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The Harbor Report: Another fantastic race on the water

August 30, 2011|By Len Bose

While much of the East Coast battened hatches and boarded windows in anticipation of Hurricane Irene, I was busy gathering my storm supplies for the 2011 Balboa Yacht Club & Newport Harbor Yacht Club Long Point Invitational Race Week. As always, I brought along my Excedrin Migraine, Tums Ultra 1000, drinking water and 7UPs for the forecasted rum squalls.

This not being my first rodeo, I seem to be better preparing for this event each year. Over the last two years, I have attended both breakfasts at Moonstone and Whites, navigated past the "Tree ring" toss at Moonstone, stayed dry during the beach landing at Whites and been physically able to attend the party on Saturday Night.

I do not get it. Three years ago we won this event overall and now, with the ability to stay away from the rum squalls, we have finished in the lower part of the fleet.

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The constant of the event is the people and the scenery. This is what truly makes this event the mother of all sailing events in Southern California. This year we had everything from Dr. Laura Schlessinger's newly built Kantana to the return of the Rolex Rangers aboard the 1939 built Chubasco, skippered by Craig Cadwalader.

Now blend in Payson Infelise's Mile High Club with John Garrison's Checkmate, and you have the ingredients of the perfect weekend. Making sure everything stays together throughout the weekend year after year are the two yacht clubs' sailing administrators, BYC's Becky Lenhart and NHYC's Jennifer Lancaster.

Becky and Jennifer are the ones who deserve all the credit for making this the best event of the year.

This year's event, from Aug. 26 to Aug. 28, was challenging in many ways. Friday's forecast of no wind turned out to be incorrect, piping up over 20 knots by the finish. The fastest way to the finish line was to "Go fast and go straight," and not beat up the beach. I have to eat a lot of crow on this one because I was using every hand signal I know to convince the boat on our weather hip to tack and head up the beach.

"Sorry about that bird signal I used, commodore!"

Saturday started with the breeze up and a couple of boats throwing reefs in their mains. When, 10 minutes from the starting gun, the wind disappeared and we frantically started shaking the reefs out and changing back to our larger headsails.

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