A Good Way to Ruin a Perfect Day

Premiere Racing

LONG BEACH, Calif. – If there’s a way to ruin a sailor’s day blessed with warm sunshine and a steady sea breeze, it must be what happened between two competitors in the marquee Farr 40 class at North Sails Race Week Saturday.

At the first windward mark of the day’s second race, Alexandra Geremia’s Crocodile Rock, sharing first place with John Kilroy’s Samba Pa Ti at the time, crashed into Mike Condon’s Endurance to knock the latter boat out of the regatta with two races remaining Sunday. Crocodile Rock was on port tack, Endurance was on starboard in the layline parade, so Crocodile was totally wrong – and knew it.

“I cried,” Geremia said, tears welling in her eyes. “I still cry every time I talk about it. The Endurance guys were so gracious. Thankfully no one was hurt.”

Endurance suffered a large hole in its port side near the chainplates that anchor the mast rigging. Crocodile Rock was not damaged but dropped out, anyway.

Robbie Haines, calling tactics for helmsman Scott Harris, said, “We could have easily kept sailing, but we were wrong. We just didn’t judge it right.”

The incident left the Santa Barbara boat in a three-way tie for fourth with 18 points. Meanwhile, Samba Pa Ti’s performance has returned to its former level of excellence with the return of John Kostecki as tactician this week. Does he make a difference?

“Is the Pope Catholic?” asked Mike Howard, a member of the rival Groovederci crew.

Kostecki, on hiatus from preparing his German illbruck team for the Volvo Ocean Race starting in September, has shepherded Kilroy and his crew around the course to two wins and a second in the three races for an eight-point lead over Peter Stoneberg’s second-place Shadow.

Four other boats among the 160 competing in 15 classes have even better records of 1-1-1 — Chris Winnard’s Altitude Sickness from San Diego’s Southwestern YC, H.L. (Loe) Enloe and Kurt German’s F-31 trimaran Merlot from Long Beach’s Shoreline YC, Allan and Ron Rosenberg’s Olson 30 Intense, Alamitos Bay YC, and Tom Carruthers’ J/105 Incorrigible, San Diego YC.

Winds were from 9 to 12 knots, lighter than Friday, and were expected to be similar for the windup Sunday.

Dave Ullman, with Pease Glaser alongside calling tactics, sailed typically solid and conservative (1-3-2) to stay atop the Melges 24 standings by three points over Argyle Campbell of Newport Beach.

How does anyone – even an Olympic silver medalist – call tactics for Dave Ullman?

“She does it – and I have the option to override her,” Ullman said, smiling. “But that doesn’t happen much. We just worked our way up the middle, playing the shifts.”

Class rivals this week include Philippe Kahn, the Santa Cruz software developer who is in 10th place but whose Farr 40, winner of the recent Cal Cup, would have represented the U.S. if the Admiral’s Cup hadn’t been cancelled. Next Sunday Kahn will start his new Reichel/Pugh 75 Pegasus as one of the favorites in the Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii.

“He could keep punishing the Farr 40s if he wanted to,” Ullman said, “but he wants to learn to sail better. Not many people would step back and do it the way he is.”

In a late development Friday, the first race of the PHRF-1 big-boat division was nullified by the race jury. Several participants requested redress because the race committee started the starting sequence a few minutes earlier than the 4 p.m. stated in the Notice of Race.

Although Dennis Conner’s 50-foot Stars & Stripes finished first in that race, Oscar Krinsky’s 1D48 Chayah corrected out for the win on handicap time. Neither of those boats protested. The biggest beneficiary was Mike Campbell’s new Andrews 52 Victoria, which dropped out after losing its headstay near the first windward mark.

Victoria’s designer, Alan Andrews, who was aboard, said, “The splice on the headstay came undone. We were just getting ready to round the mark. Mike did a good job turning downwind.”

Andrews said the boat wasn’t in serious danger of losing its mast because “the jib luff was supporting the rig.”

Victoria went 1-2 Saturday and leads Conner (1-4) by two points.

Nautica Watches has joined North Sails and Team McLube on the Race Week sponsor team. Nautica features quality timepieces for on-water and onshore use. J/Boats, the Seaport Marina Hotel and Albertsons are among the Supporting Organizations. Sam Adams is the official beer.

Saturday will be a special day. The SVIC Day of Racing and Post Race Party is presented by Silicon Valley Investment Capital, a member of the new Race Week Donor Program.

Results and photos will be posted nightly at www.Premiere-Racing.com. Click on the North Sails Race Week logo and then the appropriate links.

Class leaders (after 3 of 5 races):

FARR 40 (14 boats) – Samba Pa Ti, John Kilroy, St. Francis YC, 1-2-1, 4 points.

1D35 (7) – Tie between Wild Thing, Chris and Kara Busch, San Diego YC, 1-5-1, and Tabasco, John and Stephanie Wylie, SDYC, 3-2-2, 7.

EXPRESS 37 (5) – Eclipse, Mark Dowdy/Bill Melbostad, San Francisco YC, 1-1-2, 4.

SCHOCK 35 (13) – Outlier, Dick Schmidt, California YC, 9-1-1, 11.

F-BOATS (trimarans/12) – Merlot, H.L. (Loe) Enloe/Kurt German, Shoreline YC, 1-1-1, 3.

J/105 (11) – Incorrigible, Tom Carruthers/Harry Pattison, San Diego YC, 1-1-1, 3. J/120 (8) – Indigo, Scott Birnberg/Randy Smith, Long Beach YC, 1-2-2, 5.

MELGES 24 (18) – USA 3, Dave Ullman/Pease Glaser, Balboa YC, 1-3-2, 6.

SANTANA 20 (9) – Altitude Sickness, Chris Winnard, Southwestern YC, 1-1-1, 3.

OLSON 30 (6) – Intense, Allan and Ron Rosenberg, Alamitos Bay YC, 1-1-1, 3.

PHRF 1 (11) – Victoria 5 (Andrews 52), Mike Campbell, Long Beach YC, 2-1, 3.

PHRF 2 (13) – Tie between Cita (Schock 40), Cita Litt, Lido Isle YC, 1-3-1, and Arana (Dencho 50), John Carroll, California YC, 2-1-2, 5.

PHRF 3 (11) – Wired (Beneteau), Robert Weed, Tiburon YC, 2-1-1, 4.

PHRF 4 (11) – Chimera (Baltic 38), O’Conor/Hoenemeyer/Johnstone, California YC, 1-2-1, 4.

PHRF 5 (11) – Kalae (O’Day 35), George Scholten, Los Angeles YC, 4.5-1-1, 6.5.

Complete results as www.Premiere-Racing.com

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