Byline: Rick Roberts
LONG BEACH — Contrary to forecasts, there was no precipitation on the windup of the 28th annual Rose Bowl Regatta Jan. 6 off Long Beach. However, there were more roses raining down on Stanford University’s sailors after they came from behind to steal the championship from College of Charleston.
Even the Cardinal football team didn’t make it that dramatic in beating Wisconsin 20-14 in the Rose Bowl football game four days earlier. The sailors had to make up 13 points in only four races to overtake the Cougars from South Carolina, which they did with finishes of 11th (oops), second, third and first among 30 teams.
No less impressive, though, was Point Loma High School Varsity’s big victory over Coronado in the 28-team high school Gold division. Coronado placed second, one point ahead of third-place Cathedral Catholic of San Diego. Point Loma’s JV1 team took fourth, Corona del Mar took fifth and Newport Harbor took sixth in the 28-team high school Gold division.
The worst news for frustrated rivals: the four Varsity sailors — Kevin Laube, Kiernan Chung, Haley Kirk and Michelle Catania — are a junior, two sophomores and a freshman, in that order.
St. Francis of Woodside took first place in the 32-team high school Silver division. Huntington Beach took second and Port of Los Angeles/Rancho Palos Verdes took third place.
It was a chilly but picturesque day, with bright sun ducking in and out of large lumbering clouds, pushed along by a shifty 11-knot westerly breeze stirring modest whitecaps, and a silhouette of Santa Catalina Island 22 miles offshore.
In swapping boats after each two races, some teams — notably perennial high school Gold winner Point Loma from San Diego — also went to their heavyweight crews as the breeze built in the early afternoon. Greer Wattson replaced Rebecca McElvain, with skipper Scott Sinks and Trevor Hecht replacing Mercedes McPhee with skipper A.J. Reiter.
The added ballast apparently helped.
As with Stanford, all of Charleston’s crew from South Carolina hailed from Southern California, as did several other of the East Coast schools’ competitors. Charleston’s A-Team had skipper Jake Reynolds with crew Katie Dowling; its B-Team alternated skippers Jack Jorgensen and Ryan Davidson with crew Kyle Sutter.
“(Charleston) had a good lead, but we were pretty confident,” Laube said. “We made up about 20 points in the last race.” Overall, Stanford finished with 67 points to Charleston’s 85, followed by defending champion Boston College at 107, No. 1-ranked Georgetown at 111 and Fordham at 115.
Point Loma’s unrivaled success in recent years has been under coach Steve Hunt, 37, whose team of 33 sailors runs so deep that he also entered two junior varsity teams. One of them placed eighth, led by Will LaDow, who won his class at the Orange Bowl Regatta in Florida a week earlier.
How long can the Pointers go on like this?
“I think success breeds success,” Hunt said. “It’s the largest team I’ve had. We get 15 boats on the water in practice.”
The college and high school Gold fleets sailed two-person 13-foot CFJ dinghies off Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier in the Long Beach outer harbor. The high school Silver fleet raced inside Alamitos Bay. Each team had two crews that alternated after every two races.
The event was based at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, hosted by the USC Sailing Team and organized by the US Sailing Center of Long Beach.