Matt Kamlet, CBSLA.com
LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Skippers and crew members of the CSULB Sailing Association set sail on the waters of Alamitos Bay for the CSULBSA Shields Regatta on Sunday.
The regatta, which consisted of five close-quarter races, took place amidst additional boat traffic, and featured 12 students and alumni of the Sailing Association on three 30-foot Shields sailboats (‘Karen’, ‘Isabelle’ and ‘Dark Horse’) as winds progressed from light to 18 knots by the day’s conclusion.
Karen got off the line with a nearly flawless start in Race One. Despite the initially light wind, Karen, skippered by Kyle Henneberque, held her lead and never looked back as sailors got a feel for the course to begin the series. Karen took the win with Dark Horse following in second and Isabelle the last to finish.
Isabelle would recover in Race Two, however, when Dennis Trombley and his crew held a long board for a long-distance run on a port tack, which took them to the East end of the bay and put them in a favorable position over the other two vessels. The maneuver put Isabelle in a spot where she was easily able to hold her lead, reaching the windward mark first for the victory.
Race Three saw Karen return to the leading spot after veteran Shields skipper Michele Mar took command and earned a wire-to-wire win over Dark Horse. Following a textbook start, Mar excelled in the remaining upwind maneuvers, keeping a lead on Dark Horse from start to finish and giving Karen her second victory in three races.
The conclusion of Race Three also saw a sudden increase both wind and traffic in the bay.
The gain in wind provided a boost for all three vessels off the start in Race Four, with Dark Horse skipper Mike Fratantoro opting to take the port-end gate on the second downwind leg. Both Isabelle and Karen found themselves in a tight overlap while competing for the starboard end gate. The starboard buoy provided another obstacle in the form of traffic, with a paddle-boarder at the mark, forcing both vessels to maneuver away. As Isabelle maneuvered to avoid the boarder, Karen, at the same time, rounded up to perform a tack. As a result, Karen, who had reached the mark first, grazed Isabelle‘s stern, chopping off her wooden flagstaff and ensign at the deck. The contact violation earned two penalty points for Karen.
Fratantoro and his crew, on the far side of the course, took advantage of the confusion between Isabelle and Karen, leading Dark Horse off the port gate for her first and only victory of the day.
Both vessels involved in the contact violation were otherwise unharmed and finished the race with Isabelle coming in second, and Karen, burdened with the penalty, in third.
The final race of the day, Race Five, took place during a height in wind velocity, resulting in all three boats coming off the line together. Karen, attempting to take advantage of a big right-hand wind shift, started to leeward, with Dark Horse following. Isabelle skipper Gwynn Markle, meanwhile, took command to windward. Markle and his crew took Isabelle to the opening lead and sailed error-free, never relinquishing her position and covering the other boats for the win, with Dark Horse coming in second.
Ultimately, Isabelle took first place in the regatta with Dark Horse coming in second and Karen coming in third place with 11 points.
The Shields’ helms were made available to any willing crew member throughout the regatta, according to CSULB Shields Instructor Charlie Abbott, who suggested the races were primarily in the interest of the development of the sailors’ skills.
“Each skipper made the helm available to any crew member that wanted to steer their own race,” Abbott said. “Of the twelve people racing, nine took the helm. This is a great way to give club members and students confidence in their boat handling skills. All those who took advantage of that opportunity raced well.”