by Rich Roberts
Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup/Cal Maritime Invitational Intercollegiate Regatta, hosted by Los Angeles Yacht Club
Cal Maritime (r.) leads USC in early race before wind came up - Harbor Cup Day 2
in San Pedro, California is on the second day of racing.
That flash of speed running toward the horizon is … the Cal Maritime Academy.
The Keelhaulers, defending champions, won three of four races on Day 2 Saturday - now four of six overall - to build an eight-point lead over CSU Channel Islands and nine over USC going into the final day. So what will be tactician Kyle Vanderspek's strategy Sunday?
He thought for a moment before responding, with a smile, 'Sail conservatively and sail fast.'
It's worked so far.
'They're sailing really well and they're really fast,' said USC skipper Max Hutcheson.
So fast that after beating the Trojans by four boat lengths in Saturday's first race they ran away with wins by 33 and 64 seconds in the next two before throttling back a notch for the last one, but still consistently earning payoffs from the favored shore side of the course.
'We went to a more conservative start and didn't try to be too aggressive,' Vanderspek said.
They have seen what happened to the first day frontrunners from CSU Channel Islands, whose title hopes took a hit when they and three others jumped the start line in Saturday's third race and were the last to go back to restart because they failed to hear the race committee's recall order on the radio. Finally, when they saw the recall flag still flying and everyone else racing, they figured they were guilty, too.
'Our radio was on the wrong channel,' skipper Greg Dair said.
That knocked them out of a first-place tie with Cal Maritime, but they did recover two spots to finish eighth.
The day's racing was delayed two hours for lack of wind. Finally, at 1:30 principal race officer Tom Trujillo found just enough - 3.5 knots from south by southwest - and held his breath that it would stick.
The first two races were only one lap around the three-quarter mile long windward-leeward course outside the breakwater, and as the wind built and swung toward the more normal southwest direction Trujillo went to two laps for the last two races, all with downwind finishes.
As Cal Maritime went to cruise control, USC, the 2010 champion, broke through for its first win of the weekend - and might be in solid title contention if it also hadn't stumbled to seventh after the same overanxious start that nailed Channel Islands.
Hutcheson said, 'We've had a few miscues… mostly tactics and one really bad tack, but today everything was clean, except for that start.'
If the Keelhaulers can stay out of trouble, they should have it in the bag. But in a regatta with no throwouts to drop a bad finish score, it's not over yet.
The teams are rotating Catalina 37s each day. The Port of Los Angeles is the regatta sponsor, Los Angeles YC is the organizing authority and Cal Maritime is the inviting school… and yes, the Keelhaulers did invite the best competition they could find.
Conditions permitting, racing will start at 11:30 a.m. Sunday. As many as three more races are possible, but none can start after 2:30 p.m.
(after 2 of 10 races; no discards)
1. Cal Maritime, 1-5-1-1-1-4, 13 points.
2. CSU Channel Islands, 2-1-3-2-8-5, 21.
3. USC, 6-3-2-3-7-1, 22.
4. SUNY Maritime, 5-2-9-6-4-2, 28.
5. Massachusetts Maritime, 7-4-5-4-5-3, 28.
6. U.S. Naval Academy, 4-8-7-5-2-8, 34.
7. U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 8-7-4-8-6-6, 39.
8. Maine Maritime, 9-6-10-7-3-9, 44.
9. U. of Michigan, 3-9-6-10-10-7, 45.
10. UC Berkeley, 10-10-8-9-9-10, 56.
USC crosses finish line to win Saturday’s 4th and final race - Harbor Cup Day 2
Graham Philpot (r.) drives Massachusetts Maritime in tight company Saturday - Harbor Cup Day 2
Cal Maritime tactician Kyle Vanderspek (l.) and pit Sara Himes check watches in run to start - Harbor Cup Day 2
Massachusetts Maritime leads fleet through the leeward gate - Harbor Cup Day 2
A three-boat photo finish from back in the pack - Harbor Cup Day 2
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