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Long Beach Race Week: It’s Not Always Like This

Published on June 27th, 2015

Long Beach, CA (June 27, 2015) – Wacky weather was the name of the game on Day Two of Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week – testing both racers and race committee alike; as the wind vacillated and swung, rose and fell, and unseasonable rain rolled through the trio of courses.

And it was more challenging for some of the 128 entrants, than others. Cat Attack, a newly launched XS 35 catamaran, racing on the 23-mile random leg course – dismasted just off oil island Eva, where the seas were particularly steep.

“We were gaining on the competition, moving from third to second place, and pushing hard,” said skipper Randy Reynolds, “when we slammed into a big wave.”

The mast buckled roughly eight-feet off the deck, and fell. Crew member Erik Ray was pinned beneath the detritus, and wriggled his way out. Ray, who suffers from Erdheim-Chester Disease, was deemed okay, and the crew pressed on, cutting away the rig. They motored back to Long Beach Yacht Club (LBYC) where they were in good spirits at the bar. Ray maintained any day on the water is a good day – even when you dismast – saying yacht racing is his own personal ‘make-a-wish’ grant. In that multihull division, Pete Melvin held the lead with two wins.

As the wind played its mischievous tricks, there were sloppy douses and DNFs, and race officials on each of the three courses were kept on their toes. But some used the wily weather to their advantage. Velos moved to the top of the PHRF-RL-1 class, inching out Medicine Man by one point.

“We had a great day,” said Kjeld Hestehave, who was still calculating the numbers when he arrived at the dock. “We had a really great start, and forced Medicine Man to tack over. Then we had a great spinnaker set, but they had a little problem … and we were able to sail a bit lower than them.”

At one point Velos, a custom 73-foot sloop, watched the faster Medicine Man sail into a hole in the patchy wind. “We took every sail we had in inventory, brought it on deck, not knowing which one we’d put up,” Hestehave said. “We used every one.”

“We’re a furniture boat, not just a hull: we’re the underdog!” he added; and with his and partner Diane’s pooch Jasmine on board, they were underdogs with “puppy power.”

Elsewhere on the course, Dave Hood maintained a solid lead in the Catalina 37 fleet; in the J/80 Class Avet logged a 1-1-1-1 record. Other leaders include: Farr 40, Blade; J/109, Electra; J/120, Caper; J/70, Midlife Crisis; PHRF 1, Tai Kaui; PHRF 2, ETicket; PHRF 3, Lugano; PHRF-RL-2, Gator; Schock 35, Code Blue; and Viper 640, Hot Mess. In PHRF 4, Off the Porch and Ceann Saile tied for first; while Rebel Yell held a slim one point lead over Bud in the Fast 50s class.

The day had started fair enough, with a 15 knot breeze from the west. Sailors saw gusts into the 20s, but then it fizzled briefly, shifting a full 110-degrees, before settling back at around 6 knots, for the day’s finale.

Racing will continue Sunday, June 28, off Long Beach, Calif., with a prize giving at LBYC Sunday evening. Long Beach Race Week is organized by LBYC and Alamitos Yacht Club (ABYC), hosting competitors from the US, Canada and Mexico.

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Report by Betsy Crowfoot.

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