Once again, Del Rey Yacht Club saw record-breaking participation numbers in the second installment race of its Berger/Stein Series that ran from Marina del Rey to Topanga and back.

Eighty-two entrants were on hand under sunny skies and light to moderate winds this past Saturday, March 4th.

The start was delayed 20 minutes due to lack of wind, but it eventually filled in and the racers had a mostly steady eight to ten knots of breeze throughout the contest.

“It was amazing,” said race operations chairman Sterling Tallman. “They finished very quickly.

“We got out on station at about 1:15 and we could see their sails coming from beyond the jetty and we thought, ‘Oh my God, we got here just in time.'”

The fleet moved fast, but more compelling was how the leaders stuck so close together over the relatively long and wide-open course making for a very competitive event.

The winners in five out of the six classes were decided by less than two minutes and all six classes were decided by less than three.

After recently winning in the sport boat class in his Martin 243 at the Midwinter Regatta in February, Jerome Sammarcelli, sailing Chupacabra, squeaked out another victory on Saturday in the PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) A1 class.

Sammarcelli is two for two in 2006 after beating skipper Chris Slagerman by a slim margin in Black Magic, a Viper 830.

Slagerman crossed the finish line a mere two seconds ahead of Sammarcelli, but Chupacabra was owed time on handicap and won by under a minute.

“Black Magic and Kast ov Thowzunds arrived at the mark about four minutes ahead of us,” said Sammarcelli. “Then we fell back on a reach and caught up with them — we passed both of them.

“We messed up our last jibe, so Chris crossed the line just ahead of us. It was fun. That’s the thing with this boat. Down wind, it just goes.”

In the ORCA (Ocean Catamaran Racing Association) fleet it was also a tight match, with two prominent competitive skippers fighting for first.

Local multihull legend Mike Leneman from Marina del Rey and Reynolds 33 designer Randy Reynolds out of Huntington Beach battled once again, with Leneman coming out the victor.

Both skippers have been sailing for decades, have designed their own boats and have won the prestigious Newport to Ensenada race, and both have set speed records in a variety of contests through the years.

They’re around the same age and command the same amount of reverence within the world of multihull racing.

Their names are often stacked together in the race results and both sailors respect the other’s capabilities at the helm.

“Mike is one of the top three multihull sailors in the country, ” said Reynolds. “He gets first, second or third at the nationals. He’s really, really good.

“We feel satisfied that we beat him by ten minutes in a two-hour race [on elapsed time] and we still have more ways to make our boat go faster. So we’re happy from that standpoint.”

Leneman won on corrected time by 43 seconds in Delta Vee, his speedy souped-up F-31 trimaran.

Reynolds was sailing his self-designed Cat Attack, a boat that some call a “beachcat on steroids.”

Curt Johnson’s Avet once again topped the leader board in PHRF B, but only by a narrow spread.

He and Wes Huston, aboard DNA, were in a close match race finishing only seven seconds apart in their J-80s.

The C class had only 47 seconds between first and second place, with Sandbox beating Ginger Lee.

In the double-handed class Hard Habit took first place by a margin of less than two minutes and Klexy won in the PHRF A2 class.

The next installment of the series will be Saturday, May 13th.