by Rick Roberts
Last Saturday, Long Beach Yacht Club held Dave’s Dust Up, a one-day ISAF Grade 5 sailboat match race. Designed as a tune up for West Coast match racers, it is also intended as an introduction to match racing for experienced fleet racers wanting to break into match racing. Teams competed on the Long Beach Sailing Foundation’s Catalina 37s and benefited from the pre-regatta chalk talk with ISAF Chief Umpire Kirk Brown as well as the on-the-water tips and practice.
Jane Hoffner and her tactician Merry Cheers and Dave Hood and his tactician Randy Smith test their “dial up” skills during the 2013 Dave’s Dust Up.
Inspiration and namesake of the regatta LBYC Fleet Captain Dave Hood won the regatta posting five wins for the day’s racing action and hopes other West Coast sailors will take advantage of these match race opportunities.
'This was a great opportunity to work on your big boat match racing,' said Hood. 'It was also a good tune up for the race committee and our new umpires.'
Looking to increase the pool of skilled and certified ISAF umpires and judges a series of umpiring and judges seminars have been held at LBYC this year, organized by Hood, Brown and US Sailing Judge Randy Smith.
Jane Hoffner (Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club) regularly races on these big boats in LBYC’s Wet Wednesday fleet race series and brought her crew with her Saturday to learn as much as she could about match race tactics and rules.
'For us, this was great,' said Hoffner. 'We got practical instruction from the chief judge and then input after each race. Even Randy Smith [Dave Hood’s tactician] gave us advice between races.'
The day started with a skippers meeting that morphed into Chief Umpire Brown’s match race chalk talk. The teams then took to the water for an hour or so of practice starts before beginning the races.
'This was a fabulous experience,' Hoffner said, 'giving us all of these starts. It was kinda scary after listening to the chalk talk but it all came together during the starts.'
LBYC plans on holding another Grade 5 match race tune up in the early spring (date to be announced). Skippers wanting to break into match racing or maybe just improve their match race skills while adding a point or two to your ISAF ranking should contact Rick Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org or (562) 493-5173.