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California Dreamin' Series at Long Beach - Day 1

by Laurie Morrison 3 Nov 2019 07:31 GMT 2-3 November 2019
California Dreamin' Series at Long Beach Yacht Club © Laurie Morrison

California Dreamin'; indeed! Greg Dair, a former Alamitos Bay Yacht Club coach, competing in his first California Dreamin' Series event, won six of the day's seven matches to debut in first place. Long Beach Yacht Club's Shane Young, the 2017 series champion returned in a big way, also making his 2019 series debut with a 6-1 record. But the loss to Dair dropped him to second via the tie-breaker.

The LBYC event is the last of three regattas that comprise the California Dreamin' Series. The first event was hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club in March. San Diego Yacht Club hosted the second regatta in October. Both of those events were sailed in J22's. Today's racing, aboard Long Beach Sailing Foundation's Catalina 37s, is a World Sailing, Grade 3 event.

Nicole Breault, of StFYC and Christopher Weis, of Del Rey Yacht Club, went into today's races tied for first place in the Series, both with 100 points. Breault, the series highest-ranked World Sailing competitor (61) won the first event with an all-female crew, while Weis won the second regatta. Today was the first time the two have sailed against each other. Weis, the second highest-rated competitor, at 83rd, took the match.

Competitors earn points at each of the three events based on how they finish. Liz Hjorth, who started the day overall in third place and Marilyn Cassedy are the only two competitors who will have sailed in all three regattas. The overall series winner will be announced at the end of racing tomorrow, along with recognition for the winner of this weekend's racing.

Breault, said she's sailed the Catalina 37s annually since 2012, and that each time there is a reacquaintance period involved. But thanks to the practice time yesterday, she's confident it will not take her core Bella Racing Team crew and three men - honorary Bellas - long to get back up to speed with the boat. "The boats are a handful," she said, "But I've got a really good group here and they work well together. The goal is to get stronger and stronger each race."

The highly ranked Alexis Gesualdo, (93) also made her series debut; and like Dair and Young, started at the bottom of the series leaderboard with zero points. Representing North Port Yacht Club of Long Island, New York, Gesualdo, and her crew flew in late last night. This morning, she met up with her secret weapon - Scotty Dickson - who will be sailing with her this weekend. Dickson famously led his LBYC crew to second place in this year's Congressional Cup. This summer he has been coaching Gesualdo and has been a "massive source of information and growth," she said.

Also on the water tomorrow is Dave Hood, LBYC's celebrated Staff Commodore. Hood won this leg of the event last year and went on the finish second this year at Butler Cup and the third at Ficker Cup. Both those events are held here and raced in the storied Catalina 37's. Tomorrow, Hood will be on the water not as a competitor, but as an umpire.

Head Umpire Randy Smith explained that top match racers make excellent umpires, and that umpiring makes competitors better match racers. "It really opens your eyes, provides a 180-degree angle on aspects of racing that you thought you knew," Smith said.

Racing started late today thanks to a no-wind delay. Light, atypical conditions persisted throughout the day, with boats returning to the docks shortly before dark.

Tomorrow's first race is scheduled to start at noon off the Belmont Veteran's Memorial Pier.

Day 1 Results:

  • Greg Dair
  • Shane Young
  • Bruce Stone
  • Christopher Weis
  • Nicole Breault
  • Liz Hjorth
  • Alexis Gesualdo
  • Marilyn Cassedy

Full results available here.

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