In the past week, local sailors have been enjoying some stellar conditions in the Santa Monica Bay.

A low-pressure system has been hanging around, providing wind speeds in the teens and fortunately for the race organizers at the California Yacht Club, they blew strong and steady through one of the most prominent races of the year, Cal Race Week, which was held May 31st and June 1st.

Along with the Yachting Cup in San Diego and Long Beach Race Week, Cal Race Week, in its tenth year, has become one of Southern California’s premier racing events, boasting 99 boats on the course over the weekend. Seven one-design and four handicap classes sailed in the ten-to-16 knot breezes that permeated the weekend conditions, yielding satisfied competitors in all parts of the three courses that were set up.

“Saturday was the perfect breeze for the boat, just the right amount of pressure to get the boat planning and lots of swell — making the downwind ride a surfers’ paradise,” said Nik Vale on Boracic who won in the new and ever growing 5.70 one-design fleet. Vale won all three races on May 31st, giving him some buffer for a more difficult afternoon the following day. “Sunday was lighter, which made the racing a lot closer.”

The 5.70 class is representative of the building popularity of one-design racing in general and Cal Race Week is cultivating the trend with seven decent-sized fleets, none more sizable than the Martin 242 with 14 boats that were also using the weekend’s races for their Pacific Coast Championship.

“The top boats battled hard, trading the top spots in every race,” said Mark Sands, fleet captain for the Martin 242 class. “An interesting thing I noticed is the hull numbers on the first four boats. How great is it that the newest boat # 307 built earlier this year is so well-matched against hull # 9, hull # 23 and sail # 97228? These boats were built over two-and-a-half decades ago.”

Top notch M-242 sailor Mike George, who has been sailing these waters since he was a kid and is currently part of a team building new Martins, won the event with 12 points in five races sailing All In. In race four, George’s wife Denise was nipping at his heels as part of the all-woman crew sailing Patience and they ended up third behind his first-place finish. Patience finished ninth overall.

In the competitive J-80 class, hometown standout Curt Johnson and Avet couldn’t overcome Balboa Yacht Club’s Ed Cummins, who steered Bold Forbes to victory. Cummins finished with three firsts, a second and a third.

On course two in the J-105 class, California Yacht Club’s Jeff Janov, who used to be dominant in the Schock 35 class with Ripple, wasn’t quite consistent enough at the helm of Invisible to get past Current Obsession visiting from Long Beach.

With Janov out of the Schock mix, it was Steve Murphy sailing Joann who dominated in the class. Murphy sailed a nearly perfect weekend with four firsts and a second, winning handily in the fleet.

Wild Thing took first in the Mumm 30 class and Ray Godwin, also from Long Beach, took first in the highly competitive Farr 40s at the helm of Temptress.

On that same course, the largest boats in the series were battling in the Fast 50 class. Pure racing thoroughbreds, powered with plenty of breeze, galloped through the chop and competed at a very high level.

“It’s a thing of beauty to watch eight 50-plus-footers on the line at the start while the overlapped finishes of the Farr 40s testifies to the competitiveness of that class,” reported race organizers witnessing from the deck of Willie Hjorth’s CSK catamaran, the acting committee boat for the course.

In the growing sportboat class, now up to 13 boats, Perfect didn’t quite live up to her billing, coming in second behind Nemesis. In PHRF (Pacific Handicap Racing Fleet) C, Mike Guccione, creator of Del Rey Yacht Club’s Saturday Night Races, came in first. Lastly, Stark Raving Mad IV beat Nick and Anthony Barran’s XL in the Fast 40 fleet with four bullets and a second.

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