Last weekend the champions and titans of the local racing scene squared off in Redondo Beach waters to compete in the Elliott/Pattison ASMBYC (Association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs) Champion of Champions Regatta.
Thirty-one boats in six classes, all of whom had posted a qualifying win through the course of the season, competed in the capricious conditions the weekend offered up Saturday and Sunday, September 30th and October 1st.
The course was filled with high-level local talent, including two-time Cal 20 National Champion Mike George, former Olympic Laser hopeful Paul Sambriski, Pendragon’s John MacLaurin and California Yacht Club staff commodore Bill Petersen, a former member of a successful Dennis Conner America’s Cup campaign.
“There was a bunch of good racers out there from Del Rey,” said regatta chairman Jerry Martin of host King Harbor Yacht Club. “They all won a championship somewhere or won a series. We had a good group of folks out there.”
Petersen, who mostly sails in Marina del Rey’s popular Martin 242 fleet, won in the PHRF (Pacific Handicap Racing Fleet) D Class sailing Salsa, a 27-foot Hunter 110, posting two firsts and two seconds.
King Harbor Yacht Club commodore Burr Hope rang up two firsts as well, but it was his two third-place finishes that did him in, though he was within striking distance until the end.
“In our class it was a real battle between us and Burr Hope, and we ended up tied after the first day,” said Petersen.
Petersen went on to win the race the following day in the relatively heavy 15-knot winds that held strong during Sunday’s first race.
The victory was especially sweet for Petersen, as he is a yacht salesman at H & S Yacht Sales, which sells Hunter sailboats. The boat he was sailing is for sale and it bodes well that the 110 with its bowsprit and Kevlar sails came out on top. Hunters aren’t necessarily known for their blinding speed, but Petersen believes in the company and the boats they produce.
“They have plenty of waterline and they can go fast,” said Petersen.
The conditions through the course of the event kept the racers guessing and adjusting. On Saturday and Sunday morning the breeze was strong, swaying the organizers to draw long courses, but the second race on both days petered out, turning them into long slow trudges, especially on Sunday.
Sadly, because of the wind’s whimsical ways, the cruiser class, which was scheduled to race on the second day, was forced to retire and not finish its one and only contest.
“The sad part of it is that the cruisers only do one day,” said Martin. “So they all came down from Marina del Rey and they were just out to have a good old time and unfortunately were not able to complete their race.”
The overall victor and winner in the PHRF A Class was John MacLaurin from the California Yacht Club sailing Pendragon 4.
MacLaurin recently won the Sunset Series and the Berger Series and is a true threat in all of the major races that he competes in every season, including the Transpac and the Rolex Big Boat Series.
In the Martin 242 division, Grant Stephanoff won the class sailing Mike George’s former boat 9 Lives in the highly competitive 242 one-design bracket.
George himself was atop the leader board in the PHRF C class sailing with Al Castillon on Hot Rum, having just returned from competing in the Martin 242 North American Championships, where he placed sixth.
Bob White posted all bullets aboard Wave Dancer in the Cal 20 class and Marland/Cottrell were dominant in the PHRF B class sailing Tigger.