Breeze on for Harbor Cup 2019

Published on March 8th, 2019

San Pedro, CA (March 8, 2019) – Threats of a small craft advisory didn’t deter racers, nor organizers, on Day One of the Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup regatta, hosted by Los Angeles Yacht Club. Winds of 18 to 19 knots provided a bracing welcome to the nine teams from across the USA and Ireland at the 12th edition of this college keelboat event.

Taking the early lead is five-time title-holder California Maritime Academy while College of Charleston, 2016 victor, is in second place after three races, with defending champion US Naval Academy, and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) tied for third.

Universities vie for a coveted invitation to bring teams of eight – including at least two female crew – to compete on the one-design Catalina 37 keelboats. Since its inception, the Harbor Cup has hosted over 900 athletes and coaches, racing on 115 intercollegiate sailing teams and representing 23 different institutions from across the US and Europe.

With the strong wind, PRO Tom Trujillo moved to the inside course within San Pedro Bay. After a short series of practice starts, racing commenced in a steady and stiff westerly. Inside the breakwater, the sea state was fair.

After three races, each twice around, Cal Maritime – used to the blustery conditions of San Francisco Bay – clung to the top of the leaderboard with two bullets and one second place finish. Also relishing the heavy breeze was the CIT team.

“This is the sort of weather we get in Ireland around now, and we’ve been training in,” said CIT skipper Harry Durcan. “The heavy breeze is suiting us,” providing a bit of an advantage, he admitted, “And we’re probably heavier than other teams, so have a little more weight on the rail.”

Although he is new to the Catalina 37s, Durcan credited four returning crew with showing the team the ropes. “We hope to cut out a few of the mistakes we made today, keep improving, keep it simple, see where we go from there.”

Navy remained eager to defend their 2018 title, and perhaps avenge an upset at the Kennedy Cup, according to Head Coach Jahn Tihanksy. “A number of our crew were part of a team that sailed together last fall, and just missed winning our big regatta at home, when they got snaked on the last leg of the last race. So hopefully that provides some fire in the belly, to come out here and do well. And get a little retribution.”

Like many competitors, they have had scant chance to practice, due to the brutal winter. “Back in Annapolis, in January and February we couldn’t launch our boat because the river was iced over!” shared Tihanksy. “But we have been able to get out and get some practicing in, which we were able to do last year and which obviously helped. Practice pays off: last year’s win was proof.”

A chance to get out on the water and win at the recent SCOR regatta in Charleston, was encouraging, Tihansky added. “I’m hoping they can take the momentum from that and bring it with them.”

The Harbor Cup continues March 9 and 10 with a total of 10 races planned.

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Source: Betsy Crowfoot

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