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Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week - Day 1

by Betsy Senescu 25 Jun 03:49 BST June 24-26, 2022

There was nothing June-gloomy about Day One of Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week (USLBRW), from the sunny skies to sparkling seas, shiny trophies and dazzling nights. Conditions were everything sailors had dreamed of and hoped for during the three year wait for the return of this treasured West Coast regatta. Finally today, with pandemic restrictions lifted, nearly 100 entries lined up on the waters off Long Beach to kick off USLBRW 2022. A moderate breeze that gusted to 21 knots, and formidable chop, added to the challenging competition in today's racing.

Long Beach Yacht Club (LBYC) and Alamitos Bay Yacht Club (ABYC) have hosted USLBRW for nearly two decades: offering three thrilling days of racing capped by nightly parties. Eight one-design fleets and PHRF A, B and C classes took on a pair of windward-leeward courses today, while a squad of random leg challengers toured the bay in 17.5nm jaunt. Races are run on three different circles: a feat made possible thanks to the collaboration between yacht clubs, which guarantees top notch race management.

Vying for Pacific Coast Championship titles are the Schock 35s and Viper 640s, while the Beneteau 36.7s beefed up their High Point Series scores. In the Catalina 37 fleet - a design created originally for the Congressional Cup - the National Championship title is up for grabs, particularly with reigning champion Dave Hood and his LBYC team absent. With a highly competitive field of sailors on the rosters, it's anyone's game.

After two races Keith Ives' D-Ives Plus team held a slight lead, with King Harbor Yacht Club, Del Rey Yacht Club and Temptress each two points aft, and teams ABYC and Kowabunga just astern. "The competition is very tough; we've got several new teams of competitors in the lineup," said Allie Tsai, skipper of team Kowabunga. A veteran of the Linda Elias Memorial Women's One Design regatta and LBYC's Wet Wednesday program, Tsai has plenty of experience in the 37s. But this is her first USLBRW, and with a new blended crew. "We've been doing really well on the Wednesday night racing, and hope to carry that momentum through the weekend," she said. Kowabunga finished 7-2 today.

Also making a foray into the Catalina 37 fleet is Ray Godwin, whose Farr 40 Temptress was destroyed in a fire last November. "This was a good chance to get back on the water, and keep my crew together," said Godwin, noting the Catalina 37 charter program facilitated that. "But I haven't helmed one of these in over 12 years," he added. "So far it's been a lot of fun, but the competition is very tough! I was absolutely amazed we got a second today." He credited his crew and "secret weapon" tactician Randy Smith with the day's results, which landed them in a three-way tie for second place.

In other divisions, several teams set the bar high with double bullets: Midlife Crisis - J/70; Skeleton Key - J/111; Rival - PHRF C; and Buttercup - Schock 35.

Racing continues tomorrow and Sunday, June 25 and 26, at 11:55AM daily. Race Organizers hope to complete an additional five windward-leeward races for the PHRF and one-design fleets, and a daily race for the random leg fleet. With a steady forecast for sunshine and 10-15 knot winds, that should be easy-breezy. Go to www.lbrw.org for full results and details on nightly après-race events at ABYC and LBYC.

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