Boats rounding up, others leaping like porpoises over 4-6-foot waves, spinnakers out of control, Pyewacket cruising smoothly through the mayhem and most of the competitors loving it.
That was opening day of the XVIII North Sails Race Week, indicating a long, hard weekend of racing remaining for 130 boats in 12 classes.
Long Beach's usual early summer south-westerly sea breeze had been a no-show until this week but was clocked at 18 knots, with gusts to 22,Friday for the first two of seven races.
A smiling Dave ULLMAN described the blustery conditions as "a nice day to go sailing"
after going 1-2 in the Melges 24 class races, and he and other leaders attributed their success to solid crew work.
Dave VOSS, 2-1 in the Schock 35s, said, "Everybody had their problems. We lost a jib halyard in the race we won, but the crew had a new one working so fast that we lost only three boat lengths."
Six boats had perfect days with double bullets: Tom COATES' Masquerade in the largest class, the J/105s; Scott TAYLOR'S B32, Defiance, in PHRF-3; Allan ROSENBERG'S Olson 30, Intense, in PHRF-4; David HAMMETT'S DNA in the J/80s, Hank SCHOFIELD B25, B-Moven, in PHRF-5, and Jed Olenick's Doctor No, in the J/120s.
San Francisco's Peter STONEBERG, with Ed BAIRD calling tactics, jumped out to a three-point lead in the high-end Farr 49 class, followed by Tom THAYER'S Non Sequiter and John KILROY'S Sama Pa Ti in second place.
Rosenberg is sailing with two sons, Ron and Darren, and Darren's wife Heather plus a pair of family friends. "We have a special crew that has been sailing the same boat for 21 years,"
Rosenberg said. "Windy or light, we will do well. In the middle everybody hits on us."
As for Pyewacket, Roy E. Disney's Reichel/Pugh 75 was virtually sailing its own races in PHRF-1 in its last tune-up before it meets Philippe KAHN'S Pegasus 77 in the Transpacific Yacht Race on 6 July. Pyewacket, with a minus-111 rating, is giving 51 seconds per mile to Jim Demetriades' Transpac 52, Yassou, and a lot more to everyone else. Those two boats swapped 1-2s on the day to share first place. Kahn is here, too, without his big boat, but gave a strong account of himself with a fifth and a sixth in the 16-boat Melges crowd.
The forecast is for good breeze again Saturday, which wouldn't concern Ullman, who is sailing with a pair of Olympic silver medallists, Jay and Pease GLASER. "It wasn't that windy today,"
Ullman insisted. "People in Southern California just need to go sailing in stronger breeze."
Full results are on the event website at the address below.