Race boats from San Francisco to San Diego gathered to contest one another in California Yacht Club’s Cal Race Week regatta, held Saturday and Sunday, June 5th and 6th.
Up 20 boats from last year, 99 boats raced for ten Class Trophies, the Thomas K. Armstrong Team Championship, the PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) Charles Tanner trophy and the Fred F. Harris One Design Trophy.
Because of the prestige with which the regatta is regarded, two one design classes have chosen to present their class championship perpetual trophies to the winners of this event — the Jimmy Morris Perpetual to the top Schock 35, and the Dr. Bob Crum Memorial to the Martin 242.
The 20 to 30 degree oscillating breezes on Saturday drove the crews — especially the tacticians — crazy. Since I hadn’t raced Saturday, on Sunday morning at California Yacht Club’s dock I asked the first three skippers I ran into how it went. “Aarghh. ” was the universal reply.
The huge wind shifts changed boat places willy-nilly.
“It was painful,” said overall Martin 242 winner Mike George later.
On Course #2, racing was delayed Sunday, because the readings at the windward mark were different from the race committee boat anchored a mile downwind. They were waiting for more consistency over the course.
On Sunday, the southerly wind was very consistent, but another big culprit for place-changing arrived — kelp. Islands of kelp were clearly visible all over the ocean course along with big jellyfish. But it was the boat-stopping submerged chunks, lurking three feet under the surface that waited in ambush to cause havoc on the unwary keel passing by.
THE WINNERS — California Yacht Club (CYC) again won the Thomas K. Armstrong California Team Challenge with the combination of the Mahaffey Family Cuvee Caliente, Dave Voss’s Piranha and Steve Hathaway’s Strange Crew.
Three boats from three different classes combined to form teams. Second place was a tie between Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club and Cabrillo Beach YC, which won the tie for second.
PHRF A — eight entrants. Jay Steinbeck’s Farr 50, Margaritaville 1.5, dominated with 1-1-1-2-1. Ed Feo’s Mad Dog, a Schock 40, was second. Phil Friedman’s Black Knight, a Farr 39ML, was third, though a redress is pending regarding an over-early call.
PHRF B — seven entrants. The Mahaffey Family’s Cuvee Caliente, a Mumm 30 from CYC, won handily with 1-1-3-1-2 over John McBrearty’s Voodoo and Zoltan Katinszky’s White Knight. Those two boats tied with identical scores, 2-4-4-3-1 to 3-2-1-4-4 for 14 points, throwing the tiebreaker decision to whomever beat the other in the last race and that was Voodoo.
PHRF C — six entrants. It was a big upset in PHRF C when Walt Prue’s Stardancer 2-1-1-2-2 toppled West Coast champs Scott Taylor’s Defiance and John Staff’s Wildcat, who were second and third. Even Defiance’s two firsts on Sunday weren’t enough to catch Stardancer, eight points to nine.
PHRF D — eight entrants. Regular trophy collector Curt Johnson of Avet was second to The Al Castillon/Tom Pacheco Hot Rum. Said Johnson, “Hot Rum was sailed brilliantly.” Hot Rum, from King Harbor Yacht Club, posted an enviable 3 1-1-1-1 score. Their winning score from last year, though, was a perfect five bullets. Shawn Ivy’s Friction Loss was third.
An event like this also signals the robustness of the various one design fleets that race in Southern California. As last year, the largest presence was in the 19-boat J105 class, showing their continued popularity.
The Martin 242 and Schock classes each had 12 entrants, with 11 in the Star class.
Schock 35 — 12 entrants.
Though Jeff Janov’s Ripple had a great second day Sunday, with two firsts, it was perennial CYC rival Dave Voss’s Piranha that carried away the class trophy
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and the Jimmy Morris Perpetual with a nine point score of 3-1-1-2-2. Last year Ray Godwin’s Whiplash, from Long Beach Yacht Club, won the tiebreaker for first place over Piranha. This year, Whiplash had to be content with third.
J109 — four entrants. First, Charlie Haughk’s Blue Star with 1-1-1-1-2 over Jim and Lori Thomson’s Sjekinah with 3-2-3-3-1.
