Ronstan

Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week

Published on June 29th, 2013

(June 28, 2013) – Unlike other sailing venues, seldom is it said about Long Beach that if you don’t like the weather, just wait a little while. It just doesn’t make any difference to Dark Star, Jeff Janov’s Farr 40 from the California Yacht Club that has dominated Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week and the West Coast branch of the high-flying international class overall in recent years.

From out of Friday’s early afternoon fog that opened the curtain on the weekend came some impressive performances in the West Coast’s largest keelboat regatta for 156 boats on three race courses, but Dark Star’s effort was something else.

In a fluky southwest breeze of about 7 knots, Dark Star was one of three among seven starters that jumped the line prematurely—it’s called an OCS (on course side) these days—and had to circle back to restart as the others went on their way, into the thin layer of fog that blanketed the water.

The Dark Star team with the event sponsor Dave Ullman himself calling tactics, with owner Janov at the helm, as class rules require, proceeded to pick off its rivals, one by one, through the first of two laps around the mile-long windward-leeward course before breaking into the lead.

“It was a gift,” Janov said, with typical humility. “We were very lucky. The lead boats got into a complicated situation.”

That would be Jeff Shew/Bill Durant’s Viva la Vida and Mick Shlens’ Far Niente that collided at the leeward gate while running 1-2. Far Niente dropped out with its bowsprit bent out of shape, and by the time Viva la Vida got going again Dark Star was gone – another successful team effort.

“We are a team,” Janov said. “We all take the blame for an OCS.”

And equal credit for a win.

By then the fog was thinning and the wind was building to 15 knots, conditions that Farr 40s love and usually find in the regatta co-hosted by the adjacent LBYC and Alamitos Bay Yacht Clubs. Dark Star won the second race handily, with five more remaining without throwouts the next two days.

But Dark Star wasn’t unique. Leaders in six of the other 14 classes racing on standard courses also won both of their races, while the Newport Harbor YC team led by veteran Bruce Ayres and defending champion ABYC with Chuck Clay driving have separated themselves from the other eight chartered Catalina 37s at 1-2 and 3-1, respectively.

It’s also noteworthy that there were three umpire boats on the Catalina 37s’ course, just as they are for the Congressional Cup and other match racing events. The idea is to call fouls and perform penalty turns immediately and do away with late-night protest hearings that take the fun out of sailboat racing. The umps made two calls in the two races … but there were still protest hearings for other classes early Friday night, while the C/37 sailors enjoyed the party.

Among the titles at stake: the Open 5.70 North American championship, Catalina 37 national championship, Olson 30 national championship, Farr 40 West Coast championship and Viper 640 Pan-American championship qualifier. Also, the regatta is part of the Southern California High Point Series for the J/80, J/105, J/109 and J/120 classes. Story & Results

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