Please select your home edition
Edition
Doyle Sails 2020 - Cruising Confidence 728x90 TOP

An interview with Sue Service about the 2019 Cal Race Week

by David Schmidt 29 May 2019 08:00 PDT June 1-2, 2019
Racecourse action at Cal Race Week © Image courtesy of Joysailing

California has long offered the hottest sailboat racing on the West Coast, and with a coastline thats stretches more than 840 miles from stem to stern, its little surprise that great racing can be found in myriad locations. Take, for example, Cal Race Week (June 1-2), which is hosted by the California Yacht Club on the waters off of Santa Monica. This regatta, which was established in 1999, has long offered both high-end handicap and One Design racing, as well as a relaxed and fun-focused cruising class.

Not surprisingly, Cal Race Week attracts sailors of all stripes who are interested in great racing as well as the chance to mingle with friends, both new and old, once the finishing guns fall silent each night.

I checked in with Sue Service, Cal Race Weeks regatta chair, via email, to learn more about this exciting West Coast regatta.

Can you tell us a bit about the regattas origins? Also, how has the regatta grown and evolved over the years?

Cal Race Week began in 1999, so its in its 21st iteration. Over the years weve seen a change in the types of boats that participate, from PHRF classes of 40-50 footers, to dominance by the smaller One Design classes.

In that inaugural year, more than 80 boats in nine classes competed-from ULDB sleds to Melges 30s, J/120s, as well as classic One Designs like Stars and Schock 35s.

Arriving in force that year was a competitive Farr 40 fleeta boat still relatively new to Southern California at the time. The Farr 40s have competed in virtually every Cal Race Week or California Cup in the years since.

How many boats are you guys expecting this year? Also, how do these entry numbers stack up to recent comparable years?

Were hoping for 60-70 boats on two racecourses, which would be comparable to the last three or four years of the regatta. Entries peaked in the early 2000s, when we had ~130 boats and three racecourses!

This year, for the first time, the PHRF SoCal Championship will be held during Cal Race Week. That meansin addition to another title being up for grabs in the PHRF class PHRF-rated cruising class boats will be able to compete at Cal Race Week as well.

There will be a third, random-leg coursein addition to the regattas two traditional windward-leeward tracks-for the cruisers to navigate each day of the regatta.

Can you describe the levels of competition that sailors can expect to find, once the starting guns begin sounding?

Cal Race Week draws some of the best sailors from Southern California, and competition is intense. This year, the regatta is a qualifier for the J/70 Worlds, which CYC will be hosting here next year, and we expect particularly aggressive racing in that class.

That said, the PHRF classes deliver some hotly contested battles, year after year, as well.

Conditions-wise, whats typical for this regatta?

The sea breeze kicks in around noon, around the time of the first warning, and in June, both velocity and direction are remarkably consistent: 75-percent of the time we see wind from the WSW with velocities in the 7-11 knot range. By late afternoon we will often see 12-15 knots.

Do you have any advice or insider tips that youd like to share with first-time racers? What about returning racecourse veterans?

In the early afternoon when winds are lighter, it can be tough to get through the waves and chop. Keep the sails powered up while going upwind.

What kinds of onshore/evening entertainment has been planned for non-racing hours?

Seeing that the regatta turns TWENTY-FUN, [sailors can] expect a good party! Well have dinner for racers, and our sponsors NAOS Yachts and North Sails, are providing beer. Mount Gay is also a sponsor, and we plan to have a rum-tasting station. After dinner, there will be a live band and dance contest, and ice-cream samplings from Tillamook.

Can you tell us about any steps that you and the other event organizers have taken in the last couple years to help green-up the regatta or otherwise lower its environmental wake?

Like other regatta organizers across the sport, were working hard to cut down on single-use plastics by providing water stations and encouraging racers and RC rely on their own refillable and reusable water bottles.

Anything else that youd like to add, for the record?

Our vision is as it was 21 years ago for Cal Race Week to be a regatta that offers both serious competition and a fun weekend event for the entire Southern California racing community.

Related Articles

Caped Crusaders
By Composites Constructions, whose background is brilliantly prepared boats. By Composites Constructions. Their background is boats, whether they are super-fast ski boats, or brilliantly prepared ocean racing yachts that have collected their share of silverware. Posted on 4 Aug
Headwinds for American sailors at the XXXII Games
David Schmidt reflects on the U.S. sailing at Tokyo 2020 This has been a strange Olympic cycle. The Games were delayed by a year, there's the lack of cheering fans, and there are social-distancing efforts. Unfortunately for American sailing fans, however, one theme—at least so far—seems consistent. Posted on 3 Aug
Tokyo2020: First reflections on a yo-yo regatta
The Tokyo2020 Olympics are half over - with five Olympic Medal races are still to be contested The Tokyo2020 Olympics are half over - the remaining five Olympic Medal races due to be contested over the next two days. And today looks like being another with light winds. Posted on 3 Aug
The big question
And that would be, 'Who will win?' Now just for the moment we are not talking Olympics... And that would be, 'Who will win?' Now just for the moment we are not talking Olympics, but rather World Sailing's 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award. So it could be you, your club, class, federation, company or your regatta that gets the nod. Posted on 1 Aug
Dutch win third successive RS:X Gold medal
Kiran Badloe's Gold medal win in the RS:X - was a third Gold medal for his coach Aaron McIntosh Kiran Badloe's (NED) Gold medal win in the RS:X - was a third Gold medal for his coach Aaron McIntosh (NZL), and sits well alongside his 2000 Olympic Bronze medal, in the Mens windsurfer. Posted on 31 Jul
Tokyo2020: Leader boards level up on a light Day 6
overall there was a levelling of the leaderboards - making for a tense round of Medal racing While in a couple of situations, sailors have secured Gold medals, overall there was a levelling of the leaderboards - potentially making for a tense round of Medal racing Posted on 30 Jul
Tokyo2020: 49er race winner DSQ after spot check
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke scored their first race win after a sensational disqualification Two crews sailing in the 49er class were disqualified last night, after being found to have trapeze belts that were slightly over the allowed weight. Posted on 30 Jul
Tokyo2020 - Day 5: A day when it paid to be greedy
Peter Burling, Matt Belcher, and the Kiwi 470 crew share their thoughts on day of contrasts Netherlands seem to be assured of their first Gold medal going into the Medal race, and their coach, his third. Peter Burling, Matt Belcher and the Kiwi 470 team give their thoughts on Day 5's racing, and why it paid to be greedy Posted on 29 Jul
Brits set for a medal grab at Tokyo2020
The sight of the Union Jack at the front of the Tokyo2020 fleets is becoming more familiar each day The sight of the Union Jack at the front of the Tokyo2020 fleets is becoming more familiar with each passing day in the Tokyo2020 Olympic Regatta, being staged at Enoshima. Posted on 28 Jul
Tokyo2020: Images from Day 3 - Four classes
Images from Day 3 of the Tokyo2020 Olympic Regatta, featuring the 49er, 49erFX, Finn and Laser Images from Day 3 of the Tokyo2020 Olympic Regatta at Enoshima, featuring the 49er, 49erFX, Finn and Laser. Posted on 27 Jul
North Sails 2021 FOOTERSea Sure 2020 - FOOTERHella Dual Colour Floodlights - 728 x 90px - 004 gif Bottom