California Maritime Academy's Keelhaulers won half of the ten races in the sixth Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup/Cal Maritime Invitational Intercollegiate Regatta, including the last one Sunday that they really didn't need to sail.
'We thought it was the sportsmanlike thing to do,' skipper Mark Van Rensselaer said. 'It turned out very well'---and underscored the school's third consecutive championship in the West Coast's only intercollegiate big boat regatta.
As for all of those protests involving the top four boats after Saturday's racing … all three were heard and dismissed by the race jury (SUNY Maritime against CSU Channel Islands, College of Charleston vs. Cal Maritime and Navy vs. SUNY Maritime of New York).
And equally impressive as Cal Maritime's win, Charleston, making its college big boat debut, took second place by breaking away from a four-boat free-for-all with a solid string of 3-1-5 finishes Sunday---only one point off the Keelhaulers' 2-5-1 day.
'I was really pleased and impressed with Charleston,' said Charlie Arms, who as Cal Maritime's sailing director leads the team invitations to the regatta.
This means, no doubt, that the event will see more of the upstart Cougars.
SUNY Maritime, UC Irvine, Maine Maritime and Cal State U. Channel Islands followed in close order, although the latter won twice over the three-day weekend before struggling to last place in the last two races.
Tom Trujillo's race committee ran the two-lap races on an open ocean course west of the Los Angeles Harbor entrance, which saw light winds Friday, better breeze Saturday with a brutal swell, then flatter seas Sunday with a fair chop and a southwesterly building from seven to twelve knots. The early races were on windward-leeward courses measuring a mile the first day, eight-tenths Saturday and only a half-mile Sunday when the RC was pressed to fill the complement of 10 races without starting any after 2:30 p.m.
As it was, each race ran only about a half-hour and they clicked off the triple play with plenty of Daylight Saving Time to spare.
Sunday's other winners were UC Irvine and Charleston.
Cal Maritime's new coach, Parker Mitchell, said, 'We had some serious wheels upwind … and were able to get out of sticky situations.'
Van Rensselaer was sailing his second year as skipper and the only senior on the boat.
'We practiced super hard,' he said, 'and we were ready.'
There were no miscues they couldn't overcome, despite losing trimmer Jessica Bernhard the night before the event. While Bernhard recovered from emergency appendicitis surgery, her older sister Alicia stepped into her position without missing a beat.
'She was fantastic,' Van Rensselaer said of Alicia. 'She's a trooper.'
The Port of Los Angeles is the event sponsor, the Los Angeles Yacht Club the regatta organizer and host for the West Coast's only intercollegiate big boat regatta.