The Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club (SMWYC) and Pacific Mariners Yacht Club held an Inverted Start race for PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) and One Design boats Saturday, April 9th.

Boats in the Cruiser Class participated in the second race of the Cruiser Handicap series sponsored by SMWYC.

Following a skipper’s meeting for the Cruisers Class, the racing committee headed out to set the course under blustery conditions, at best.

The previous afternoon, Friday, April 8th, when gusts were clocking 25 to 30 knots inside the channel at various yacht clubs, the topic of discussion was, “Will we be able to race (Saturday)?”

I spoke to several skippers and they had their crews in line and lunch ordered, and they did not want to miss this day on the water. The sun was shining.

Principal race officer Besim Bilman, facing 12-to-14-knot winds and six-to-eight-foot seas, immediately shortened the Cruisers course from 14 nautical miles to nine nautical miles, in order to finish as many entrants as possible before the wind really filled in.

PHRF racers were preparing to sail the Mac Jones/Stein series on a separate course and were also concerned by the conditions.

The race committee earned its stars Saturday, April 9th, with seas rolling and the committee’s boat lurching and the winds finally clocking at 24 to 25 knots consistently by the end of the race.

SMWYC member Paul DeLuca skippered his Catalina 34 Salsera and hosted the race committee, comprised of the principal race officer Bilman of SMWYC, several SMWYC members and Pacific Mariners Yacht Club race chair Andy Kopetsky and several members from his club.

One familiar and friendly face was noticeably absent. Allan Freedman of Freedom Too, who for a number of years chaired the Cruisers series, is not participating this year.

His friendly smile and consistent goal, to let all participants have a great sail and fun, was missed. We all wish Allan well and hope to see his smile soon.

Twenty Cruiser boats entered and 13 competed. One retired after seeing what the weather and bay looked like outside the breakwater.

There were 15 entries in the PHRF event, but only ten arrived at the start line.

After competing in 20-plus-knot winds and six-to-eight-foot seas, the Cruisers trophies were awarded at SMWYC to the following victors:

Spinnaker Class:

first place, Stu Coleman, Reliance, a Beneteau 331; and

second place, Ron Jacobs, Duchess, Del Rey Yacht Club, sailing his Catalina 36.

Non Spinnaker 30-foot and longer:

first place, Jim Vasilion, Yassou, SMWYC, a Cal 34;

second place, Jim Doherty, Camelot IV, South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club, sailing his Islander 36; and

third place, Rich Norman, Canuk III, South Bay Yacht Racing Club, aboard the Hunter 310.

Non-Spinnaker Under 30 feet:

first place, Gerald Sobel, Shpritz , Women’s Sailing Association, sailing the Cal 24;

second place, Lenny Gordon, Pacific Singlehanded Sailing Association, sailing Sunshine, a Columbia 26; and

third place, Vic Smith, SMWYC, sailing his Catalina 27, Maine Squeeze.

All crew members deserve special thanks, as this was a rough but sunny day.

Due to Mother Nature’s vicious winds Friday, a mark on the course for the PHRF sailors vanished.

After serious consideration by the race committee, the race was abandoned due to the missing mark. It was deemed that, as all sailors did not sail the same course, it was not a valid competition.

Those who sailed deserve credit for their valiant effort.

It should be noted that buoy committee chair Tom O’Conor was out working on the course most of last week and verified late in the week that “all buoys were on station.”

The winds of 30 to 40 knots Friday evening took care of “H Mark,” which has since been retrieved and will be back on station shortly.

Saturday, May 14th, the next SMWYC/DRYC Cruisers event will be held and on the same day the two clubs will also share the Berger/Jones PHRF event.

Mark your calendars.