by Rich Roberts
The message sent by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club's Fourth of July Regatta was that little boats are not just for kids.
Christina Van Dyke (l.) placed third in Sabot C1s.
The two most prominent winners were Aine McLean Fretwell, who will celebrate her 40th birthday next Wednesday, and Chris Raab, a small boat master who may not still remember that milestone.
Fretwell, although measuring five feet two and a half inches in height, is a mother of three from Mission Bay Yacht Club in San Diego. With teenager Matt Cappetta as crew, she won the Snipe class Pacific Coast Championship linked into the regatta with four second places, wins in Sunday's last two races and an earlier fifth-place she was able to discard.
She was the only female skipper in the 10-boat fleet. And, by the way, her last name was misspelled Pretwell in Saturday's report. It will be remembered next time.
Raab, with Scott McKeiver as crew, won the last six of nine races to bury the Lido 14 dinghy competition in a buildup to that class's Nationals at ABYC next month.
Fretwell said: 'I'm thinking I may wake up from one wild dream. This is the big one for me. I've done well in some women's events, but I like to compete with all the sailors.'
She beat out three-time PCC winner and current Snipe district champion Doug Hart by 17 points and first-day leader Eric Heim by 21.
'We weren't aggressive enough in playing the conditions,' Heim said. 'Aine was just fast all weekend. She owned it.'
The breeze rose just to whitecap level at 10 to 12 knots Sunday, and she and Cappetta thrived in it.
But it was interesting that she came up short of a crew only two days before the event.
'She called me Thursday,' said Cappetta, 18, who learned the ropes with Fretwell as his coach at The Bishops School in La Jolla last year.
Someday soon her own kids may join her on the boat. She has a daughter, nine, and twins son and daughter, age six. They may be back.
'This is really fun,' she said. 'I love sailing out here.'
So does Raab, who has also excelled in Cal 20s and Lasers.
'We put in a little training, with the Nationals coming up,' he said.
Three fleets---Viper 640s, Cal 20s and Tempests---were eliminated from competing because of an electrical breakdown in the boat hoists earlier in the week. The smaller Snipes were able to launch manually using ABYC's small hoist.
All others---16 Lidos and 29 Naples Sabots---launched from the ramp.
The regatta is one of ABYC's four traditional holiday sailfests, following May's Memorial Day Regatta and preceding the Labor Day and Turkey Day (Thanksgiving) regattas yet to come.
(Seven races; one throwout)
Snipe (10 boats)---Aine Fretwell/Matt Cappetta,
Mission Bay YC, 2-(5)-2-2-2-1-1, 10 points.
International 14 (3)---Cameron Puckey/Jake Sokorsky, Alamitos Bay YC, (1)-1-1-1-1-1, 5.
(Nine races; one throwout)
Lido 14 A (13)---Chris Raab/Scott McKiever, ABYC, (4)-2-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1, 10.
Lido 14-B (3)---Stephen Mueller/Liz Perry, ABYC, 3-1-1-1-1-1-1-(4/DNC)-4/DNC, 13.
Naples Sabot-A---(2) Erik Hou, Newport Harbor YC, (2)-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1, 9.
Naples Sabot-¬B (3)---Brett Peoples, ABYC, 1-(2)-1-1-1-1-2-1-1, 9.
Naples Sabot-C1 (4)---Tara Rogers, Long Beach YC, 1-1-2-2-2-(3)-1-3-2, 14.
Naples Sabot-C2 (10)---Bobby Little, ABYC/CYC, 1-2-2-2-3-3-(7)-1-1, 15.
Naples Sabot-C3 (7)---Julia Carpenter, ABYC, 1-1-4-2-2-1-3-4-(6), 18.