Byline: Rick Roberts
LONG BEACH — Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week brought broken hearts to some, but a happy daze to others in a wild windup to the West Coast’s largest keelboat regatta June 30, co-hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club and Alamitos Bay Yacht Club.
Daniel Woolery felt the experience both ways, and four of the other 14 class winners came from behind to prevail on the third and final day: Jay Golison of Alamitos Bay YC in Viper 640s, David Hood of Long Beach YC in Catalina 37s, Bob Lane of Long Beach YC in his Andrews 63 Medicine Man in Random Leg 1 and Tony Festa of California YC in Open 5.70s.
Woolery, owner-skipper of Soozal, a King 40 from the Dana Point YC, had overcome a 10-point disqualification suffered by his team and six other boats in PHRF-2 class for rounding the wrong windward mark on Day 1 — June 28 — but battled back into first place by winning all three races June 29.
Then, as he lined up for the first of two final races June 30, his boat was T-boned in the portside transom by Tango, a J/133 from Balboa YC coming downwind from the start line. The damage was so severe that both boats retired, leaving Rob Sjostedt’s Flyer, an RP37 from Coronado YC, to win the last two races and, temporarily, the class.
But wait. As the awards ceremony got underway, since Soozal wasn’t at fault, race officials awarded redress based on the average of its first five races (1-10-1-1-1) and subtracted 2.8 points from his two 8-point scores for the final two races that he didn’t sail.
The result: a final tally of 19.6 points, four-tenths ahead of Flyer.
“When we were hit, I just thought it was over,” Woolery said. “I was just happy that we had sailed well as a team. Most of the guys have been with me the last four years.”
Other good news was that although a crewmember from each boat sustained injuries, they were not as serious as initially feared.
Among the rest of the 156 boats on three race courses, Golison and his crew on their Viper 640 It’s All Good were honored as One-Design Boat of the Week for seizing the 25-boat class victory by one point from a fellow Alamitos Bay YC member. Kevin Taugher had led the first two days until going 7-3 on Sunday as Golison scored 1-4, to hold off Taugher and Viper veteran Glyn Locke from the UK’s Isle of Wight by a single point.
Golison thus qualified to compete in the EFG Bank Pan American Viper Championships in Miami next year.
Hood’s comeback rivaled Woolery’s. He finished a last-place 10th in the first race Friday, but won four of the last five races to edge fellow Long Beach YC co-skippers Scott Mehler and Greg Morse by two points. Chuck Clay’s Team ABYC, the defending champion, took a four-point lead into the last day, but slipped to third overall with an 8-5 windup.
Some sudden changes in the weather may have been a factor. As a warm, sunny day slipped away into a misty overcast and a momentary sprinkle, an uncommon southeast wind held at 16 knots but turned uncertainly shifty.
Hood said, “Chuck’s a great competitor, (but) at the last leeward mark, we decided to go right into what seemed to be smoother water, and the wind looked better on the right.”
Clay and the other key rivals went left to cover one another as Hood and his team won the race and the title.
Lane, tuning up for another Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii in the next few days, also came from behind to win the last two Random Leg 1 races, 18.5 nautical miles around the harbor Saturday and Sunday, edging Victor Wild’s Bud, a TP52 from San Diego YC, by one point.
Thomas Wheatley’s Gator from Alamitos Bay YC, competing in Random Leg 2 class, was honored as PHRF Boat of the Week for its two-point win in tight competition.
The LBYC Blue team of Lane’s Medicine Man, Steve Crooke’s J/109 Sugar and Scott Mehler/Greg Morse’s C/37 won the Yacht Club Challenge for combined efforts.
Bill Durant’s Farr 40 Viva la Vida collected the Golison & Kent Family Trophy, with his wife Pam and son Dustin on board.
Tony Festa, after a struggling at 2-4-8, pulled off a similar comeback among a dozen Open 5.70s, with a 1-1-2-1 string over the last two days.
Class winners (7 races; no discards) are:
CATALINA 37 (10 boats) — DH3 Racing, David Hood, Long Beach YC, 10-3-1-1-1-4-1, 21.
FARR 40 (7) — Dark Star, Jeff Janov, California YC, 1-1-2-2-1-2-4, 13.
J/109 (7) — Sugar, Steve Crooke, Long Beach YC, 2-2-1-1-1-3-2, 12.
J/105 (7) — Current Obsession 2, Gary Mozer, Long Beach YC, 1-1-1-1-1-1-8/DNC, 14.
J/70 (8) — Perseverance, Bennet Greenwald, San Diego YC, 1-1-2-5-1-1-1, 12.
J/80 (6) — Avet, Curt Johnson, California YC, 1-1-2-1-1-1-1, 8.
J/24 (5; sailing only 5 races) — Critter, James Baurley, Santa Monica Windjammers YC, 6/DNC-6/DNC-1-1-1-2-1, 18.
J/120 (11; sailing only 5 races) — Caper, John Laun, San Diego YC, 12/DNC)-12/DNC-1-1-1-2-2, 31.
OLSON 30 (8) — Blue Star, Larry Spencer, Pacific Corinthian YC, 1-1-2-1-3-1-1, 10.
OPEN 5.70 (12) — Tony Festa, California YC, 2-4-8-1-1-2-1, 19.
PHRF-1 (4) — Double Trouble (J/125), Peter Krueger, St. Francis YC, 1-2-3-1-1-1-2, 11.
PHRF-2 (9) — Soozal (King 40), Daniel Woolery, Dana Point YC, 1-10/DNC-1-1-1-8/- 2.8 redress-8/-2.8 redress, 19.6 points.
PHRF-3 (7) — Flyingfiche (1D35), Chris Wacker/Bob Zellmer, Long Beach YC, 2-3-1-1-1-1-5, 14.
PHRF-4 (11) — Rival (J/35), Dick Velthoen/David Boatner, Ventura YC, 1-1-2-2-5-1-2, 14.
VIPER 640 (25) — Jay Golison, ABYC, 1-4-1-3-3-1-4, 17.
RANDOM LEG 1 (8) — Medicine Man (Andrews 63), Bob Lane, Long Beach YC, 4-1-1, 6.
RANDOM LEG 2 (7) — Gator, Thomas Wheatley, Alamitos Bay YC, 1-1-3, 5.
RANDOM LEG 3 (6) — Traveler (Express 37), Jack Mayer, Del Rey YC, 1-1-1, 3.