by Rick Roberts
If anyone might have thought that Southwestern Yacht Club’s Colleen Cooke’s win in last year’s Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One-Design Challenge (LEMWOD for short) was luck or a fluke, she proved them wrong in dominating fashion Sunday in the 20th anniversary of the event hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club.
Colleen Cooke and team mates - Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One-Design Challenge (LEMWOD) 2011
Eight all-women teams from throughout Southern California ran seven races over two days in the same boats and venue used for the legendary Congressional Cup.
Fog greeted the teams each morning presenting a bigger challenge than limited visibility… light and unstable breeze. Both Saturday and Sunday, Principal Race Officer Randy Smith postponed the first race of the day while he waited for a suitable breeze to settle in so racing could commence. But the skies did clear and when they did the wind filled to 8-13 knots which is ideal for the Catalina 37s used for this regatta.
Ahead by three points after the first day, Cooke really had only the second place Casey Hogan’s Newport Harbor Yacht Club team, and the third place Julie Mitchell’s San Diego Yacht Club team to worry about. 'We knew we still needed to give it our all today,' Cooke said, 'and I really need to give credit to my whole team, but especially my tactician Kris Zillman who kept our heads on.' Besides herself and Zillman, Cooke’s team members are Charlie Arms, Rita Spencer-Rout, Veronica Garcia, Karen Butler, Laura Tantama, Kathy Roach, Jenn Garvey, Tris Bazan and Ruby Hurley.
'Nine of our 11 team members were repeats from last year,' said Cooke. 'The two new ones were Charlie Arms [Cal Maritime Sailing Director] and Karen Butler [US Sailing Judge and veteran sailor]. Pretty good additions to our team huh?'
Second place went to NHYC’s Hogan who was really hoping to move into the top spot Sunday. 'The first race today was frustrating,' Hogan said, 'with the light winds. We were hoping the race committee might wait longer before starting the race but…[shrugging]. We did however get a first in the last race so it’s good to end on a high note.'
Hogan, who frequently races on the waters of Long Beach and is a regular CISA coach (California International Sailing Association promoting youth sailing), offered her philosophy on sailing, 'Sailboat racing is all about whoever makes the fewest mistakes.' Third place honors went to SDYC’s Mitchell who gave credit to her tactician Stacey Szabo for their consistent performance. 'We have the patience,' said Mitchell, 'because we sail in San Diego where light breeze is common.'
Julie Mitchell and team - Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One-Design Challenge (LEMWOD) 2011
Mitchell commented on women’s regattas versus men’s regattas, 'In women’s regattas all of the teams come together. We bond, and you’ll notice that teams will lend their crew to other teams when needed. We help each other out and that, I think, is the difference.'
The Women’s One-Design event began 20 years ago and Linda Elias---the namesake for the current regatta---won the championship three of the first five years. Elias passed away in 2003 and the Long Beach/Los Angeles Women’s Sailing Association rededicated the event to her memory.
1. Colleen Cooke, SWYC, 2-3-1-1-2-2-4, 15 points
2. Casey Hogan, NHYC, 1-5-2-2-3-6-1, 20
3. Julie Mitchell, SDYC, 5-1-5-4-5-1-1, 24
4. Karen Jones, WSA-SMB, 6-2-4-5-6-3-2, 28
5. Jane Hoffner, BCYC, 4-6-7-3-1-7-6, 34
6. Jean Chandler, LBYC, 3-7-3-6-4-5-7, 35
7. Kathy St. Amant, LB/LA WSA, 7-4-6-7-7-4-5, 40
8. Fran Weber, WSA-SMB/CI, 9 DNF-8-8-8-8-8-8, 57
Complete results are available here