In the promotional e-mail that was sent around to rally participation for the Del Rey Yacht Club (DRYC) Saturday Night Races, there is a list of 40 reasons they think sailors should come out for the winter series. Ten would have made their case, but founder/organizer Mike Guccione wrote down 40, and as impassioned as he is about the event, he probably could have come up with 15 more.
The series, which began Saturday, October 4th, is in many ways Guccione’s vision of what he believes local yacht racing should be.
The three-race series is a showcase for the many ideas he has thought long and hard about through the years, designed to make for quality racing, fun post-race activities and more than anything else, to ultimately work towards increasing participation in a sport that many feel is fragile.
“What I wanted to do is create an event that would revolutionize racing and show a clear path as to how to increase its attendance,” said Guccione of the overall concept.
It was last year that the Saturday Night Races debuted and proved that local racers weren’t ready to throw in the towel for the racing season. With the Sunset Series concluded and the weather beginning to turn, Guccione and his partners at DRYC put on a short and simple 3.5-mile race that instituted changes that they believed would improve the sport.
“Yachting is filled with traditions and those traditions are what draw a number of people to the sport,” said Guccione in an interview last year. “It’s also what’s killing racing.
“Society changed with computers and the Internet, yet we run essentially the races today as we did 30 years ago. The fun and social interaction that have always been part of racing is no longer there for many people.”
With that in mind, the Saturday Night Races post-race festivities included live music, raffles, a silent auction, gifts, daily trophies, an affordable buffet, GPS (Global Positioning System) tracking/video playback and all kinds of other motivating perks.
“This is a fun race series that starts off your Saturday evening with a good party,” said one of the racers. “There’s a fairly short course race and then back to the club. Protests are considered a party foul and will not be accepted or heard, so wave the other guy across, smile and open a brew.”
While a light rain and very little wind made racing on the first installment of the series a slow and damp process, attendance was still fairly solid, with 33 boats.
Many of the local diehards were in attendance and also a few impressive-looking new boats graced the line on the wet afternoon. Three M-23 trimarans, a new design built in China, have been brought over by Mike Leneman of Multi Marine on Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
Leneman is Marina del Rey’s resident expert on multihull sailboats and is connected in some way, shape or form with almost any multihull that exists in Marina del Rey.
The boats are scaled down versions of the ocean-going ORMA (Ocean Racing Multihull Association) 60s that routinely race thousands of miles across seas at break-neck speeds in high profile European events. Leneman has already sold nearly a dozen of these little rocket ships and, so far, is pleased with their performance.
“The boat has proved to be very fast, easy to handle, and never overpowered,” Leneman said in a blog after a recent race.
For full results of the first race or to sign up for the next two races visit www.dryc.org/.