Allie Blecher victorious at Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One-Design Challenge

Published on October 21st, 2013

Allie Blecher and her California Yacht Club team won the 22nd annual Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One-Design Challenge (Oct 19-20) in the regatta organized and sponsored by the Long Beach/Los Angeles Women’s Sailing Association and hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club in Long Beach, CA.

Blecher’s team–which dealt with fog, breezes of anywhere between 4 to 12 knots and an abnormal amount of drifting kelp–had a five point lead at the end of Saturday’s racing. Sunday morning again greeted the sailors with fog but it cleared off quickly and CYC kept their five point lead over second place Shala Lawrence of San Diego Yacht Club for the win.

“Saturday we came out guns blazing,” said Blecher. “We got off the start line quickly and took it from there.

“Today we came out of the blocks well, but [in race five] we struggled at the start and were forced to make gains for the rest of the race. We knew what we had to do today and did whatever we had to do to stay close to the front.”

Blecher gave full credit to her team of Denise George, Marie Line, Mary Lynn Honemeyer, Maia Dastur, Barbara Duker, Simone Staff, Sue Service, Mary Stuyvesant, Jessica McJones and Mickela Medak which she calls a mixture of juniors and veterans ranging in age from 14 to 60.

In addition to having her name immortalized on the Linda Elias Memorial trophy, Blecher also received a $1,000 scholarship check from the Linda Elias Sailing Scholarship.

Shala Lawrence and her SDYC team pulled off second place in the regatta on a tiebreaker with third place Casey Hogan’s Newport Harbor Yacht Club team.

“This is a really good women’s regatta,” said Lawrence. “I’ve been racing in this regatta since 1992 but this is my first time driving. Our team worked hard, and I think [she chuckled] I abused my bow person, Julie

“The key for us was our starts,” said Hogan. “We did well because we had good starts and finished well. Our crew are all good communicators and communication is important.

“We were coming back today and just wish we had a longer regatta.”

Casey Hogan (red cap at helm) and her Newport Harbor Yacht Club team finished in third place on a tiebreaker in this year’s Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One-Design Challenge.

This year’s regatta featured fleet racing on-the-water umpiring. Very similar to match racing on-the-water umpiring, but the eight umpires had a bit more water to cover with nine boats as opposed to only two at a time in match racing.

Chief judge for this regatta was Kirk Brown. Brown is an ISAF International Umpire and International Judge and explained the use of on-the-water umpiring in a fleet race and why.

“On-the-water umpiring made its debut in the [Beijing 2008] Olympics in the gold medal round,” said Brown.

We used it here during this year’s Long Beach Race Week and it worked well. We had at least two incidents a day during Race Week, but instead of spending hours in a protest hearing everyone was at the trophy party.

Shala Lawrence sails both fleet and match racing and thinks on-the-water umpiring in fleet racing is a very good thing.

“I love it,” said Lawrence. “There might be a few kinks to work out, but at the end of the day, each day, everything is settled. No protests, just the trophy presentation.”

Brown added, “This is how we now do business.”

The Women’s One-Design event began 20 years ago and Linda Elias—the namesake for the current regatta—won the championship three of the first five years. Elias passed away in 2003 and the Long Beach/Los Angeles Women’s Sailing Association rededicated the event to her memory. The event is sailed in Catalina 37s.

Final Results
1. Allie Blecher, Cal YC, 1-1-3-3-6-1-2, 17 points
2. Shala Lawrence, San Diego YC, 4-7-1-1-5-4-1, 23
3. Casey Hogan, Newport Harbor YC, 2-3-6-5-2-2-3, 23
4. Lynsi Gibbons, Southwestern YC, 8-4-2-2-1-5-5, 27
5. Jane Hoffner, Team Pilikia, 5-2-5-4-4-7-7, 34
6. Liz Hjorth, King Harbor YC, 3-6-4-8-7-6-4, 38
7. Karyn Jones, Women’s Sailing Assoc. of Santa Monica Bay, 7-5-8-6-3-3-8, 40
8. Terry Manouk, Sea Gals, 6-9-7-7-8-8-9, 54
9. Kathy St. Amant, Long Beach/Los Angeles WSA, 9-8-10 DNF-9-9-9-6, 60

Report by Rick Roberts

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