by Rich Roberts
Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week, hosted and organized by the Alamitos Bay and Long Beach Yacht Club, is being held from 22nd to 24th June 2012. Monday, 4th June is the discount entry deadline for the West Coast's largest keelboat regatta. Competitors who register online will get $50 off their fees, which otherwise vary according to boat size.
Medicine Man (r.) slips between Javelin (l.) and Rebel Yell (c.) to gain The lead in a 2011 Random Leg race - Long Beach Race Week 2012
There will be three days of racing among several classes on three windward-leeward courses inside and outside the Long Beach Harbor breakwater, plus the increasingly popular Random Leg fleet sailing one long race each day well beyond the venue.
More about that in a moment.
LBRW's slogan, 'Race With the Champions,' remains ever appropriate. This year it will serve as the national championship for Olson 30s and Catalina 37s, the West Coast championship for Farr 40s and J/29s, the Pacific Coast Championship for Open 5.70s, the Southern California championship for Beneteau 36.7s and part of the SoCal high-point series for J/80s, J/105s, J/109s and J/120s, along with the Cal 25 Carl Kindrich Challenge Cup.
Nine Catalina 37s have been chartered from the Long Beach Sailing Foundation by amateur teams from as far out as Tacoma, Wash. and Scottsdale, Ariz.- meaning that one of the Congressional Cup boats is still available for the three-day weekend for $1,055.
There is always room for more offshore-type boats in the Random Leg fleet, which races not the conventional windward-leeward courses but a longer, more scenic route of about 15 to 18 nautical miles off the coast.
'It depends on what the breeze is,' says Bob Lane, whose Andrews 63, Medicine Man, won the Random title two years ago and lost out on corrected handicap time to David Team's TP52, Rebel Yell, last year. 'One year we went all the way down to Huntington Beach around the oil platform. We've gone out the L.A. Harbor entrance ... in and out the Queen's Gate [off Long Beach].'
Over several years Medicine Man has been upgraded and modified for ocean racing. In 1997 it held the Transpacific Yacht Race record for 2 1/2 days before larger, faster boats finished, and just last month it won the 65th Newport to Ensenada race, only 12 minutes behind first-to-finish Bad Pak but nearly nine hours ahead on corrected time.
But Lane feels his big blue boat is not quite right for closed course racing.
'My boat goes to weather OK,' Lane said, 'but if we get in a tacking duel we're gonna lose with the water ballast.'
The water ballast system, installed in 1999, requires shifting the load from one side to the other with every tack or jibe.
Nevertheless, the crew pulled off a remarkable move last year after getting trapped behind Rebel Yell and Javelin coming off the start line: a daring port tack in front of Javelin and behind Rebel Yell to clear its air and gain the preferred right side of the course.
Win or lose, everyone celebrates. True to the event's tradition, there will be parties every night, with free transit by the Big Red Bus between LBYC and ABYC.
The summer solstice is June 20, the first day of summer and the longest day of the year.
Summer Sailstice is Saturday, June 23, a global holiday and the middle day of Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week, celebrating sailing held annually on the weekend closest to the summer solstice.
Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week is one of the many events participating in Summer Sailstice in all 50 U.S. states and more than 40 countries connected in a global celebration of sailing. It's free.
This year LBRW also is associated with the Sailors for the Sea program for Clean Regattas. Sailors for the Sea, based in Newport, R.I., is the only ocean conservation nonprofit focused on the sailing and boating community. Its program assists and certifies yacht clubs and regatta organizers as providing clean events that minimize impacts upon our oceans.
Ullman Sails mission statement: For over 40 years, Ullman Sails has been devoted to helping our customers reach their sailing goals. Whether you aspire to win an Olympic medal, dominate local fleet racing or spend your summer cruising, we provide the highest quality sails and service to make it happen. The Ullman Sails group is proudly unique, bringing together individual sail lofts from all over the world that specialize in serving their local markets. With a rich combination of skilled designers and master sailmakers, we work together to ensure every Ullman Sails customer benefits from our international collaboration. Ullman Sails was founded in 1968 by David Ullman, one of the world’s greatest competitive sailors and still an integral part of the Ullman Sails group. Serving as president of Ullman Sails International, he also directs the Ullman design team - a select group of sailors with equally impressive credentials.
Other sponsors and supporters are Gladstone's restaurant, Open Sailing, Mount Gay Rum, Ayres Hotel Seal Beach, Pirates Lair, Long Beach Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Marine and Long Beach the Aquatic Capital of America.
For Online entry, current entries, Notice of Race and more click here
Complete 2011 results
Ullman Sails Inshore Championship
Long Beach Race Week website