Byline: Rick Roberts
LONG BEACH — Just when it seemed the door was closing, Jeff Janov squeezed Dark Star through the crack in winds to 18 knots Oct. 16 to claim another Farr 40 victory, in the city that calls itself the “Aquatic Capital of America.”
Following a dominating win in the Farr 40 North American Championship five months earlier, Dark Star’s victory at the third annual Campbell Cup, hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club, couldn’t have been closer. Janov, from California Yacht Club, and his crew came from behind to nip Dirk Freeland’s Skian Dhu from Alamitos Bay Yacht Club on a tiebreaker.
The difference was Dark Star’s three-length lead over Skian Dhu for second place in the final race, which was won by Ray Godwin’s Temptress. Just behind was the match race for second place that Dark Star won by three boat lengths. That left both boats with 10 points, but Dark Star’s two first places to Skian Dhu’s one in the five races was the edge.
“It was really fun,” Janov said. “Some of the tightest racing we’ve done all year. The competition was amazing.”
Seven of the classic and still competitive West Coast 70 class and eight feisty Farr 40s were joined this year by four i52s, a spinoff of the world-popular one-design TP52s, except that these race to their own IRC handicap ratings. There were three races Oct. 15 and two Oct. 16, with all three groups starting separately each day.
The windward-leeward racecourse was set about 1 mile south of the Alamitos Bay jetty entrance, past the breakwater.
The event was named for the late Mike Campbell, a longtime member of Long Beach YC and the keenly competitive co-owner of the Kernan 70, Peligroso. Campbell died of cancer in 2008, but his boat sails on, now raced successfully by Mexican businessman Lorenzo Berho.
The other class winners at this year’s Campbell Cup were Ed McDowell’s Santa Cruz 70, Grand Illusion, in the West Coast 70s and Manouch Moshayedi’s supercharged Rio in a sweep of the i52s.
Rio, from Southwestern YC, just plain overpowered the other three i52s — two of which ultimately dropped out of the running as the windward-leeward course on the open ocean became a wet version of an off-road track.
Leaving the harbor Oct. 16, the boats were greeted by whitecaps that weren’t seen the previous day. And, as the solid southwest sea breeze built over the 1.75-nautical-mile, three-times-around course, the boats and their crews were pounded with a steep, deep chop that dumped one crewmember into the drink.
That was Jim McCloud, the young bowman on Peter Tong’s WC 70 OEX, who slipped overboard as the boat left the leeward gate.
“No problem,” Tong said later. “He just stepped somewhere that didn’t have a bottom to it.”
OEX circled to collect McCloud, who was in the water about two minutes.
Bill McClure’s Pyewacket, one of several that the late Roy E. Disney raced, found its legs among the WC70s in the tough conditions, logging two second places after a 4-5-4 string on Day 1.
“It was a fabulous two days,” McClure said.
Grand Illusion slipped from a 2-1-1 Saturday to a 4-4 Sunday, but actually stretched its overall lead from two points to a final three as other contenders struggled. McDowell turned the helm of the 25-year-old Santa Cruz 70 over to longtime crewmember Patrick O’Brien “five or six years ago,” he said, but he still rides along for the fun.
Accepting his award, he took the microphone to pay tribute to the event’s namesake. “Mike Campbell was a fierce competitor,” McDowell said, “and he was the one who saved our West Coast 70s and started this regatta. We all owe him a lot.”
Fleet winners are: West Coast 70s (7 boats; ORR handicap): Grand Illusion (Santa Cruz 70), Ed McDowell, King Harbor YC; 2-1-1-4-4, 12 points.
Farr 40s (8): Dark Star, Jeff Janov, California YC; 1-3-3-1-2, 10 points (won tiebreaker over Skian Dhu, Dirk Freeland, Alamitos Bay YC; 2-1-2-2-3, 10 points).
i52s (4; IRC handicap): Rio, Manouch Moshayedi, Shoreline YC; 1-1-1-1-1, 5 points.