by Rick Roberts
Liz Baylis, San Rafael, Calif., became the first undefeated and first two-time winner Saturday in the 2008 Mayor’s Cup presented by St. Mary Medical Center and part of the 2008 City of Long Beach Sea Festival presented by Charter Communications.
Liz Baylis (at helm) was undefeated at the 2008 Mayor’s Cup
Eight skippers representing the United States, New Zealand, Brasil and Sweden sailed the ISAF Grade 2 match race in identically prepared Catalina 37s owned and managed by the Long Beach Yacht Club Sailing Foundation, which performed perfectly under sunny skies and a consistent breeze of 10-12 knots.
Baylis dominated the three days of double round-robins, semi-finals and finals… a total of 18 races in which rarely was there a chink in their armor.
'The crew work was incredible,' Baylis said. 'They did everything perfectly. Even when I made a mistake on the leeward mark [rounding] in the Final, they pulled me out of it and we came back. Their performance gives me confidence.'
In the last race of the finals, Baylis incurred a penalty while doing battle in the pre-start with second-place finisher Sandy Hayes, Scituate, Mass. Going to windward with a slight lead over Hayes just after the start, still carrying the penalty, Baylis elected to do her 270° penalty turn, coming back on starboard to cross in front of Hayes absolving herself of the penalty and clearly in the lead to stay.
'The penalty was stupid,' Baylis said. 'but having that type of confidence in the your team gives you more options.'
Sandy Hayes (at helm, right), currently in third, plans on improving her team's performance Friday - 2008 Mayor's Cup
Hayes secured second in the event and made a valiant effort in attempting to dethrone Baylis.
'We knew once we got into the finals we had to throw Liz off her game,' Hayes said. 'Everyone gave it their best but we fell short.
'I love this event and love racing off the [Belmont Veterans Memorial] pier. It’s a great obstruction as compared with some venues. I feel comfortable with the boats and not afraid to over use the boats knowing how durable they are. It would be nice to come back again and race against the best.'
Finishing third in the 2008 Mayor's Cup, Samantha Osborne gives much of her credit for their success to coach and Congressional Cup veteran Scotty Dickson. - 2008 Mayor's Cup
Third was Samantha Osborne, New Zealand, who’s team from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron is anything but ordinary.
Not only did they put in a very impressive performance having had limited match racing experience and no experience in the big Catalina 37s, but their ability to make light of challenging situations was a breath of fresh air.
Each race day, each team member takes on a new nickname… such as Rudolph (because of a sunburned nose), etc., and then there are the Batman glasses.
'Yeah, here they are,' Osborne says as she pulls out these blue plastic sunglasses that have bat wings on them. 'Whoever messes up during the day gets to wear them. Some days we share them.'
A person can’t help but smile when during a very serious world-class match race, the third-place finishers cross the finish line in the Finals humming the Batman theme.
Giving credit to her crew, Osborne said, 'On the day, everyone gave 210%. I don’t think anyone could have worked any harder. I could rave about my crew for hours, but I want to also give a huge thanks to [coach] Scotty Dickson. I don’t think we could have done it without him.'
Dickson, Congressional Cup veteran and fellow Kiwi has known the Osborne family for years. Dickson’s dad, Roy, sails with Osborne and her team in the Tuesday night summer races onboard his boat Stewart34 'PlayBuoy'.
Charlie Arms-Cartee finishing fourth in the event likes to sail the bigger Catalina 37s in match racing. - 2008 Mayor's Cup
Finishing fourth was Charlie Arms-Cartee, Vallejo, Calif., who has mixed feeling about their performance in the regatta.
'We had a really fun time,' Arms-Cartee said, 'but it was tough adjusting to the stronger wind today. We’re not as happy with the results as much fun as we had racing.'
In talking about the event, Arms-Cartee said, 'We had great days, all day. It’s really fun to try the bigger boats.'
This event was also environmentally friendly as each umpire boat was given fishing nets, donated by West Marine, with instructions to pick up and hold for proper disposal any trash seen on the race course.
Throughout the event, umpire and support boats were seen scooping up trash from the water, not only in an effort to help keep Long Beach harbor clean but to send a message to match racing internationally to do the same.
Summing up the event as a whole, two-time winner Baylis said, 'It’s a great regatta encouraging people to come. The Long Beach Yacht Club and the people are incredible. The way they make you feel, the great boats and great sailing… it’s like sailing a home game.'
1. Baylis, 14-0
2. Hayes, 9-5
3. Osborne, 9-5
4. Arms-Cartee, 8-6
5. Thorelius, 5-9
7. Hjorth, 5-9, (4 points*)
6. Lovell, 4-10
8. Bejar, 2-12
*---Deduction for causing excess damage.