by Rich Roberts
This isn't a commercial, but one of the four boats that won both of its races on opening day of Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week Friday was skippered by … Dave Ullman.
The red, white and blue parade
The sailmaker and multi-class world champion ran away from the other 15 boats in the fast-evolving J/70 class, but his rivals have two more days in the West Coast's largest keelboat regatta presented by the Long Beach and Alamitos Bay Yacht Clubs to follow his lead about racing in light to vanishing breeze.
Craig Walker's Viper crew scrambles to set spinnaker
Actually, the fastest boat of all on the day also finished first but didn't win. Tom Holthus' Bad Pak left seven other proven ocean racers behind over the 21-nautical mile Random Leg/PHRF 1 course offshore to the west. The STP 65 from San Diego sailed faster than what little wind there was with an average speed of about 10 knots in a mostly single digit southerly fading to five.
The downside was its minus-126-second handicap, which left it in fourth place behind Ed McDowell's Grand Illusion, Jay Steinbeck's Margaritavillle and Bob Lane's Medicine Man---all longtime rivals in West Coast ocean racing.
It's not quite OK for It's OK at start of first race Friday
'Not a lot of maneuvers,' Holthus said, 'but the crew got it together for a good performance.'
Holthus suggested that Bad Pak made its best gain early when it elected to use a Code Zero headsail in a stretch of broad reaching while others were resorting to full spinnakers.
So is Holthus hoping for stronger wind---say, 25 knots?---over the weekend?
'Twenty-five knots would be a hoot,' he said, chuckling. 'Twelve or 15 would be good, but we're comfortable with seven or eight, too.'
The 35th year of the regatta has 142 boats from six states and Canada, living up to its slogan, 'Race With the Champions.' There will be as many as five more races over the last two days, starting at noon each day, conditions permitting.
Dave Ullman and his J/70 crew cross finish line in first place
The largest class is Viper 640s with 23 entries. Kevin Taugher's Hot Mess from ABYC with a first and a third has a three-point lead over Alex Steele of Balboa YC (three - four), but former winners Jay Golison and James Sears are lurking in sixth and seventh place.
The Catalina 37 class, with all 11 boats chartered from the Long Beach Sailing Foundation, opened with a three-way tussle among Dave Hood, LBYC (two - one), and Chuck Clay, ABYC (one - four), who have won the last six LBRWs between them, and veteran Bruce Ayres of Newport Harbor YC (three - two).
The regatta is open to one-design classes and PHRF boats with handicaps of 222 or less. Racing is on three closed courses---two outside and one inside the breakwater---plus the Random Leg course across the adjoining Long Beach and Los Angeles harbors with one race daily.
Helen Brierley drives her and husband Dan McGanty's Tartan 101 Mistral off starting line in strong position
The Yacht Club Challenge Trophy features several of the Catalina 37s filling the requirement to be part of a three-boat team with boats from two other classes.
The Golison Kent Family Trophy will be awarded to the crew with the most family members on board.
The next post-race party will be Saturday night at LBYC. The Sunday trophy presentation and party will be at LBYC. A water taxi will offer transportation between the clubs across the bay each evening.
Paul Turang's "LB Misfits" team cruises past spectators
PHRF-1 (eight boats)---Grand Illusion (SC 70), Edward McDowell, King Harbor YC.
PHRF 2 (12)---Elixir (SC 52), Chad and Karie Downey, Los Angeles YC.
PHRF-3 (11)---lulu (Schock), David Booker, Santa Barbara YC.
PHRF MULTIHULL (4)---Mama Tried (8.5cm Tri), Pete Melvin, ABYC.
(Seven races; no discards)
Catalina 37 (11 boats)---Team LBYC, Dave Hood, LBYC, 2-1, 3.
Viper 640 (23)---Hot Mess, Kevin Taugher, ABYC, 1-3, 4 points.
J/70 (16)---David Ullman, Balboa YC, 1-1, 2.
J/109 (6)---Electra, Thomas Brott, Santa Barbara YC, 1-2, 3.
J/120 (7)---Shenanigans, Gary Winton, Cabrillo Beach YC, 2-1, 3.
Flying Tiger (6)---John Harrop, San Diego YC, 1-2, 3.
Melges 20 (5)---Makaira, Skip Shapiro, Richmond YC, 1-1, 2.
PHRF-SB2 (7)---Avet (J/80), Curt Johnson, California YC, 1-1, 2.
PHRF-A (11)---Flyer (RP 47), Rob Sjosted, Corsair YC, 2-1, 3.
PHRF-B (8)---Rival (J/35), David Boatner, Ventura YC, 1-1, 2.