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ABYC 2015 4th of July Regatta
It finally happened, a regatta that was not totally dominated by windward-leewards with dizzying NASCAR laps.

7 boats were treated to a beautiful July weekend in Long Beach, sunny, warm, breezy all crews sitting to weather and hiking, what more coul d be asked for?  Lidos shared the bay with the Sabot and Opti Green fleets where PRO Mike Boumann did an exceptional job keeping the fleets separated.  While we all did round a couple of marks with the Sabots they were ultimately a non-issue and demonstrated that we can in fact coexist in the bay.

Bells 4th of July Regatta

                          Editors Note: Racing with one year old Owen, happily sucking on his bottle, the Bells were currently leading the
                          A fleet when this picture was taken and went on to win this race and the regatta. The epitome of family fun!    
                          Photo Credits: Amanda Wayne

The regatta opened with the only triple-lapper W-L we did sail and showed why “ABYC is the place to be” if you are John Gresham and Mandi Smith!  While trailing the first couple of laps, on the penultimate beat, John must have opened his garage door, which is suspiciously close to the weather mark, awarding them a monstrous lift to pass 2 boats and take the lead which they maintained to the finish line.   After another race around the tetrahedrons which was lead wire-to-wire by John and Mandi we enjoyed a leisurely lunch break before returning to the water.

After  lunch the RC did something I remember vividly from my joyous boyhood at ABYC, a course with fixed marks and letters in addition to ‘W’ and ‘L’, that nearly brought a tear to my eye.  We finished the day with 2 courses of Cs-H-L-W-L, Yes, a starboard rounding, a sail back and f orth down the channel that connects the ‘windy bay’ to the main turning basin, then a lap around the turning basin to a finish line tucked up by the yacht club.  People think that these races are parades, and they are, it is the same parade that is marched around the W-L’s but with more variety, the fast people go fast and the smart people sail smart.  Sailing up the channel there were multiple lead changes based on the lane you picked, sailing high or footing to the docks both netted gains at times.  Then the sail back down the channel there was again opportunities to gain by pole-forward reaching vs jib-outside-the-shroud reaching.  All of the boats were in the mix crossing tacks with each other and kept the racing close and exciting.  The first bay tour was won by John and Mandi.  In the second, Jon and Lauren Bell were finally able to stay ahead of the yellow boat and take the race win.

While John / Mandi sailed away with day 1, The Bell’s, Jr National Champion Sawyer Gibbs and Amanda Wayne, Kathy Reed and Bill Moore and Nathan and Erin Dalleska were close in points and rounded out the A-Fleet r espectively.  Eric Stokke and Ed Behrens (Opti Dad’s from Santa Barbara) lead Steve Cole and Melinda Howell in the B-Fleet.  The A-Fleet and B-Fleet sailed together allowing for a larger fleet and more excitement around the buoys.

Day 2 was again a beautiful day, but where was everyone?  John and Amanda decided it would be a day better spent on a Duffy cruise, so the yellow boat stayed ashore and they left poor Sawyer to fend for himself.  The red boat with the Dallenska’s was also missing for the day.  The Bell’s missed the first start driving multiple laps around the peninsula trying to find parking, apparently a beautiful Sunday around noon is a time many people frequent the peninsula.  Also the Bell’s were celebrating Owen Bell’s first birthday, and you know how 1-year old birthday breakfast parties can get out of control and run long.  Kathy and Bill must have had their Wheaties because they came out of the blocks firing, winning the first race and ultimately had the low score for the day.  Jon, Lauren and Owen made it out in time for the second race, another bay tour, and Owen’s debut to the Lido class.  With Owen calling tactics the 3 Bells were able to take the lead pla ying a shift off a docked J105 halfway up the channel and maintain the lead around the rest of the race.  We finished the day with a couple of 1-lap W-L’s that were won by Sawyer and Kathy and Bill respectively.  When all of the dust settled the top 3 were the Bells, Sawyer / Amanda and other crew whose name I didn’t catch, and Cathy and Bill each separated by a single point.  Eric and Ed sailing in their second Lido regatta took the B-Fleet, while they aren’t promoted to A’s maybe they need to buy a boat!

To wrap up my extended rant here are my overall thoughts for the weekend.

  1. Don’t mess with the local fleet champs on their home turf, they’re fast!

  2. Sailing longer non-windward-leeward courses is fun.  Long and Short courses don’t need to be mutually exclusive, sail them both, the same people will likely win and it is fun.

  3. Lidos, Sabots and, Optis can cohabit the bay, you missed a great event if you weren’t there

  4. Sailing with a 1-year old was fun, entertaining and challenging.  Have your crew hold a 30 pound medicine ball, give it milk on the reaches, keep it away from the ratchet block and race in windy, puffy conditions for the experience.

  5. Thanks to ABYC and the host Laser fleet for a great weekend.


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