by Rich Roberts
2014 Lido 14 National Class Championship - The boats are humble and aged little Lido 14s, but it would be hard to tell by scanning the results from Friday's Qualification day for their 2014 National Class Championship at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club.
Kevin and Katie Taugher lead fleet to pin end for the start
The leaders' resumes are closer to world-class than weekend recreation, led by Chris Raab at the top with two wins in the three races he counted---we'll get to that in a minute---with the likes of Kevin Thomas, Mark Ryan, Bob Little, Bruce and Mark Golison and others with success in higher performance classes pressing his transom.
Committee boat (left) signals a boat (r) for premature start
After winning two of the day's six races with Scott McKeiver as crew, Raab said, 'This class is the king of Long Beach. It's about the best competition we've seen in 20 years.'
Friday's results counted only in that the top 22 of the 35 boats qualified for the Gold fleet that will start really serious racing for the championship in 12 races over Saturday and Sunday inside on Alamitos Bay. Another 10 boats chose to sit out the day and settle for their own 12 races in the Silver competition.
Chris Raab and crew Scott McKeiver roll-tack in lead
The defending champion, 17-year-old Christophe Killian of nearby Newport Beach, had automatic entry into Gold, so he didn't race Friday, either.
He may wish he had.
Charles and Joanna Smith set sails for downwind leg
'The bay is so small,' Raab said, 'that you can't afford to hit the corners, and you're sailing in other boats' air all the time. We practiced 16 days. I did two penalty turns just to just to stay out of trouble.'
Racing Saturday and Sunday will start at 11:30 a.m., conditions permitting.
The event organizers thank Jake Sorosky from Quantum Sails, Simmzy’s of Long Beach, Gresham Boards and the ABYC Junior program for their donations.
Mark Ryan and crew Sarah Schaupeter roll-tack at mark