27th annual Rose Bowl Regatta, based at the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, is hosted by the USC Sailing Team and organized by the US Sailing Center of Long Beach.
The event quickly became a lively reunion among Stanford coach John Vandemoer and the men and women sailors from the U.S. Naval Academy.
'I used to coach all those kids,' he said, standing two points behind the Midshipmen in the 59-boat fleet after the first day of the two-day event Saturday.
Midshipwomen? Naah, says Ian Burman, now the Navy coach at Annapolis. 'They're all Midshipmen.'
Both of their two-boat teams are equally mixed with both genders - Jason Carminati, Alice Hong, Michael Grove and Caroline Lockett for Navy and Sally Mace, Kieran Chung, Yuri Namikawa and Haley Kirk for Stanford. All of the members are from California. Vandemoer also recruited his competition.
But he won't get Jake Reynolds, the leader of the perennially powerful Point Loma team that this weekend has spread its talent among a Varsity and Junior Varsity 1 and 2 teams, which stand first, second and fifth. Cathedral Catholic is third and Newport Harbor fourth, now apparently fighting to finish second behind Point Loma in seven consecutive Rose Bowl Regattas.
Reynolds, a senior already committed to College of Charleston (S.C.), said, 'We have a really good coach,' referring to Olin Paine, whose game plan was to play the conditions and take few risks.
The weather was cool but clear, and the fleets were met by a subtle south wind of maybe two knots before filling gently to six.
'It was pretty light and shifty, and most of it was just getting quickly out in front and sailing clear,' Reynolds said. 'That's one of the rules of our team.'
Navy, meantime, sailing the same course off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier in the Long Beach outer harbor, didn't win a race but scored mostly seconds and thirds.
Burman said, 'I knew there wouldn't be much wind in this regatta. The forecasts weren't good. With so many boats, our strategy was to avoid the long pile-ups at the starts and watch for opportunities to pass other boats.'
Stanford won two of its seven races - and, unlike the Cardinal football team that blew the Fiesta Bowl to Oklahoma State by missing two late field goals instead of relying on its best weapon, quarterback Andrew Luck - never backed off from its strength.
'As long as we stay away from kicking we're all right,' Vandemoer said.
Sunday's final day of racing will start at 11 a.m., conditions permitting. The pier will be open to spectators, with concessions and comfort stations available. Saturday's leaders
College (59 boats) - U.S. Naval Academy.
High School Gold (28) - Point Loma Varsity
High School Silver (31) - Palo Alto Harker USC Sailing Team website Alamitos Bay Yacht Club website