by Rick Roberts
TJ O’Rourke of Dana Point Yacht Club finished first Thursday in the Sabot C3 class winning the perpetual trophy for first place in the largest class in the 27th annual Jessica Uniack Memorial Beach to Bay Race, hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club.
Jessica Uniack Memorial Beach to Bay Race
On a beautiful Southern California summer morning with a gentle breeze coming out of the southwest at 5-7 knots, 135 young sailors ranging in age from 7-16 set sail in Long Beach Harbor just off of the beach next to the city’s downtown Shoreline Marina.
The boats sail southeast along the beach on the five mile course accompanied by coaches from all participating yacht clubs and the City of Long Beach Fire Department Lifeguards. Turning north into Alamitos Bay Channel they finish in front of LBYC to cheers and support from family and friends.
TJ O'Rourke of Dana Point Yacht Club proudly holds the Jessica Uniack Memorial Beach to Bay Race perpetual trophy after finishing first in the Sabot C3 class in the 2014 Beach to Bay Race. Long Beach Yacht Club Sailing Director Jess Gerry (left) and son of Jessica Uniack, Alex Uniack (right), congratulate TJ on his win. The trophy is traditionally awarded to the first place finisher in the largest class.
This is the only junior sailing event of the year where the eight-foot-long Sabots ever venture out on the ocean.
Other first place finishers included; Matthew Fairbanks and Trevor Tuck, Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, in CFJs; Malin Hiles, Frank Wells and Tom Morel, Leeway Sailing Center, in Capri 14.2s; Teddy Carter, Huntington Harbor Yacht Club, in Lasers; Ryan Schack, ABYC, in Laser Radials; Mason Kaplan, LBYC, in Open Bics; Chase Dodd, LBYC, in Optimists; Nathan Sih, ABYC, in Sabot B; Carsen Lenthall, DPYC, in Sabot C1 and Charley Snyder, ABYC, in Sabot C2.
The event is named for Jessica Uniack, a tireless volunteer and supporter of junior sailing who died tragically in 1994. Her husband Bill and sons Billy and Alex carry on her work with this event that began in 1988 and was renamed in her honor in 1995.
Alex pitched in to help out on the finish line and handing out the hardware to top finishers in their respective classes.
'It’s great seeing that many participants,' Alex said, 'and to know that Junior sailing is alive and well in Long Beach.
'I remember when the event was still just getting established, so it’s awesome to see that it has become such a tradition and even a rite of passage for beginning sailors. I’m already excited to be more involved next year and hope to make it as great as the Dutch Shoe is down in San Diego. It’s a high bar, but some of my favorite memories of junior sailing are from the Dutch Shoe Marathon.'
'My Dad, Billy and I really appreciate what the club does to host the event every year. The kids had a great time and that’s the most important thing.'