By Pat Reynolds
There are a few annual sailboat racing events in the Marina del Rey area that are clearly distinct. They might generate excitement and buzz by the amount of sailors they attract or by what they mean to the community at large, but in the case of the California Cup Regatta, held May18-19, it’s about what is brought to the table.
Cal Cup, as it’s informally known, brings to the bay some of the most prominent and prestigious purebred racers in all of Southern California. Anyone who knows So Cal racing knows these boats, and to see them gather exclusively amongst themselves is a special circumstance.
Each boat is around 70 feet long and built solely for racing. Armed with crews of 15, the “West Coast sleds” as they are known, met on the bay this past weekend for two days of intense competing in gorgeous Californian conditions.
“After beating, tight reaching, broad reaching and running around the Santa Monica Bay for more than four and a half hours, the top three WC70s [West Coast 70s] finished within 14 seconds of each other,” said California Yacht Club’s Tom Leweck of the high level competition after the first day.
After the last race of the weekend, Leweck reported there was just a three-second separation that would decide the winner.
“Three seconds – that was the difference between engraving Pyewacket on the California Cup trophy or Taxi Dancer,” Leweck said. “But when Roy P. Disney’s Pyewacket corrected out three seconds ahead of the defending champion, Taxi Dancer, in the final race, that threw the two boats into a tie. Pyewacket, sailing for California Yacht Club, won the tie-breaker and the 2013 California Cup.”
While the Cal Cup ordinarily involves just the West Coast sleds, this year marks a change. In addition to the 70-foot heavyweights, the serious and competitive Farr 40 class shared the racecourse as well. Like the sleds, Farr boats are pure racers and the class is also very competitive.
“Five boats were in serious contention going into the fifth and final buoy race,” Leweck reported. But Jeff Shew and Bill Durant from Long Beach Yacht Club edged out Steve Murphy’s JoAnn for a top spot on the podium.
For complete results, www.calyachtclub.com. §