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Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week 2024 - Day 1

by LBYC Race Office 22 Jun 16:56 BST June 21-23, 2024
Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week 2024 - Day 1 © Tom Walker

On a simply outstanding racing day for the first of the three-day Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week regatta, many teams got off the dock early prior to a 1pm first gun and headed out to see what Long Beach was going to deliver on day 1.

With a WSW breeze in the 12-17 knot range, two races were sailed in most classes and extremely satisfied customers celebrated a fun day on the water at post-race festivities hosted by the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club.

"With the wind a little more to the right early, there was a great build all day with medium breeze sailing early and ending with white caps and smiles on everyone's faces; it was just a great day," Bruce Cooper, owner of Ullman Sails Newport Beach and long-time regatta title sponsor, noted.

A three-way tie for first place in the J109 fleet proves just how tight racing was in that class, acknowledged Jeff Shew, owner skipper of Fuzzy Logic, and winner in class in 2023.

"It was awesome, a quintessential Long Beach Day, and perfect for the start of summer," Shew said. "The J109 class racing was as close as ever; the closeness and competition were revealed by the tie for first place. Blue Crush is tough as ever, and Reverie who are down from San Francisco showed their excellence in big breeze. The competition was truly tough! Tomorrow we'll be inside the breakwall so we expect breezy conditions again, smooth water, and we'll work on boat speed and staying on the right side of the course."

Chris Orlando, trimming jib and kite, and his crew took two bullets in the Catalina 37 class. He claims that to be successful in the class it really pays to have a lot of hours in the boat, which helped his team today. He and his crew have been sailing the Catalina 37 since 2011 in Wet Wednesdays at Long Beach Yacht Club.

"I think that we have some great crew on the boat who are really comfortable in heavy breeze and it was kind of a windier day," Orlando said. "Our first start was really poor but we got lucky, got a lane and into a groove and really didn't have anyone mess with us. Clear lanes and not a lot of close boats let us just rumble. The boats are all equally slow and quirky, so having a lot of hours in the boat is key because they are unlike other keel boats!"

Racing in PHRF A, Alan McGlashan helming on the Farr 40 Blade, attributed today's two bullets to consistently great crew work. In second with five points was Dark Star, helmed by Steve Brown.

"We had beautiful conditions with not a cloud in the sky, and great close sailing," McGlashan said. "The biggest thing was just sailing in clear air, getting clean starts, there really wasn't one side or the other that was heavily favored. The right upwind did seem better but it wasn't a typical Long Beach Day where the right was 100% where you had to go so clear air and keeping the boat rumbling because we did have a reasonable sea state for the second race; going fast was our thing and keeping things clean. Most of the Blade team have been together for six years and I've sailed with the boat for eleven years now so one of our strong points is our crew work. We just know each other's moves so well and it's through crew work that we will most often win races."

John Snook, owner skipper of the J120 JIM, sailing in PHRF B, took two bullets today to lead in PHRF B, with Heinz Butner on the J112E Raptor II hot on his heels finishing with four points. Snook is no stranger to leading the pack at Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week; he's been racing JIM in the regatta since 2001 with essentially the same group of guys.

"I'm not sure what we really did out there today but the conditions were very nice," Snook said. "The team did a wonderful job so that's what counts. We had a lot of fun; we're a bunch of old guys, we go out there, sail and try to put a smile on our faces. I think it's all in the rum - they enjoy drinks on the dock and as long as there is a rum in their future, they're happy to sail."

Kieran Searle, sailing for the first time in the 18-strong Melges 15 fleet, is leading after scoring a 3, 1 for four points, while Noah Stapleton took a 1, 3 to finish in second also with four points, setting up for an exciting day two. Searle and his crew Declan McGranhan race plenty on Melges 20s, so they're excited to be trying out the Melges 15.

"We had a great day with two beautiful races starting in 12 knots and finishing in 16," Searle said. "My crew and I have been sailing the boat for about eight months now and we wanted to come down from San Francisco to race Long Beach Race Week because we know it provides beautiful weather and a lot of fun off the water. In the first race we were ironing out the cobwebs as we were racing in a brand-new charter boat where we had a few things to figure out, and in the second race we sailed to a win so it was a really great day. The Melges 15 is an awesome boat, it has more perks than is publicized - it's incredibly stable which makes it easy for a lot of different people to sail and it's a lot of fun."

Results for all classes are posted on the notice board. The first race warning will sound at 11:55 AM on Saturday and Sunday. Conditions permitting, it is expected that three races will be sailed in most classes on Saturday, and two races on Sunday.

The event is host to the Catalina 37 National Championship, the J/109 Pacific Coast Championship, the Schock 35 Pacific Coast Championship, the Viper 640 Pacific Coast Championship, the Melges 15 West Coast Championship, and the J/70, J/80, J/105, J/109, and J/120 Southern California High Point Series.

Hosted by the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club (ABYC) and the Long Beach Yacht Club (LBYC), the event is grateful to the generosity and support of its 2024 sponsors including Title Sponsor Ullman Sails Newport Beach who will be on hand throughout the regatta to assist the fleet with their sails. Other sponsors include Evans, Clarke Marine Insurance, Cabrillo Boat Shop, Durant Design and Construction, Long Beach Parks, Rec & Marine, Mt Gay Rum, Pirates Lair, The Oriana Shea Group, and Tom Walker Photography.

Prize giving will be held at LBYC on Sunday at 5:00 PM. Competitors are invited to enjoy both the clubs' services and amenities including the ice machine, and free water taxi service between the clubs until 9:00 PM Friday and Saturday. For full details on entry, schedule, mooring requests and more, go to www.lbrw.org.

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