Unlike other sailing venues, seldom is it said about Long Beach that if you don’t like the weather, just wait a little while.
From out of Friday’s early afternoon fog that opened the curtain on the weekend came some impressive performances in the West Coast’s largest keelboat regatta for 156 boats on three race courses.
In a fluky southwest breeze of about 7 knots, Marina Del Rey based Dark Star was one of three among seven starters that jumped the line prematurely and had to circle back to restart as the others went on their way, into the thin layer of fog that blanketed the water.
Spotting the competition nearly a minute, the Dark Star team with the event sponsor Dave Ullman himself calling tactics—with owner Janov at the helm, as class rules require—proceeded to pick off its rivals, one by one, through the first of two laps around the mile-long windward-leeward course before breaking into the lead.
“It was a gift,” Janov said, with typical humility. “We were very lucky. The lead boats got into a complicated situation.”
That would be Jeff Shew/Bill Durant’s Viva la Vida and Mick Shlens’ Far Niente that collided at the leeward gate while running 1-2. Far Niente dropped out with its bowsprit bent out of shape, and by the time Viva la Vida got going again Dark Star was gone—another successful team effort.
“We are a team,” Janov said. “We all take the blame for an OCS.” And equal credit for a win.
By then the fog was thinning and the wind was building to 15 knots—conditions that Farr 40s love and usually find in the regatta co-hosted by the adjacent LBYC and Alamitos Bay Yacht Clubs. Dark Star won the second race handily, with five more remaining without throw-outs over the next two days. Long Beach favorite Temptress, had a solid day with two second place finishes behind Dark Star.
Day two, Saturday, saw similar and typical Long Beach conditions, 10-12 knots breeze at mid-day, building to 15 in the afternoon.
Dark Star’s day one dominance was challenged in day two with two Long Beach teams capturing wins in races three and four. Steve Murphy’s JoAnn gained an early lead and held it throughout race three as did Jeff Shew/Bill Durant’s Viva La Vida in race four. Race five came down to the wire with Dark Star narrowly edging out JoAnn for the win.
Racing was tight throughout the fleet with four teams; JoAnn, Temptress, Viva La Vida and Skian Dhu all within two points of each other, but trailing Dark Star by ten points.
Long Beach weather didn’t disappoint on Sunday with winds at race time at 11-12 knots quickly gusting to the high teens by the end of the first weather leg of the first race.
With the pack trailing Dark Star, Sunday’s racing would be more about determining which team would capture second place. Steve Murphy and JoAnn’s veteran tactician, Sam Heck, didn’t leave much to question by solidly capturing race six and seven giving them three wins for the regatta.
Dark Star captured the top spot in typical fashion finishing 1-1-2-2-1-2-4. Temptress joined Dark Star and JoAnn on the podium, finishing third. Full results below:
|80808||Dark Star||Jeff Janov|
|51044||Skian Dhu||Dirk Freeland|
|131||Viva La Vida||Jeff Shew / Bill Durant|
|37||Far Niente||Mick Shlens|