The high pressure system brought in warm weather, a light zephyr and 25 high school sailing teams from California and Washington state. Each school brings four teams split into A and B varsity squads and A and B junior varsity squads, which break down to more than 100 participants. All gathered at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club to attend the Pacific Coast Interscholastic Assn. 2010 Anteater Regatta.
I received an e-mail from Michael Madigan, the junior commodore of the yacht club, telling me what a great sailor I "was" and explaining why my readers would enjoy this event. I was flattered that someone from that age group reads my column.
So I jumped in my dinghy and headed up to the yacht club. As soon as I came around the corner and noticed all the boats and everyone on the dock, I started rocking my boat in an effort to make it go faster. The atmosphere felt like a football game with all the team members wearing their school pinnies - school sailing jerseys - their parents in the background, and all the different teams' tents in the boat yard. The only things that were missing were the marching bands and wind.
The principal race officer was Robert Kenny, who was able to get off 20 short-course races just off the southeast corner of Lido Isle. I always feel like a sports commentator when watching these events because the first thing I start doing is commenting on the competitors' tactics. I was not talking to myself this time, and I was fortunate to pick up from the dock one of my friends, harbor photographer Susan Kenney.
As soon as the race starts I find myself making comments like: "Looks like his bow was a little over the line," and, "She should tack on his bow and lead him back toward Lido."
Coming out and watching these regattas has to improve my own sailing, and it's just fun to mix it up again even if I am in a powerboat.
Another thing I try to take with me from watching these events is the fun these competitors are having in the back of the fleet. There are smiles everywhere. I noticed one kid, who had just started a race, calling out to a friend who was waiting for his fleet to start, "Hey, Tom! Hi! I got a bad start."
I am thinking, what are you doing, kid? Focus. Look upwind.
Then I realized he was just having fun sailing in Newport Harbor on a warm winter day.
If you would like the results, go to the yacht club's website. Although the truly smart thing to do is go to susankenney.smugmug.com and look at all the smiles.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.