by Rich Roberts
The Southern California Yachting Association's E.E. Manning Regatta for little boats was founded in 1935 to boost youth sailing, which it has done, but it's also shown that you're never too old for the sport.
Weis/Obei crew crosses CFJ fleet on way to 2013 Manning Regatta and overall Shadden Series victories - Manning Regatta 2013
Two of the class winners at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club this weekend are AARP eligible. Bruce Golison, 56, of Long Beach won the Lido 14 class on the inside bay, while outside in Long Beach Harbor Peter Drasnin, 54, of California YC in Marina del Rey was winning the Laser Full competition.
They are almost old enough to be grandfathers of Christopher Weis, 17, of Del Rey YC and his crew Dot Obei, 14, who subdued the 50-boat CFJ fleet and with it wrapped up the 2012-13 Shadden Series of four monthly CFJ regattas.
CFJs had traffic jams at the marks - Manning Regatta 2013
There were 112 boats in six classes that found a range of conditions from a warm, light-wind Saturday to a cool double-digit southwest breeze Sunday reaching 13 knots, with gusts to 17.
The Lidos were a battle all the way between Golison and crew Dina Corsi and the class's most determined veteran competitor, Stu Robertson, with young Sammy Elshaharwy as crew. Golison won by three points, but only after a hard-driving start in the first of four Sunday races when both boats were over the start line well before the horn.
As the two boats ran the line side by side, Golison said, 'Dina kept saying, 'Don't be over … don't be over!' But it was the old thing of trying to be aggressive … like I've told Dina, 'As [the Great Dane] Paul Elvstrom used to say, if you aren't over early once in ten starts you aren't trying hard enough.' '
Both were unsure if their sail numbers had been called by the race committee so they continued to sail upwind for about fifty yards until Golison finally turned back.
'I thought I was over early,' he said, 'but the key is not to panic.'
Robertson kept going but dropped out much later and took a tenth. Golison had time to recover and finish fourth in the 10-boat fleet, but it wasn't over yet. He still had to outscore Robertson in the last three races, 4-1-3 to 6-4-1, to secure the three-point win.
The Lido actually is a training vehicle for Golison's Etchells class campaign over the next two years---the North Americans, which he won in 2010, at Newport, R.I., and the Worlds in 2014. The strongest Etchells competition is on the East Coast.
'All of this is getting us ready for those events,' Golison said, 'and Dina will be on the crew.'
Drasnin's strongest competition came from Dave Leuck from San Diego's Mission Bay YC, three points back, and Brian Cotrell of Redondo Beach's King Harbor YC, with whom he shared the first day's lead. But after Drasnin won the first two of the last three races Sunday, he was able to skip the last race as his throwout.
He is also a past Manning Regatta winner---in the 70s.
'I was just a kid,' he said, 'but it's never stopped being fun. I was having fun all weekend.'
Weis, who won nine of the 23 Shadden Series races, was pushed Sunday by Del Rey YC teammate Roberto Stevens, who with crew Annika Garrett were within three points going into the last race, when they finished seventh and 14th.
The series is named for Long Beach's 1988 Olympic silver medalist, John Shadden.
Competition in the Manning, founded in 1935, is limited to one- and two-person dinghies---no keelboats allowed.
Sabot C kids had fun, too - Manning Regatta 2013
The Manning is raced annually at ABYC. It was first contested in 1935 to honor E.E. Manning, a member of the Los Angeles YC who during his lifetime was an active sponsor and promoter of dinghy racing.
Class leaders - (Seven races; one throwout after five):
CFJ (50 boats)---Christopher Weis/Dot Obei, Del Rey YC, 1-1-8-(14)-5-10-7, 32. (Shadden Series standings)
Laser Full (11)---Peter Drasnin, California YC, 2-3-3-1-1-1-(15/DNC), 11 points.
Laser Radial (6)---Paul Didham, San Diego YC, 1-1-(4)-1-1-2-3, 9.
Lido 14 (10)---Bruce Golison/Dina Corsi, ABYC, 2-1-2-3-2-(4)-4-1-3, 18.
Naples Sabot (17)---Scott Mais, Newport Harbor YC, (4)-3-2-1-4-1-1-1-3, 16.
Naples Sabot C (12)---David Wood, Balboa YC, 1-1-1-(4)-1-4-2-1-1, 12.
Full results here