LONG BEACH — Riley Gibbs and crew Dot Obel were dealt a severe setback in Southern California’s Yachting Association’s E.E. Manning Regatta at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club Saturday but were confident they could still win the Shadden Series … if they got a chance Sunday.
They did and they did, but on the edge of rain, temperature in the 60s and no wind they had to sit and sweat in their 13-foot CFJ dinghy for two hours before they got a chance.
The scenario: Gibbs, 17, of ABYC and Obel, 15, of Del Rey YC, looked like runaway winners with opening finishes of 1,3 and 1 Saturday in the fourth and last stop of the Shadden Series for teenagers under 19 and not yet in college, with hopes of overtaking Sean Segerblom and crew Clare Dahl for the overall title.
But when they hit the beach they lost a protest to rival contender Rhodes Garner, 16, of Newport Harbor YC and were left in 10th place with a 32nd place DSQ, with Garner on top at 2-3-2.
No problem. All they had to do was finish well in the next two races until a throwout kicked in after five and they could dump the DSQ in their wake.
Problem. After Saturday’s blowout that forced them to race on the inside bay, there wasn’t a wisp of breeze on the outside harbor course at noon race time Sunday.
“I was kind of expecting a light air day,” Gibbs said. “I really thought it was going to pick up.”
It finally did, around 2 o’clock—a feeble 2 knots building to 5, just enough for the two races Gibbs and Obel needed. They won Race 4 and finished two boat lengths behind Segerblom, with Garner third, in the finale—tossing their DSQ and clinching the regatta and overall Shadden crown at the same moment they crossed the line.
“I was very happy,” Gibbs said. As for Garner, who would have won the regatta with crew Briggs D’Eliscu, if sailing hadn’t happened … “I was thinking we weren’t going to get anything off, but I wanted to sail just to see who was the best man.” The victory also boosted Gibbs past Segerblom in the final Shadden standings, 46 points to 52 after the four events at Marina del Rey, San Diego, Newport Beach and Long Beach. Garner finished fifth behind two girl skippers, Cassie Obel of Del Rey YC and Jessica McJones of California YC.
Gibbs’ kid brother Sawyer won the Laser Radial competition—a good family day all around.
The Shadden Series, contested in 13-foot CFJs, is named for John Shadden, one of Long Beach’s premier youth sailors whose career peaked with an Olympic bronze medal performance at South Korea in 1988, with Charlie McKee as crew. The Manning, first contested in 1935, is raced annually at ABYC. E.E. Manning, a member of the Los Angeles YC, was devoted to youth sailing and was an active sponsor and promoter of dinghy racing.
The driving purpose of the regatta is to promote youth sailing as part of the Southern California Youth Yacht Racing Association (SCYYRA) program. The namesake Manning Trophy is awarded to the winner of the class with the most competitors.
Class winners (7 races; 1 throwout) CFJ (Shadden Series; 31 boats)—Riley Gibbs, Alamitos Bay YC/Dot Obel, Del Rey YC, 1-(32/DSQ)-1-1-2, 5 points. Laser Full (9)—Richard Didham, San Diego YC, 1-1, 2. Laser Radial (7)—Sawyer Gibbs, ABYC, 3-2-(4)-2-1, 8. Portsmouth (7)—Nathan Dalleska/Lindsay Mais, ABYC, 2-1-1, 4. Naples Sabot (7)—Christina Van Dyke, Long Beach YC, 2-1-2-(4)-2-4-2, 13. Naples Sabot C (12)—Roxanne Snyder, ABYC, (1)-1-1-1-1-1-1, 6 Lido 14 (5)—Nathan Dalleska/Lindsey Mais, ABYC, (2)-1-1-1-1-1-1, 6.