J105 — 19 entrants. Ed Cummings and Jack Franco’s Bold Forbes, from Balboa Yacht Club, triumphed over this 19 boat competitive class. (I wonder if we’ll see a boat named after Smarty Jones.) Flambuoyant, owned by the very successful and longtime sailing Flam family from Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, was second. The Eric Axford/Kurt Kammerer Speedplay was third.
Though Bold Forbes had three firsts, the scores were indicative of the close racing within this fleet. 6-1—5-1-1, 4-4-7-2-4 and 2-6-4-6-6 for the first three boats. The fourth- and fifth-place boats each had a first. The eighth-place boat went hot with two thirds and then went cold with a 14 and 17.
Santana 30/30 — five entrants. Tom Payne’s Ghost took first in a tie over the Guccione/Rasse Teaser. They each had ten points but even though Ghost had a fourth, she also had two seconds to best Teaser for the win.
Star — 11 entrants. First, Doug Smith on No Name, from St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco. Second was Mark Skipwith, CYC, of No Name. Third was Byron Nelson on Imp, also of CYC.
“Rick Peters (who raced Cookie Monster to fifth) deserves a lot of credit for rounding up the Star fleet for this regatta,” said event chair Marilyn Hoenemeyer. “They weren’t here last year. The Star class accounted for 11 additional new boats.”
M242 — 12 entrants. Mike George’s 9 Lives repeated last year’s victory and kept not only the class trophy but the Dr. Bob Crum Memorial Trophy with his score of 1-1-3-3-1. The Billhofer/Hoffman/Baerwitz Star Launcher was second over the Hathaway/Leeds/Cate Strange Crew, which took third.
George credited crew Lisa Saperston and Eric Gonzales with “doing a really good job reading the water. There were many current zones and wind sheers.” And tactician Mike Pentecost with sorting out where to go and overseeing their “bites forward” especially in the third race when they were over early and had to restart. “We ground them down one by one,” to gain a third in that race. Throughout all five races, “we were adjusting constantly,” said George.
Santana 20/20 — seven entrants. John Thomas, Mike Cheda and Bruce Fleck racing Bandit topped the Santana 20 group. Nipping at their heels, only one point out was the Thorson/Orosz Grendl. Scott McKinney’s Bloodhound was third.
At the ceremonies, after the final trophy had been awarded, the crowd loudly applauded event chair Marilyn Hoenemeyer. This was one audience that appreciated the expertise and follow-through that go into organizing and producing a regatta of this scope.
“Premier events like these tap deeply into a club’s human resources,” Hoenemeyer said.
Two racing venues with five classes on each means double the race committee teams, mark set boats, line boats plus all the buoys and gear.
Principle race officer (PRO) on course #2 with the Owen Churchill was staff commodore Charles Kelley, who has been kept busy using his race committee talents, as he was also PRO for the Cal Cup May 14th to 16th.
Fleet Captain Frank Glynn ran course #1 from vice commodore Bill Petersen’s B.O.A.T., a Wellcraft 34.
Besides race committee, Hoenemeyer said a dozen women worked registration. More volunteer personnel rounded up equipment and staffed the five support boats. Hoenemeyer’s attention to detail coupled with an overall perspective provided for a smooth event.
Coincidentally, junior staff commodore Alice Leahey, who ran the event its first five years, and Hoenemeyer come from career backgrounds in finance.
In talking with Hoenemeyer, we were trying to describe what is different about Cal Race Week.
“There’s a different energy level, a buzz, that a large gathering coming from other harbors creates,” Hoenemeyer said. “Saturday’s barbecue had all the fun of an out-of-area regatta, but in our own backyard. The beautiful clear evening was perfect for the barbecue and the event’s camaraderie.”
See calyachtclub.com for complete results.
FARR 40 NORTH AMERICAN — On this same weekend a commanding tactical performance by John Kilroy, Jr.’s Samba Pi Ti in Los Angeles Yacht Club’s last race of the Watts Cup Regatta brought home to CYC the Farr 40 North American Championship and the Watts Cup Trophy.
Former America’s Cup rivals Paul Cayard on Samba Pa Ti and Russell Coutts with Alexandra Geremia, and Scott Harris’s Crocodile Rock battled over the course in the last race.
Crocodile Rock was within 2.5 points of Samba Pa Ti by virtue of a first in the second-to-last race. In the final race Samba Pa Ti managed to put another boat between them by the second windward rounding and fended off Crocodile Rock to the finish.