by Rich Roberts
Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week. It was Long Beach, home of the notorious summer sea breeze that roars down the San Pedro Channel like an express train. So what was with the wimpy six to seven knots that greeted 150 boats in 15 classes for the first day of competition in Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week?
Catalina 37s prepare to douse spinnakers leeward gate - Day 1 - Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week 2011
Deneen Demourkas didn't remember it that way, Michael Johnson towed his J/24 down from Seattle expecting something more than the wimpy six to seven knots he saw Friday, and Jeff Janov didn't want to talk about it.
Farr 40s cross tacks - Day 1 - Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week 2011
Nevertheless, all three led their classes after the first two of seven races to be run over the weekend---Demourkas, with third and first places, shared first place in Farr 30s while Johnson of Seattle and Janov of Marina del Rey led the J/24 and Farr 40 fleets, respectively.
Demourkas, from Santa Barbara, developed her big-boat skills in Long Beach competing against her husband John on Farr 40s and 30s named Groovederci, but she hadn't raced here in six years while hitting the European Tour, where she won two Tour de France classics in Farr 30s.
Other than the lack of breeze Friday, she said, 'I would have been happier if I didn't let my husband get me in the first race.'
John Demourkas (1-3) has a piece of the lead, as does Rhonda Tolar on Wild Thing (2-2). In fact, three of the seven boats are skippered by women, a growing trend in the sport.
'Six years ago I was the only one,' Deneen Demourkas said.
Johnson (1-3), despite sharing the J/24 lead with David Klatt's Jaded (2-2) from Ventura, said, 'We were hoping to have more wind---and more sun, too, actually. That's why we came down from Seattle.'
After winning the J/24 Western Regionals, he had hoped to use the event to prepare for the class worlds at Buenos Aries in November.
Then there was Janov, who on the same waters just last month blitzed the fleet with Dark Star in the Farr 40 North Americans when the wind blew so hard that one day's racing was momentarily moved inside the breakwater. Now, with a 2-1 record in sharply different conditions, he already has a firm three-point lead over Frederic Scheer's Far Niente (3-3).
The regatta's namesake, Dave Ullman, is his tactician for this event, which was no doubt a factor.
'It was a really shifty day,' Janov said. 'But I don't want to say anything. It's too early. Talk to me after Sunday.'
The weather forecast for Saturday and Sunday isn't much better. Racing is scheduled to start at noon. The bigger boats are racing on two courses outside the breakwater, the smallest ones inside near the beach.
Open 5.70s are the largest fleet with 21 boats - Day 1 - Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week 2011
The latter include the largest class, the Open 5.70s, with 21 boats and the defending champion, Tracey Kenney on Hat Trick (1-3), tied for first place with Rich Festa on II havic (3-1). It could be a big year for the ladies.
Two boats posted perfect 1-1 days: Tim Carters' Viper 640, Viral, and Code Blue, a local Schock 35 co-skippered by Bruce Bennett and Bob Marcus.
Viva La Vida set early pace in Farr 40s - Day 1 - Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week 2011
Class leaders (after one of three days)
FARR 40 (11)---Dark Star, Jeff Janov, California YC, 2-1, 3 points.
PHRF-2 (7)—Amante (Choate 48), Richley family, Lido Isle YC, 2-1, 3.
PHRF-3 ( 7)---Tie among Nemesis (Melges 30), Geoff Longenecker, 3-1; Mile High Klub (Flying Tiger 10m.), Phillip Infelise, Alamitos Bay YC, 1-3, and eXigent (Columbia 30), Taylor Grant, Newport Harbor YC, 2-2, 4.
PHRF-4 (16)---Rival (J/35), Dick Velthoen, Ventura YC, 3-1, 4.
FARR 30 (7)---Tie among Groovederci, Deneen Demourkas, Santa Barbara YC, 3-1; Groovederci, John Demourkas, SLBYC, 1-3, and Wild Thing, Rhonda Tolar, Bahia Corinthian YC, 2-2, 4.
Vipers battle on inner harbor - Day 1 - Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week 2011
J/120 (10)---Start racing Saturday.
OPEN 5.70 (21)—Tie between II havic, Rich Festa, California YC, 3-1, and Hat Trick, Tracey Kenney, South Coast Corinthian YC, 1-3, 4.
J/80 (5)---Avet, Curt Johnson, California YC, 1-2, 3.
CATALINA 37 (7)---Team ABYC, Chuck Clay, Alamitos Bay YC, 1-2, 3.
VIPER 640 (15)---Viral, Tim Carter, ABYC, 1-1, 2.
J/105 (9)---Triple Play, Dave Vieregg, San Diego YC, 2-1, 3.
RANDOM LEG PHRF (9)---Rebel Yell, David O. Team, Newport Harbor YC, 1.
BENETEAU 36.7 (7)---Bella Vita, Marty Burke, King Harbor YC, 2-2, 4.
J/24 (12)---Tie between Hot Pursuit, Michael L. Johnson, Seattle YC, 1-3, and Jaded, David Klatt, Ventura YC, 2-2, 4.
SCHOCK 35 (7)---Code Blue, Bruce Bennett, Seal Beach YC/Bob Marcus, ABYC, 1-1, 2.
Radical Departure crosses line the wrong way as other Farr 40s start - Day 1 - Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week 2011
Sea lions enjoyed front row seats - Day 1 - Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week 2011
Long Beach Race Week website