When the wind gods deliver a full range of conditions and icons Dave Ullman and Dennis Conner win trophies on tiebreakers, the sailing has to be pretty special.
So it was for 160 boats in 15 classes at the 17th North Sails Race Week, where the breeze blew itself into exhaustion from 16 knots down to 5 over three days of sunsplashed competition. Organizers ran three courses -- one inside the outer harbor and two outside.
"It was great sailing," said Olympic silver medalist Pease Glaser, who called tactics for Ullman's Melges 24 in a photo finish with national champion Argyle Campbell of Newport Beach. "The first day it was more of a speed contest, then Saturday we were inside where it was really fun sailing on smooth water in good breeze, and [Sunday] was super light."
Ullman's entry was recognized as Boat of the Week as winner of the most competitive class for the second time in four years. Allan Rosenberg's Intense, with sons Ron and Steve Rosenberg aboard, won the Lydia Kent Family Trophy for the second time after sweeping five races in the Olson 30 one-design class.
Campbell seized the class lead with a third to Ullman's eighth in the first race Sunday, then Ullman evened the score with a fourth to Campbell's sixth in the finale. In the tiebreaking countback, each had a first, second and third, but the issue was settled on Ullman's next best finish, the fourth, which Campbell couldn't match.
In handicap terms, Conner's win with his Reichel/Pugh 50 Stars & Stripes over Mike Campbell's new Andrews 52 Victoria in PHRF-1 was just as tight. Victoria, with a rating of minus-45, owed Stars & Stripes (minus-36) nine seconds per mile, so when Victoria finished 1 minute 7 seconds in front of Stars & Stripes in the last race - won, incidentally, by John MacLaurin's Pendragon IV - it was eight seconds shy of correcting out, leaving the pair even with eight points each. Stars & Stripes won that tiebreaker by virtue of its two first-place finishes to Victoria's one win.
"We go better against him in light air," said Bill Trenkle, Conner's veteran trimmer and president of Dennis Conner Sports. "They have real good speed downwind, and they don't give up much upwind." Conner immediately turned the boat back toward San Diego.
"We're really busy with the America's Cup program," Trenkle said. "This is fun but it takes second fiddle to that."
Also otherwise occupied these days is John Kostecki, the leader of Germany's illbruck Volvo Ocean Race campaign who dropped in for just the weekend to call tactics on John Kilroy's Samba Pa Ti, which won the Farr 40 class by four points over Alexandra Geremia's Crocodile Rock.
"This was tough racing," said Kostecki, a native of San Francisco. "It was a nice break coming to California, but my home is in Germany now."
Kilroy said it was good to have Kostecki back on board but that he wasn't the only difference from recent performances when Samba Pa Ti, a former Farr 40 world champion, was off the pace.
"We'd been using our old sails," Kilroy said, noting that the class allows only seven new sails each year. "We were saving our best set for this, the SORC, the Big Boat Series [in San Francisco] and the Nationals in Chicago."
Crocodile Rock started 2-1 in the event, but with a pair of second-place finishes to Samba Pa Ti's fifth and ninth Sunday it had too far to come back after dropping out of Saturday's second race for a 15th following an at-fault collision with Mike Condon's Endurance.
Besides the Rosenbergs, three other boats won all five races: Chris Winnard's Altitude Sickness from San Diego's Southwestern YC, H.L. (Loe) Enloe and Kurt German's F-31 trimaran Mer Loe from Long Beach's Shoreline YC, and Tom Carruthers' J/105 Incorrigible, San Diego YC. The Schock 35s also were settled on a tiebreaker - Dick Schmidt's Outlier over Jeff Janov's Ripple by offsetting a ninth and 11th with three first places. Scott Birnberg, the Long Beach Yacht Club's Yachtsman of the Year, sailed Indigo, LBYC's Yacht of the Year, to victory among the J/120s with a 1-2-2-2-1 series.
Class winners (5 races):
FARR 40 (14 boats; Pacific Coast Championships) - Samba Pa Ti, John Kilroy, St. Francis YC, 1-2-1-5-9, 18.
1D35 (7) -Tabasco, John and Stephanie Wylie, SDYC, 3-2-2-4-2, 13.
EXPRESS 37 (5) - Eclipse, Mark Dowdy/Bill Melbostad, San Francisco YC, 1-1-2-3-1, 8.
SCHOCK 35 (13; Pacific Coast Championships) - Outlier, Dick Schmidt,
California YC, 9-1-1-11-1, 23.
F-BOATS (trimarans/12) - Mer Loe, H.L. (Loe) Enloe/Kurt German, Shoreline YC, 1-1-1-1-1, 5.
J/105 (11) - Incorrigible, Tom Carruthers/Harry Pattison, San Diego YC, 1-1-11-1, 5.
J/120 (8) - Indigo, Scott Birnberg/Randy Smith, Long Beach YC, 1-2-2-2-1,8.
MELGES 24 (18; Western Open Championships) - USA 3, Dave Ullman/Pease Glaser, Balboa YC, 1-3-2-8-4, 18.
SANTANA 20 (9; Western Regionals) - Altitude Sickness, Chris Winnard, Southwestern YC, 1-1-1-1-1, 5.
OLSON 30 (6) - Intense, Allan and Ron Rosenberg, Alamitos Bay YC, 1-1-1-1-1, 5.
PHRF 1 (11) - Stars & Stripes (R/P 50), Dennis Conner, San Diego YC, 1-4-1-2, 8 (first race nullified).
PHRF 2 (13) - Arana (Dencho 50), John Carroll, California YC, 2-1-2-1-1, 7.
PHRF 3 (11) - Wired (Beneteau), Robert Weed, Tiburon YC, 2-1-1-4-2, 10.
PHRF 4 (11) - Chimera (Baltic 38), O'Conor/Hoenemeyer/Johnstone, California YC, 1-2-1-2-2, 8.
PHRF 5 (11) - Blur (B-15), Aaron and Dixon Hall, Cabrillo Beach YC, 3-2-2-1-6, 14.