by Rich Roberts
Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week is on its way to becoming a large international event. This year for the first weekend of the summer, there wil be more than 140 boats in eighteen classes making it the West Coast's largest keelboat regatta
Vincitore at Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week
Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week 2011 is being hosted by the Long Beach and Alamitos Bay yacht clubs and includes entries from Great Britain and Mexico, along with all the Western states.
They are drawn by the upscale competition and the prospect of exhilarating weather conditions and nightly parties. The online entry process includes payment of entry fees and arrangements for free docking or mooring for out-of-town boats.
A team from Mexico will join the strong Farr 40 fleet led by Jeff Janov's Dark Star that dominated the class's North American Championship on the same lively waters four weeks earlier.
Matt Ciesicki, who manages the Flojito y Cooperando sailing operations for Mergenthaler and Minkow, said, 'We have three Farr 40s in Acapulco, so for us it's a good chance to see what we have to learn. Long Beach will have good racing and good breeze.'
From another continent, Neil Martin and David Anderson of the South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club in the county of Cheshire in northwest England have charted a boat in the Catalina 37 fleet. They will christen it 'Brits on Tour' for the occasion … and there's a connection here. Mark Townsend, the ABYC member who is the event's principal race officer, has British roots and is an old mate.
Dark Star at Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week
Martin said, 'We are all friends and have known each other since we sailed together in Snipes in our teens.' Townsend's American wife, Robin, said, 'He was our best man 28 years ago.' Martin: 'I was last in Long Beach in 1979 when I came to watch Mark, Stuart Totten and Gary Lewis sail the Snipe Worlds. Mark met Robin and the rest is history.' Martin also noted, 'We are coming with a full UK team.' Robin: 'Should be fun with 10 houseguests for a week!'
Martin, the skipper of Brits on Tour, currently campaigns his J/133 Jammy Dodger around the UK and Europe and has competed in Key West Race Week several times in his J/80 of the same name. He is a seven-time British Snipe national champion and consistently finishes in the trophies in the IRC class of Cork Week, Cowes Week and IRC Nationals.
Anderson, an accomplished businessman, has been sailing since school, competing in numerous dinghy and keelboat classes.
The Catalina 37s, best known for their presence in the Congressional Cup match racing classic for two decades, are still available for charter from the Long Beach Sailing Foundation and automatic participation in the Yacht Club Challenge as one of a club's three entries.
Ullman Sails is the title sponsor. Other sponsors and supporters are DISC Sports and Spine Center, Gladstone's Restaurant, West Marine, EFG Bank, Open Sailing USA, Ayres Hotel Seal Beach, Mount Gay Rum, The Pirates Lair, the Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine Bureau, and Long Beach the Aquatic Capital of America.