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Four-peat for Cal Maritime Keelhaulers in Port of LA Harbor Cup

by Betsy Crowfoot on 11 Mar 2014
Victorious CAL MARITIME leads the fleet to the finish of the final race in the 7th annual Port of LA Harbor Cup LAYC http://www.layc.org/
Is there such a term as ‘four-peat?’ If not, Cal Maritime has invented it – with their fourth consecutive win in the Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup.

Going into the final day of this prestigious invitational intercollegiate regatta, the Cal Maritime Keelhaulers held a tenuous lead over the 10-boat fleet.

'We had a few slip ups yesterday, so we didn’t have quite as much cushion as we wanted to,' explained Keelhauler tactician Scott Doyle. 'We knew we really had to go out and stick it to USC and make sure they were behind us, and Navy too, because they were pretty close too. We have the talent, we just needed to focus and make sure to sail really clean.'

But they would have to wait. The day started out dismally light: Daylight Savings Time put the first warning an hour earlier than usual. During a subsequent delay of nearly two-hours, several students jumped into the bracing Pacific – prompting a broadcast on VHF: ‘The Race Committee would appreciate it if the fleet would not use their main halyards as a swing to go swimming.’

With zephyrs of 4-5k, the postponement flag came down and Race Nine of the 10-race series commenced. Cal Maritime led the fleet around the course for a bullet, with the UCI Anteaters logging their best finish of the regatta, an impressive second place.

By the final race the wind was filling in from the west. But an OCS at the start nearly toppled Cal Maritime’s reign. 'We knew we were close, but we had a boat to leeward and were worried about them pushing us up. And we didn’t want to foul them, that could have ruined it for us,' explained Doyle. Over early, Cal Maritime jibed around.
It proved to be an advantage.

'We figured, ‘We’re starting out behind; a bunch of tacks would be slow,’ so we just sent it to the right, and hoped for the big righty shift. And we got it - so it worked out pretty well.'

Cal Maritime was launched, recapturing the lead by the first windward mark – and not letting go for the entire three-lap race.

'We knew Cal Maritime was going to sail well today, so we were focusing on USC; and we knew University of Hawaii was also pretty close behind,' said US Naval Academy skipper Andrew Beeler. 'We had a pretty bad first race, so Hawaii was only two points behind going into the last race. We were confident we could put things together, but we knew Hawaii was good in these conditions too. We had to beat them, and made it our strategy just to stay ahead of them. We fought really hard and were able to hang with them just enough to beat them out in the end.'

Navy retained third place overall , bowing to USC in second place.

'This regatta is something I’ve wanted to do my whole time at Navy,' Beeler continued. 'I’ve always wanted to go, and it did not disappoint.'

'The weather was great; the conditions were awesome. The boats were so even. And the competition was like we’ve never seen in college sailing before. It did not disappoint at all – I’m really glad I got to come to this race.'

'This event is unbelievable,' mirrored Hollister ‘Holly’ Poole, skipper of Maine Maritime Academy. 'They do a great job and provide us with everything we need. We absolutely love it, and will definitely be back next year.'

The event is raced annually, in the waters off Los Angeles, aboard Catalina 37s – the same boats used for the iconic Congressional Cup. Ten teams from across the nation compete in three days of intense racing, organized by Los Angeles Yacht Club with California Maritime Academy as the host.

The Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup is sponsored by The Port of Los Angeles; Community Bank – which provided a $500 donation to the foundation of the winning school; the John Wayne Cancer Foundation; and Weinerschnitzel and the Trujullo Family.

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