by Rich Roberts
Sailors from different walks of life gathered in picturesque Long Beach, California to enjoy their weekend at the 65th Turkey Day Regatta. Roughly 200 boats and 300 sailors participated in the yearly regatta, which features a total of eighteen classes to be competed by youngsters, professional and veteran skippers.
65th Turkey Day Regatta 2
The dozens of kids racing in Alamitos Bay Yacht Club's 65th Turkey Day Regatta this weekend have something to look forward to: someday they could be sailing with their children or grandchildren in the traditional holiday event.
Prime examples are local veterans Barney Flam, soon to be 88, and Henry Sprague, 67, who are demonstrating that you're never too old for the sport. They lead two of the 18 classes comprised of nearly 200 boats and 300 competitors---Flam and his crew, his middle aged son Steve, in Cal 20s and Sprague in the Olympic class singlehanded dinghies.
Steve Flam said, 'We weren't even sure we were going sailing today if it rained.'
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But when the forecast for rain held off until after the racing was done, they thrived in the light 5- to 7-knot southeast breeze with finishes of 4, 3 and 1 in their 14-boat fleet, while Sprague trounced his 10 Finn rivals with a 1-2-1-1 score line.
Flam's day was a celebration of sorts.
'He just came back from the Mayo Clinic this week with a clean bill of health,' Steve Flam said, noting his dad's past couple of years with various medical issues. 'Now he's still working every day and has no plans to retire.'
Sprague's motivation was a bit different.
'I want to get the turkey again,' he said, referring to the first-place prize awarded the winners in place of trophies. 'I've won it two years in a row.'
Sprague still sails his Finn year-round.
'It's really good for your health,' he said, 'very physical not only sailing but rigging it.'
65th Turkey Day Regatta
Other notable class leaders included Matthew Long of Santa Barbara in Laser Full rigs and Cooper Weitz of ABYC and California YC in Laser Radials---the two largest classes with 20 and 31 boats, respectively.
Racing on two ocean courses and the inside Bay winds up Sunday, starting at noon, conditions permitting.
Laser Full (20 boats): Matthew Long, Santa Barbara/Cabrillo Beach YCs, 1-4-1-1, 10 points.
Laser Radial: (31)---Cooper Weitz, San Francisco/St. Francis YCs, 5-1-2-6, 14.
29er (11): Quinn Wilson/Dane Wilson, Newport Harbor YC/ABYC, 2-2-1-1, 6.
Cal 20 (14): Barney and Steve Flam, ABYC, 4-3-1, 8.
Viper 640 (10): Kevin Taugher/Chuck Tripp, ABYC, 2-1-1-1, 5.
Mercury (10): David West/Mark Roberts, Richmond YC, 5-1-1-3, 10.
Finn (11): Henry Sprague, no club, 1-2-1-1, 5.
Formula 18 (4): Alex Westland/Bill Westland, ABYC, 1-4-1-1, 7.
International 14 (3): Brad Ruetenik/Kula Dog, San Diego YC, 1-1-1-1, 4.
Hobie 16 (3): Roger Brown/Ann Sullivan, no club, 1-2-1, 4.
Portsmouth (9): Rich Vaught/Bob Bishop/Mark Rastillo, ABYC, 7-1-1-1, 10.
Sabot A (3): Joseph Hou, Newport Harbor YC, 1-1-1-1, 4.
Sabot B (7): Bradley Clinton, ABYC, 3-1-3-2, 9.
Sabot C1 (15): Harrington Bubb, Balboa YC, 2-1-4-1, 8.
Sabot C2 (9): Kai Malm, Newport Harbor YC, 1-1-4-2, 8.
Sabot C3 (4): Christina Van Dyke, LBYC/ABYC, 1-2-2-3, 8.
Lido 14 A (11): Adam Elsharhawy/Stu Robertson, ABYC, 3-1-2-1, 7.
Lido 14 B (10): Ethan Michaelis/Ryan Schack, ABYC, 1-1-2-2, 6.