Linda Elias Challenge hits Long Beach, Oct. 18-19

Linda Elias Challenge hits Long Beach, Oct. 18-19

LONG BEACH – Sailors will hit the water to compete in the annual Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One Design (LEMWOD) yacht race in Long Beach waters on Oct. 18 and 19. Hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club, the fleet racing contest is sailed by 10-women crews on Catalina 37s.

Organized by the Long Beach Women’s Association, the race is now in its 23rd year and welcomes several teams from as far as the West Coast and Washington State to San Diego.

The LEMWOD was originally called the Women’s One Design Challenge and later renamed in honor of Linda Elias, one of the original participants and one of Southern California’s most successful female sailboat racers. Elias passed away in 2004, at the age of 52, after a nine year battle with ovarian cancer. Her friends and fellow sailors – both men and women – still speak of her skills and the presence she brought to a sailing team.

A winner of the Peggy Slater Yachtswoman of the Year award, Elias raced the Transpac in 1989, 1991, 1993, and 1999. Her team won the Women’s One Design Challenge in 1992, 1994 and 1996, the last two while battling ovarian cancer.

“Any of us who were lucky enough to sail with Linda were awed by her skills, patience for teaching others, and calm leadership (that means she never yelled!),” said a friend of Elias’.

The LB/WSA has a fundraising raffle and silent auction for a donation to the Long Beach Sailing Foundation Scholarship in Linda’s name.

Teams returning to competition this year are Southwestern Yacht Club, Newport Harbor Yacht Club, California Yacht Club, Women’s Sailing Association of Santa Monica Bay, and Long Beach/Los Angeles Women’s Sailing Association. New teams this year include the Channel Islands Women’s Sailing Association, the Gybe Ho’s, and a team from Long Beach Yacht Club.

The grueling seven race schedule does provide some time for relaxation and fun, though. Females of all ages participate in this regatta, from teenagers who are capable sailors to seasoned veterans who have sailed the world.

The regatta begins Oct. 17 with a start line practice session and open racing. Racing begins on Saturday, Oct. 18 for four races. The races are followed with dinner and dancing. Sunday, Oct. 19 racing begins for three races, followed by the award ceremony. The preferred course area is near the Belmont Pier where spectators can watch, but winds that day will determine exactly where the racing will be.

Information on the regatta can be found at lemwod.com.

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