by Rick Roberts
Long Beach Yacht Club's Scott Dickson claimed victory in the 2014 Butler Cup Sunday, an ISAF Grade 3 match race that is part of the 2013-2014 California Dreamin’ Series and hosted by LBYC.
Scott Dickson (at helm on right) and his team battle with Shala Lawrence of San Diego Yacht Club on their way to winning the 2014 Butler Cup Sunday.
Competing on the Long Beach Sailing Foundation’s fleet of Catalina 37s Dickson competed against seven other match racers from across the country; Dustin Durant, LBYC; Dave Perry, Pequot Yacht Club; Russ Silvestri, St. Francis Yacht Club; Shala Lawrence, San Diego Yacht Club; Bruce Stone, St.FYC; Dave Hood, LBYC, and Nicole Breault, St.FYC.
Durant took second place in the regatta and won his second consecutive California Dreamin’ Series. After the day’s racing, Durant had to sweat out the final series results as he and Silvestri were tied in the standings which were finally settled by a tiebreaker.
The series began last November at St. Francis Yacht Club, Nov. 9-10, and then moved on to San Diego Yacht Club, Jan. 11-12, making its final stop at LBYC.
For winning the series, Durant has been given an invitation to compete in the ISAF Grade 2 Oakcliff International Match Race, Sept. 3-7, held at the Oakcliff Sailing Center in Oyster Bay, New York.
Southern California’s winter weather finally arrived on Thursday bringing with it heavy breezes, thunder and lightning, hail and (oh yes) lots of rain.
Friday’s scheduled practice for the teams was blown out by heavy breeze. Saturday’s weather wasn’t much better with the race committee only able to get two of the scheduled seven flights off.
Silvestri had his own challenges on Saturday when his steering cable disconnected from the boat’s steering wheel just as he was passing the race committee boat.
'Man, we were right next to the committee boat,' said Silvestri, 'and when I realized I couldn’t steer I really thought we were going to hit it!'
Luckily they didn’t. But they were adrift without steering in heavy chop and a stiff 16-18 knots of breeze that was pushing them towards the Belmont Shore beach.
The race committee support boats assisted until the Long Beach Fire Department Lifeguard boats showed up and safely towed them back to the dock.
The Catalina 37 fleet languishes in the doldrums while waiting for the breeze to fill in Sunday during the 2014 Butler Cup.
One of Silvestri’s team, who asked not be mentioned by name, is a professional mariner and U.S. Navy officer and said, 'The Long Beach Lifeguards showed excellent seamanship skills and they are to be commended for the job they did.'
As the breeze built and the thunderstorms moved closer, the race committee decided to call off the rest of the day’s racing and pick up where they left off on Sunday morning.
Sunday dawned cool with a thick overcast and a few showers, but a lot less breeze than the day before. As a matter of fact, there was such little breeze (only one to three knots) the race committee had to wait more than three and a half hours before they could start the first race, and then never saw anything more than six knots of breeze.
As the sun was setting, the race committee was able to get in five of the seven scheduled flights and abandoned the rest of the day’s racing, scoring it as a complete regatta on the races that had been run.
'This weekend was not Long Beach at its finest,' said Dickson, 'which was unfortunate. But the organizing authority [LBYC] did well to get some racing in. Hopefully all the visiting teams will come back and play during more favorable conditions.
'Dusty and I got some practice in earlier in the week which turned out to be invaluable as there was little opportunity for practice given the conditions.
'On the day it was my team of Erik Berzins, Garrett Brown, John Busch, Jeff Linden and Sam Loughborough that did a great job of keeping the boat moving and keeping things smooth at a time when patience played a very big part in the results.'
Also commenting on the regatta, Durant said, 'These were tough conditions. But we were confident because we sail really well in light wind.
'We were also using this weekend as a practice for Con Cup and were breaking in a new trimmer, Keith Magnusson. He’s new to match racing and we’re trying to bring him up to speed.'
Commenting on his second consecutive California Dreamin’ Series title, Durant said, 'We really enjoyed racing against Russ. He kept it close through the whole series. We’re really looking forward to a rematch with him next year.'
The event is named for Frank Butler, founder of Catalina Yachts, who in 1990 designed, built and donated the 11 Catalina 37s used for all the match races held at LBYC. These same boats are also used for fleet race events and are available for team building and individual charters through the Long Beach Sailing Foundation.
1. Scott Dickson, LBYC, Five wins zero loss(es)
2. Dustin Durant, LBYC, Four, One
3. Dave Hood, LBYC, Three, Two (on tiebreaker)
4. Russ Silvestri, St.FYC, Three, Two
5. Dave Perry, Pequot YC, Two, Three
Three-way tie for sixth place between;
Bruce Stone, St.FYC, One, Four
Nicole Breault, St. FYC, One, Four
Shala Lawrence, San Diego YC, One, Four
Event website: Click here