Capping an over-four-year quest for perfection, the team of Lisa Hackenberg and Craig Yandow, racing Yandow’s Martin 242 Patience, won the Spinnaker Division of the Marina del Rey Man/Woman Series with a sweep of first place finishes in the six-race series run on the Olympic Circle over four days by four different yacht clubs.
But it wasn’t easy.
“There was a tremendous amount of luck in results throughout the series,” according to Yandow, who had thought that John Staff and Tracey Kenney on Wildcat, a Cheetah 30 rating 51, had won the last race.
“John was really out of sight, we thought he had won,” said Yandow.
Patience, with a rating of 150, had inched ahead by only seven seconds on corrected time.
Second place overall Spinnaker Division and the 2003 champions Curt Johnson and Lauren Turner were always a threat.
Racing Avet, Johnson’s J80, they had four seconds in individual races and were only 43 seconds out of first in race number five.
Their score for the four race days was 2-4-2-3.
“My heart went out to Avet,” said Yandow. “They were every bit as focused and serious as we were. She sailed really well and just got stomped on by conditions.
“On Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club race, two buoy races, it looked like the wind was building and it had been predicted.
“Avet had to decide whether to put up the larger jenny or the smaller jib.”
In heavier air, the two-man team would have been overpowered.
“They went with the jib, but luck went against them and the air lightened,” he said.
Yandow/Hackenberg were bridesmaids two years running, 2002 and 2003 on tiebreakers.
Yandow, sailing with Erin Grayson and one race with Sue Service, finally won in 2004.
Hackenberg, a regular member of Patience’s four-man team had had scheduling conflicts, so this year’s win was particularly sweet.
In the Man/Woman Non-spinnaker Division, Ed Jenkins and Minh-son Dang on Klexy, Jenkins’ B29, won — again — with 1-1-3(DNS)-1. (Did Not Start earns points equal to the number of boats entered.)
Jenkins has been successful with his almost annual winning of the Man/Woman Non-spinnaker Division. He has sailed with Dang the last three years.
Jenkins was winning single-handed races in the 1980s. During the year, Jenkins races in spinnaker racing classes.
Second place went to Stu Coleman and Shari Landon, racing Reliance, a Beneteau 331, rating 165, with a score of 3-2-1-3.
When the teams embarked on the last race day, Saturday, October 22nd, the weather looked anything but promising.
“Bleak,” was how South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club race chair Jim Doherty described the situation.
“Believe me, it was lousy weather with a light mist that kept things damp,” Doherty said. “The shifts were so big we had to pull anchor twice on the committee boat to straighten the line.”
The wind ranged from four to eight knots with some twos with a 90-degree and several 40-degree shifts thrown in to plague the racers.
The Man/Woman is a serious and very competitive series. This year’s top four spinnaker teams have been battling for years.
During the year, Avet, a J80 with a handicap rating 126 and Wildcat, a Cheetah 30, rating 51, normally race — and win —in different classes from the Martin 242s that rate 150 and, Take Five, a J24, which rates 174.
Racers report they look forward to the special challenges of this regatta series.
“The Man/Woman Series is the high point of the racing season for me. It’s lots of fun,” said Yandow.
The fact that Patience was sporting new sails underlined his point.
A word about the “couplehood” of the racers. Only one of the couples in question — the third place overall team of Susan Taylor and Werner Horn — are married to each other.
However, in this day of different last names, one can’t be absolutely sure.
Suffice, no matching last names showed up on the entry forms and no one admitted to such. From inside information, it appears that very few are even dating one another.
This is a serious contest, and partners choose each other not only for boating skills, but for complementary boating skills.
One partner steers and may work the main sail and the spinnaker lines in sets and drops.
The other partner cranks and trims the jib, sets and drops the pole, gathers sails if the boat is not furler-rigged — this position is usually taken by the more agile of the two, but not necessarily.
Sometimes the team switches roles for the downwind runs. Strength and agility play a big role. Don’t forget tactics and strategy.
Love comes in second in this partnership — if you want to win. There are and have been exceptions. But not many.
In a departure from past years, the organizers chose to run two random leg courses — a set course that generally remains the same regardless of the wind direction — with some controversy from the racing boats that generally prefer windward leeward courses.
South Bay Yacht Racing Club held the first and the second longest races at 10.5 nautical miles (nm). Del Rey Yacht Club offered 12 nm for Spinnaker and 8.2 nm for Non-spinnaker.
Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club and South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club ran two buoy races each day.
By tradition South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club sponsors the final two races.
Commodore Carl Radusch and staff commodore Bob Kellock presented their Two for One Sail trophies and the Martin 242 Man/ Woman Spinnaker Championship trophy.
Series coordinator South Bay Yacht Racing Club commodore Julie Albright presented the series winners’ perpetual trophies originated by Pacific Mariners Yacht Club, which began Man/Woman racing in the late 1970’s.
To round out the weekend, Patience and the Yandow team of Sue Service, Greg Hoffman and Chris Hargrave won the Glen Thorpe Overall Trophy in Sunday’s Santa Monica Yacht Club’s legendary Glen Thorpe Oktoberfest.