Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup 2011 preview

Emily Frost now in command for the U.S. Navy - Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup 2011

Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup 2011.

Emily Frost was easy to find in the Los Angeles Harbor Cup/Cal Maritime Invitational Intercollegiate Regatta last year. She was the sailor wrestling with sails on the bow of the U.S. Naval Academy entry that finished fourth out of 10 boats. Look again: Now she's the skipper.


Max Hutcheson couldn't be found at all. He was still in high school in San Diego when USC was winning the event. Now he's driving the boat for the defending champions.

Friday through Sunday they'll be testing their upgrades among nine competitors in the fourth annual event sponsored by the Port of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Yacht Club is the organizing authority and California Maritime Academy of Vallejo is the inviting school for the West Coast's only intercollegiate big boat regatta.

The nine teams will compete in as many as 10 ocean fleet races over three days, as conditions permit. The coed crews will sail Catalina 37s chartered from the Long Beach Sailing Foundation.

Cal Maritime, second last year, had won the U.S. Collegiate Kennedy Cup to earn the right to represent the U.S. in last October's World Student Yachting Championships at La Rochelle, France, where they placed fifth among 14 teams from 12 countries, behind England, Switzerland, Portugal and Italy.

The rest of the field this year features two-time winner Maine Maritime Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the University of Hawaii, Cal State U. Channel Islands of Camarillo and two new participants: UC Santa Cruz and the State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime Academy.

USC's crew is essentially intact, but Hutcheson replaces skipper Chris Vetter, who graduated. Freshman skippers may not be the norm but Hutcheson, 6-3 and 260 pounds, will be an imposing helmsman.

'He didn't know when he signed up [for the team] that he'd be doing it,' said Glennon Stratton, the Trojans' assistant coach. 'But we thought it was best to keep the crew as intact as possible in their positions. And Max also has the capabilities to do it.'

Frost, a senior, was appointed as Navy's skipper by Jahn Tihansky, director of the varsity offshore sailing team. She won't be driving---James Prieto is the helmsman---but she earned her role as a Navy 44 skipper last season when the team won the Annapolis Yacht Club Fall Series and placed second in Annapolis Race Week. She also led her crew to a third-place finish in last summer’s 790-mile Annapolis to Bermuda Race.

But sailboat racing will soon take a back seat in the lives of the Navy seniors. Upon graduation Frost will join the surface warfare community while Prieto will enter the Medical Corps. A third senior crew member, Ted Dempsey, will head to Pensacola, Fla. to begin Navy flight training.

Racing will start at 2 p.m. Friday after an early practice session and at 11:30 Saturday and Sunday.

A windward-leeward race course will be set beyond the lighthouse outside the L.A. Harbor entrance. The racing may be viewed from Point Fermin Park at the end of Gaffey Street in San Pedro, an extension of the Harbor Freeway.

Shoreside events include a dinner Saturday night at the Los Angeles Yacht Club featuring keynote speaker Bill Lee, commodore of the Transpacific Yacht Club and the 'wizard' of offshore racing design, including the legendary Merlin.

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