst moments may have been a post-regatta protest hearing over a pre-start mess of five boats sailing on opposite collision tacks behind the line. There were no collisions and a handful of protests were dismissed.
Other winners in seriously contested classes included ABYC’s Chuck Clay and Kevin Taugher—the former in a fully chartered fleet of 11 Catalina 37s and the latter in the largest class of 23 Viper 640s.
Less contested was the recently introduced J/70 class where a veteran with more experience in the boat from ventures to the East Coast tallied four firsts, a second and a third. His name: Dave Ullman.
“The wind wasn’t big but it was good enough to sail,” the title sponsor said. “It was quite shifty, but we were always sailing.”
Clay held off defending champion and two-time winner Dave Hood of LBYC by five points to collect his fourth C/37 title in six years, and he never stopped looking over his shoulder.
“I never took my eyes off Hood,” Clay said. “In these boats you never have a big enough lead”—an opinion often stated by the world-class skippers who race them in the Congressional Cup every spring.
Clay, whose personal boat is a Cal 20, sails them once a year, too, in this event. After winning three of the first five races, he finished one spot behind Hood’s second and first on Sunday, as another LBYC team led by Ray Godwin scored its only win, as Clay shadowed Hood.
Clay’s crew was tactician Pat McCormick, mainsail trimmer Scott Atwood, trimmers Kevin Brown and Jim Bateman, mastman Rob Clay and bowman Mike Lamb. All are ABYC members except Rob Clay, his son.
Taugher, sailing with Chuck Tripp and Mike Pentecost as crew, was chasing an elusive goal in the Vipers, where he had been competitive and as good as second place behind Jay Golison only last year. He led the class all weekend, although stumbling to his worst finish of seventh place in the next-to-last race.
“We never got in phase with the [wind] shifts,” he said, “so we had a good team talk, had a good start at the pin end in the last race and won by about two minutes.”
Just what the doctor ordered.
This article was syndicated from BLUE PLANET TIMES