Byline: Rick Roberts
LONG BEACH — Over the years, local sailors Vann Wilson, Jay Golison, Keith Ives, Chris Raab and Henry Sprague have won enough glittering hardware to sink Queen Mary. But trophies weren’t the target Nov. 19-20 at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club’s annual Turkey Day Regatta, where everyone sailed for the birds.
“We’ve won our share of turkeys,” said Golison, a member of a successful local racing family who won two of the four Laser class races Saturday, to take third place among 35 boats.
Wilson took first, with a steady string of 4-1-2-5 with a five-point lead over another veteran, Charlie Buckingham of Newport Harbor Yacht Club, in second place.
Golison tossed his 14th in Race 3 over his shoulder like a wishbone. Golison and Buckingham had no double-digit finishes on a sunny but bone-chilling (for Southern California) 60-degree day of racing Nov. 19.
Two other familiar skippers — Keith Ives and Chris Raab — shared first place in Cal 20s with identical scorecards of a first, second, third and fourth. Ives and crew Chuck Stevens won the Cal 20 Class Championships on the same waters in August.
Henry Sprague led the Finn class with no wins, but four deuces.
Sailing for Their Dinners
The Turkey Day Regatta attracted 247 boats and 317 sailors from Seattle to San Diego in its 18 classes. All the winners received a bonus bird to take home, while others won pies or game hens.
Sailing for turkeys instead of trophies has been an Alamitos Bay YC holiday institution since 1948. The Naples Sabots and Lido 14s raced inside on Alamitos Bay; the Lasers and everybody else competed on two courses outside.
Wilson and Golison couldn’t say how many Turkey Day Regattas they had sailed, except that Wilson, 55, hasn’t missed many since he moved to Long Beach 25 years ago — and Golison, 56, only knows that “I started in Sabots when I was old enough.”
What they do know from years of sailing Lasers is that it’s good to be big when it’s windy but frustrating in light wind — and vice versa. Saturday racing started at 8 knots until whitecaps arrived in 12 knots by mid-afternoon.
Even then, wind was puffy and shifty from the southwest.
“If it stayed light, my money would be on Jay,” Vann, the slightly heavier of the pair, said later.
Instead, Golison said, “I was out of gas for that (third) race, but in the last one I went the other way (from most of the fleet), and it was good. I looked under the boom and it was OK.”
So, from a 14th to a first, he was back in the hunt.
Sunday Racing Canceled
As cold southeast winds whistled through the rigs of 247 boats set to be launched for Day 2 of Alamitos Bay Yacht Club’s annual Turkey Day Regatta Nov. 20, racing was canceled — and there were few complaints.
The thermometer showed 58 degrees and the anemometer was steady in the mid-20s, except when gusts kicked it above 30 knots — and the red small craft advisory flag flew stiff above the harbormaster’s office across the bay.
If these were weather conditions any of the racers wanted, they might have signed up for the Volvo Ocean Race. Instead, even the birds were grounded, although the 18 class leaders from the Nov. 19 race who evolved into automatic winners Sunday received the coveted turkeys in recognition of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Racing had been scheduled on three courses, one inside Alamitos Bay and two outside offshore. Considering that the competitors ranged from boys and girls as young as 7 to peers of their grandparents, Alamitos Bay YC Commodore Jon Robinson and event chairman Ken Reiff decided it would be too risky to proceed.
Robinson said, “It was 24 to 25 (knots) steady and presented a situation for most of the sailors that would have been dangerous.”
So, before anyone left the dock, the announcement was made, boats were packed up and the turkeys were handed out.
Sorry, no second helpings this year.
Cal 20 (7 boats): Tie: Keith Ives/Chuck Stevens, Alamitos Bay YC and Chris Raab/Jamie DeWolfe, Alamitos Bay YC, 1-4-2-3, 10 points.
Formula 18 (8): Craig Yandow/Terence Seaman, Alamitos Bay YC, 3-1-4-3, 11.
International 14 (4): Jerome White/Manuel Ingele, St. Francis YC, 5-DNC-2-1, 8.
Viper 640 (8): Tim Carter/Rachel Ellis, Alamitos Bay YC, 4-1-1-1, 7.
International Moth (7): Eric Aakhus, Balboa YC, 1-1-2-1, 5.
Mercury (12): Chris Messano/Doug Baird, Cabrillo Beach YC, 2-1-1-1, 5.
Finn (7): Henry Sprague, US Finn Assn., 2-2-2-1, 8.
29er (16): Patrick Snow/Storm Brown, San Diego YC, 2-3-1-2, 8.
Coronado 15 (5): John Richardson/Mark Brazil, South Coast Corinthian YC, 6-1-1-2, 10.
Laser Full (35): Vann Wilson, Alamitos Bay YC, 4-1-2-5, 12.
Laser Radial (44): Mitchell Kiss, Macatawa Bay YC (Mich.), 1-1-1-1, 4.
Naples Sabot A (18): Jack Ryan, San Diego YC, 4-3-1-2, 10.
Sabot B (14): Rebecca McElvain, San Diego YC, 1-4-1-7, 13.
Sabot C-1 (12): Willem Perry, Mission Bay YC, 2-1-1, 4.
Sabot C-2 (10): Jack Plavan, San Diego YC, 1-1-1, 3.
Sabot C-3 (18): Taisei Hatter, San Diego YC, 4-1-4, 9.
Lido 14-A (14): Mark Ryan/crew unknown, Alamitos Bay YC, 6-1-1-2, 10.
Lido 14-B (8): Tracy Conn/Bill Moore, Alamitos Bay YC, 1-4-1-1, 7.