Byline: Rick Roberts
LONG BEACH — Long Beach Yacht Club and the Long Beach Sailing Foundation hosted the inaugural Patriot Regatta Sept. 29 off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. The event was designed to be a tribute to the men and women who serve or have served in the United States military, city police and city fire departments.
More than 100 American “heroes” — including active duty members or veterans of the Navy, Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Long Beach Police Department or the Long Beach Fire Department — became sailors, as they took to the waters of Long Beach Harbor on a fleet of Catalina 37 sailboats for a day of training, racing and — most of all — fun.
The hero sailors were accompanied by 40 experienced sailing coaches, who helped teach, guide, supervise and keep a close watch on the event participants during their time on the water.
U.S. Navy Team 3 won the Patriot Regatta in close racing, in which first and second place were decided by a tiebreaker. The regatta was supported by the USO.
The Navy had three teams in the regatta, with the other seven of the 10 boats represented by the Army, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, Long Beach Police Department, Long Beach Fire Department and Long Beach Veterans.
On board Navy Team 3 was Navy Capt. Lanny Boswell, who is currently assigned to the Department of Defense Deployment Medical Research Center in San Diego.
“The generosity of the club was overwhelming,” Boswell said. “The number of coaches and support people that turned out … we felt very welcome here.”
The lead coach for the team was veteran sailor and 2010 winner of US Sailing’s Championship of Champions Chris Raab, from Alamitos Bay Yacht Club.
“Chris is a great guy,” Boswell said. “He knows what he’s doing — and we did whatever he told us to do.
“Some of our team members have done some leisure sailing before, but a couple have never been on a sailboat,” Boswell said. “Today, we learned attention to detail and valuable sailing skills.”
The Long Beach Veterans team took second place in a close finish in the last race, where they actually beat the Navy team by a couple of feet but still fell short after figuring in the tiebreaker.
Third place honors went to the Army team, with the Marines and Long Beach Firefighters taking fourth and fifth place, respectively.
Final results are: 1st: Navy 3, (1,2,6,3), 12 points; 2nd: Long Beach Veterans, (4,5,1,2), 12; 3rd: Army, (2,9,2,1), 14; 4th: Marines 1 (3,1,5,6), 15; 5th: Long Beach Firefighters, (6,4,4,4), 18; 6th: Navy 1, (10,8,3,5), 26; 7th: Coast Guard, (5,3,9,9), 26; 8th: Marines 2, (9,6,7,7), 29; 9th: Long Beach Police, (8,10,8,8), 34; 10th: Navy 2, (7,7,11DNF,10) 35.