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27 June 2005, 11:56 am
Final Report
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Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week 2005
Long Beach, UsA

It may not have been the first time at a major sailing regatta, but it doesn't often happen that the winners include the sponsor and a boat owner who missed the first two days playing golf.
Dave ULLMAN'S stake in the inaugural Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week extended to the water, where he showed on Sunday that well into his fifties he is still as formidable a force as when he won the US Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award as America's best sailor. He came from behind to win the Melges 24 class by three points over a familiar rival, Bruce AYRES of Newport Beach.

The event, managed jointly by the Long Beach and Alamitos Bay Yacht Clubs, had 127 boats competing in 13 classes on three race courses in a full range of wind conditions-heavy, light and then moderate on consecutive days. Winds Sunday were 8 knots from just west of south.

'I'm thrilled and honored to sponsor and sail in this regatta,' Ullman said. 'After the job both clubs did, it'll be huge next year.'

Ullman was a presence all weekend, but Alec OBERSCHMIDT missed the first two days while his crew led by Artie MEANS and helmsman Mark GAUDIO sailed his boat Staghound, a Reichel/Pugh 51, to first place in the big boat class, PHRF 1. Oberschmidt returned late Saturday from a holiday at Lake Tahoe, then got on board on Sunday.

'I just sat behind the helmsman and advised him once in a while,' he said, smiling. 'Artie had an all-star crew and I had an annual vacation.' Means said, 'This is the first time he's missed a race.'

Staghound, finding the lighter winds of the last two days agreeable, hung in closely enough with the biggest boat, Mike CAMPBELL and Dale WILLIAMS' new and fast Dencho 70, Peligroso, to correct out on handicap time.

Other winners included a dedicated Team Evaul in Catalina 37s and Scott BIRNBERG, who drove his J/105, Indigo, to victory in the largest class of 23 boats-that, after teetering on the edge of blowing a 21-point lead in the seventh and final race.

'We had to win ugly instead of winning pretty,' Birnberg said. 'We wanted to put some pressure on ourselves.'

Indigo almost had the title mathematically clinched when, 10 seconds before the last start, the Long Beach boat was protested by a rival whose bowman had pushed Indigo away in a near-collision.

'I felt they were wrong [because] they had no overlap,' Birnberg said, 'but we figured we wouldn't take a chance on being disqualified.'

So they did a double penalty turn to exonerate themselves then clawed back to ninth place to win overall by 12 points over Carolyn HARDY'S Mischief, driven by David LEVY.

Indigo also collected the Satariano Family Trophy as Boat of the Week for the most dominating performance. Staghound was the PHRF Boat of the Week.

Team Evaul scored a double victory: first in Catalina 37s, chartered from the Long Beach Sailing Foundation, capped by the Kent-Golison Trophy for the best performance with a minimum of three family members aboard.

Claudia WAINER was at the helm, and the crew of 10 included three of her regular crew, plus the wife Lise, brother Phil, sister Anne and sister-in-law Heather of Chip Evaul, LBYC's late racing director who died of cancer last year. Tactician Camille DANIELS and Jeannie MORRIS also had lost their husbands in recent years.

Team Altitude Sickness led by Phil and Payson INFELISE won the last three races but Team Evaul's third places left it three points ahead.

Daniels said, 'We knew we had to have third or better to win, and that's what we did. It was kind of emotional, too.'

Ullman won only one race to Ayres's three but had no finish worse than fourth in the small but competitive 10-boat fleet. It was only his second Melges event in the last two years. 'For not being in the boat for a while, it felt good,' he said. His crew was Bret RUHNE, Mike PINCKNEY and Robert KINNEY.

He trailed Ayres by two points going into the last two races on Sunday and targeted his rival with match-racing tactics to seize the lead with a first to Ayres's fifth. Then in the last race he continued to pressure his opponent as they finished fourth and fifth.

There was no special award for seniority, but Allan ROSENBERG, 66, demonstrated that age is meaningless-either the skipper or the boat. He drove Intense, which he bought new in 1982, to a one-point win over Blue Star in the Olson 30 class.

'Our boat has a lot of miles on it,' Rosenberg said. 'We had a wonderful battle with Larry SPENCER and [helmsman] Todd DOWNEY. We traded the lead on every leg.'

The regatta was the last of four stops on the new Ullman Sails Inshore Championship series, following the Ahmanson Cup at Newport Beach, Yachting Cup at San Diego and Cal Race Week at Marina del Rey. The series winners were Staghound in the 50-plus class, John CARROLL'S Dencho 51M, Arana, from California Yacht Club in 40-plus, and Biff BUNNEY'S Henderson 30, Power Point, from Dana Point, in Sportboats.

Rich Roberts (As Amended by ISAF), Image: Peligroso rounds windward mark © Event Media
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