When it comes to absolute purity in the sport of sailboat racing, there is probably no boat that is more quintessential than the Lido 14, especially here in Southern California, where the boat was born. Notable and prominent sailors such as Melges 24 World Champion Dave Ullman and Star Class North American Champion George Szabo have paid their dues and honed their skills sailing in the Lido one-design class.
Saturday, April 5th, 21 Lidos (11 in the A Fleet, ten in the B Fleet) sailed five races in the Marina del Rey channel for the 4th Annual Fleet 2 Lido Invitational. Racers came from as far away as Ventura, Palmdale and Newport Beach to race alongside the ever-growing local fleet and enjoyed a solid eight-knot breeze through the afternoon.
“It came off very well — great participation, competition, sponsors and an all-out effort by Fleet 2 and SCCYC [South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club],” said race chair Kelly Cantley. “And we welcomed three or four new members to the fleet.”
Lidos have been in most every harbor throughout Southern California since the late 1950s, when the Schock Corporation started the design — and they are still building them today. Over 6,000 Lidos have been built and the one-design class is extremely active.
Locally, the class was rejuvenated by some energetic members of the South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club in Marina del Rey taking the fleet from just three or four boats to over 25 in just a few years.
For this fleet, while it is highly competitive, the focus is mostly on having fun on the water with friends. Used Lidos are very affordable, which is a driving factor in how quickly the fleet has built. They are also easy to manage and maintain, so having a Lido as a second boat is easily done.
This Saturday, the boats raced inside the breakwater, setting a course that was at times interrupted by big keelboats sailing through, large wakes from passing powerboats and other obstacles a busy weekend day throws in the way.
“The sheer number of dinghies, combined with the occasional mega-yacht which came motoring down the channel unable to fit into the No Sail Zone, made for some interesting wind shadows,” said Don Baker, who finished toward the back of the pack in the B fleet.
Baker’s casual attitude toward the racing was emblematic of much of the fleet. He was happy competing, but happier to just be out sailing.
“I was able to chew through my ankle bracelet, which normally keeps me tethered to my desk at this time of the year, and enjoy the day,” Baker said. “Whatever additional incarceration I suffer as a result will be worth it.
“My usual mistakes — including sailing half a windward leg with the centerboard up, and an over-early at the start — placed me in a position with which I am familiar at the end of the day, but it was all good.”
In the more competitive A Fleet, Stu Robertson and crew Sarah Ryan from Mission Bay Yacht Club in San Diego won first place over Kurt and Anne Wiese by only one point. Robertson and Ryan never placed below fourth and that consistency earned them the top spot.
In the B class, made up mostly of SCCYC (South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club) members, Bruce Fleck, with David Foster, won first. They too came out just one point ahead after fighting race chair Kelly Cantley and her crew Anne Eggers throughout the afternoon.
For full results go to www .sccyc.org/.