The annual Santa Barbara to King Harbor Race was run Friday, August 6th.

Historically, this race kicks off with the Santa Barbara Fiesta and finishes with an all-you-can-eat shrimp feed at King Harbor Yacht Club, with an exciting downwind race in between.

This year, while competitors enjoyed the festivities at both ends of the race, the fresh breeze that is typically found on the course was sorely lacking when 144 competitors entered this 81-mile race, nearly a quarter with Marina del Rey as home port.

Of the Marina boats, three won their class, four finished in the top five overall positions and several others were trophy winners.

First in class in ULDB (ultra-light displacement boat) C and first overall on corrected time was the Martin 243 Gimme Shelter, sailed by the team of Mike Downing, Lee Lewis, and Bob Martin under the Del Rey Yacht Club burgee.

These teammates have known each other most of their lives, having met in the junior program at Santa Monica Yacht Club.

While members of the team are veterans of numerous offshore races, this was Gimme Shelter’s first Santa Barbara to King Harbor race and the first big win on the boat for co-skippers Downing and Lewis.

Lewis attributes their success to being able to cleanly get around Anacapa Island, the only mark of the course.

Typically, the back side of Anacapa sees the fleet compress as the boats work their way down the island’s lee side. While navigating this part of the course has always been a strategic factor in the race, this year’s conditions presented competitors with particularly tricky conditions.

“I’ve never seen Anacapa with such a small window to get through,” Lewis said.

Those who escaped were rewarded with a stronger breeze and a fast race, while those that didn’t struggled in lighter winds throughout the night.

Rounding out the top five overall finishers were three boats racing under the California Yacht Club burgee — Jake Wood’s Sorcery, which finished first in PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) A and third overall; Jay Steinbeck’s Margaritaville 1 1/2, which finished first in ULDB A and fourth overall; and Stanley Stalford’s Farr 40, Farr Out, which finished second in ULDB B and fifth overall.

The Farr Out team bested the other Farr 40 in the race, Piranha, which Dave Voss’s team sailed to a third place finish in ULDB B.

Stalford’s team, which included CYC rear commodore Bill Petersen as co-tactician, sailed a course that took advantage of the fresher breeze and favorable current near the shore, which proved to be faster than the rhumb line course sailed by Voss’s Piranha.

While these fast boats all finished before midnight, the rest of the fleet needed the next day’s sea breeze to complete the race.

Sailing in light air on heavier displacement boats takes significant concentration and skill, as crews are required to constantly adjust sails and course to the variable wind direction.

Among those who demonstrated their expertise in these conditions were CYC’s Doug Steel, who raced his J-35 Fast Lane to a second place finish in PHRF D; and SBYRC’s (South Bay Yacht Racing Club) Sean Ivie, whose J-30, Friction Loss, finished second in PHRF F, just ahead of Don Currie from Pacific Mariners Yacht Club (PMYC) on his Morgan 36, Comet.

Marina del Rey sailors also took the top finishes in the multi-hull class, with Geoff Deutschmann’s Tyger Tyger and Mike Leneman’s Delta Vee finishing first and second respectively.

Complete results of the race are available at King Harbor Yacht Club’s Web site,

SUNSET SERIES UPDATE — For the past 16 weeks, the Marina del Rey harbor has been filled with nearly a hundred boats racing each Wednesday evening in California Yacht Club Sunset Series.

This series, which continues until September 1st, draws the highest number of boats of any regatta in our area.

Regatta chair Ann Ach and a group of dedicated volunteers flawlessly orchestrate the starts and finishes for the ten classes of competitors.

Racing boats compete for the Marylyn Ritchie Trophy, while the Cruising Class battles for three honors — the Millard Rosing Trophy for the top overall finish, the Alan Elliott Trophy for the top performance in Cruising A and the Jack Weber Trophy for the top boat in Cruising B.

The current standings for the Marylyn Ritchie Trophy show two former winners battling it out for first place. The Mahaffey family, sailing their Mumm 30, Cuvee Caliente, currently holds a three point lead over the team of Cheda/Thomas/Fleck, which has won the Sunset Series twice before on their Santana 20, Bandit.

Two Martin 242s are separated by less than a point for third and fourth place overall, with Mike George’s 9 Lives ahead of Craig Yandow’s Patience.

The Martin 242 fleet has the largest class competing in the Sunset Series each week, with upwards of 15 boats jostling for position on the starting line. The competitiveness of this fleet makes winning class honors a distinction perhaps more difficult to achieve than winning the Marylyn Ritchie Trophy.

Within the Cruising Fleet, Mike Inmon’s MacGregor 26, Faire Warning, is in a strong position to take home both the Millard Rosing and the Jack Weber Trophy, while Ron Jacob’s Catalina 36, Duchess, holds the lead for the Alan Elliott Trophy.

The Cruising Fleet has had an average of 21 boats competing each week, a sizable improvement over last year’s participation, thanks in large part to the efforts of CYC staff commodore Steve Curran.

Overall and class trophies will be awarded following the last Sunset Series race Wednesday, September 1st, with the top boats from each racing class competing the following week for the title “King of the Hill.”