Optimist Harken Series #1 – March 5-6, 2011
California Yacht Club, Marina Del Rey
It’s not uncommon to see airplanes trailing banners when spending time in Los Angeles’ beach communities, but imagine the surprise of the 36-boat Optimist Fleet, parents, coaches and race officials when a banner came directly over the race course reading “SBYC” followed by the yacht club burgee! The Santa Barbara kids erupted in cheers thinking that this had been arranged specially for them as the plane disappeared northward headed for SBYC Opening Day.
SBYC’s “Team Opti Power” was limited in its representation at the first of four events that comprise the annual “Harken Series,” a series of regattas that alternate between the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California. Only Lucas and Matthew Pierce were able to attend due to others’ illness, conflicts with soccer and, of course, SBYC Opening Day. While the number of actual Santa Barbara kids may have been thin, Coach Craig Wilson still had his hands full with both the Pierce boys and others who regularly train with the Santa Barbara group. Chance Weston of Cabrillo Beach YC and Cooper Weitz of California YC also sailed with the Santa Barbara team.
Saturday’s conditions were trying on competitors and race officials alike as light and fickle winds made it difficult to set up and maintain a square racecourse and challenging for the competitors to stay in phase. Only two races were completed and there were times during the second race that the wind died almost completely. Since the breeze never filled from a direction that would have led to significant reversals of fortune, the race was allowed to continue and those who were focused and determined were rewarded for their efforts. Among them were Cooper and Lucas who finished 3rd and 5th respectively while many of their competitors ultimately ended up using that race for their discard. Matthew Pierce ended the day at the top of the leaderboard for the White Fleet-ages 10 and under.
Sunday’s conditions were also very unpredictable as the wind direction varied across a range of over 100 degrees and velocity from varied 6-11 knots. The majority of Sunday’s racing was held in 6-8 knots allowing CYC to run four very competitive one-lap races. In the first three of Sunday’s four races, Chance Weston had it all working using good starts, exceptional boatspeed and conservative tactics to first-place finishes. Lucas Pierce was less consistent on the day with finishes of 4-11-10-3, ultimately discarding the 11th and moving him from second place overall after Saturday’s racing to fourth overall and second in Blue Fleet (ages 11 & 12) for the regatta.
Team Opti Power continues to improve and always represents SBYC well on the water and off!