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Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup 2011 - Navy hits back

by Rich Roberts on 12 Mar 2011
Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup 2011 Rich Roberts © http://www.UnderTheSunPhotos.com
Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup 2011 - Cal Maritime Invitational Intercollegiate Regatta is organized by Los Angeles Yacht Club, San Pedro, Calif. and runs from March 11 to 13. It is the West Coast's only intercollegiate big boat regatta.

California Maritime Academy has been instrumental in assembling the elite fleet for the Angeles Harbor Cup/Cal Maritime Invitational Intercollegiate Regatta these four years. Last year the Keelhaulers from Vallejo, Calif. were almost rewarded with a victory for their efforts until doing themselves in the final day with their only bad race.

Will this be their year?

They won the first race Friday, but to cash that in they had to sweat out a protest by Hawaii, which shadowed them all the way around the two-lap windward-leeward course. Then they managed a fourth place to share first place overall with Hawaii (2-3) and eight races remaining over the next two days.

Skipper John Gray said, 'Things generally are going well, we had good boat speed and good teamwork and hopefully can keep that up.'

The U.S. Naval Academy was more harshly tested. Now the Midshipmen know how Cal Maritime felt last year. They finished in mid-fleet in the first race only to learn later that they had never started … crossed the line before the gun and didn't restart properly.

After the race Coach Jahn Tihansky pulled alongside in his dinghy and said, 'Do you want to know the good news first or the bad news?'

Skipper Emily Frost, who calls tactics as James Prieto drives, said, 'I was expecting more breeze and it died right before the start. It threw me off tactically. I was struggling to recalibrate and made a serious tactical error.'

Actually, two errors. The 'I' flag, sometimes hoisted before a start sequence to discipline an unruly fleet, means that anyone over early is required to go around one end of the line to restart.

'We were OCS [on course side] and I didn’t see the 'I' flag [on the race committee boat,' Frost said. 'We dipped the line instead of rounding. [Otherwise,] we had a really good race, the crew did great – but we never really started.'

Then in Race 2, as everyone struggled in ever-weakening breeze, the Navy made it looks like the Battle of Midway, blowing all rivals away.

'The second race, the rest of the guys were positive,' Frost said. 'They said, ‘Shake it off, it’s just one race ... we have nine more chances to get it right.' It was purely focus on the part of the driver, and trimmers. We made the right calls in terms of where the breeze was. We had boat speed over everyone else.

'We’re definitely in it. We’re still in the mix.'

Hawaii also rose from a serious setback to share first place with a second and third.

Skipper Zach Hester said, 'Our skipper broke his leg a few days ago and had to have surgery, so we came into the event not knowing who our skipper was. On practice day everyone got to ‘try out’ the wheel, and [coach Jesse Andrews] gave me the helm.

'During the first race a few people (onboard) thought Cal Maritime had hit the mark, so we filed a protest. On the next race, we had a photo-finish with Cal Maritime, and we got them! But the protest was dismissed.'

Based on their good results, Hester said, 'We’re going to keep it the way it is for now.'

A southwest breeze blew 16 knots early in the afternoon as the coed crews ran practice starts to get familiar with the Catalina 37s chartered from the Long Beach Sailing Foundation. But once the racing started the wind began slipping away to as low as 5 knots.

There were no significant effects from the Pacific tsunami generated by the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated part of Japan Thursday night. Although local officials closed some launch ramps and beaches and took other precautions,

The 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.

Racing will start at 11:30 Saturday and Sunday---daylight saving time kicks in overnight---on 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 keynote speaker Bill Lee, commodore of the Transpacific Yacht Club and the 'wizard' of offshore racing design, including the legendary Merlin.

Standings
(after 2 of 10 races)

1. Cal Maritime, 1-4, and Univ. of Hawaii, 2-3, 5 points.
3. Cal State U. Channel Islands, 7-2, 9.
4. SUNY Maritime, 4-5, 9.
5. U.S. Naval Academy, DNS-1, 11.
6. U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 3-8, 11.
7. USC, 5-6, 11.
8. UC Santa Cruz, 6-9, and Maine Maritime Academy, 8-7, 15.

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The competitors

Calif. Maritime Academy
Vallejo, Calif.
John Gray, skipper; Kyle Vanderspek, Scott Doyle, Sarah Himes, Matthew Van Rensselaer, Sean Kelly, Andrew Lamb. Coach: Jesse Cartee

Cal State U. Channel Islands
Camarillo, Calif.
Greg Dair, skipper; Andrew Domingos, captain; Andrew Healey, Kevin Schallert, Cameron Demaranville, Hayley Bracken, Tim Fedderson, Lisa Marchand, alternate. Coaches: Nick de Rouhlac and Austin Diaz

Maine Maritime Academy
Castine, Maine
John Joseph, skipper; Rowan Fraley, tactician/main/; Matt Butcka, Andrew Bowden, Jake Newton, Gus Bispham, Zach Vickers, David Markley. Coach: Tom Brown

SUNY Maritime Academy
Throgs Neck, N.Y.
Taylor Walker, skipper; Dylan O’Malley-Joyce, Eric White, James Dempsey, Daniel McDonald, Owen Wing, Nick Berger. Coach: Russ O'Reilly

UC Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, Calif.
Michael Radziejowski, skipper; Andrew Cowely, Mike McCarthy, Conor Bescos, Jean Rutledge, Dan Ladd, Pat Boyden. Coach: None.

U. of Hawaii
Manoa
Zach Hester, skipper; James 'Fizz' Foster, Hannah Tusan Turner, Mike Hanson, Matt Wenner, Craig Schiffens. Coach: Jesse Andrews

U.S. Naval Academy
Annapolis, Md.
Emily Frost, skipper and tactician; James Prieto, helmsman; Ted Dempsey, Ben Rowe, Louis Henry, Patrick Tucker, Colin Nevins. Coach: Jahn Tihansky

USC
Los Angeles, Calif.
Max Hutcheson, skipper; Brock Kraebel, Erik Samuels, Danny Kivlovitz, Kelsey Rupp, Stephen Lue,
Jack Stein, Alessandro Sassoon. Coaches: Mike Segerblom, Glennon Stratton

U.S. Coast Guard Academy
New London, Conn.
Cameron Welicka, skipper; Katie Gilligan, Alex Lloyd, Kevin Knaup, Pete Harrington, Jordan Bogdan, Ben Williams. Coach: Doug Clark

The Port of Los Angeles is America’s premier port and has solidified its esteemed reputation by moving more containers than any other port in the nation, more than doubling its volumes over a 10-year period. It has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit the economy as well as the quality of life for the region and the nation it serves. The Port handled a total of 7,831,902 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (20-foot containers or TEUs, including empties) in 2010 and remains the nation’s busiest trade gateway in terms of container volume.
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