By Len Bose
October 11, 2013 | 3:05 p.m.
This past weekend, with warm weather and gale force Santa Ana winds forecast for the morning and diminishing by the afternoon, racers cautiously prepared for Saturday's 14 Mile Bank Race. Fortunately, the devil winds were subsiding as race time approached, with 25 boats showing up for the start.
Even with the lingering threat of gale force winds, the thought of a 20- to 25-knot run out the 14 Mile Bank was exhilarating. How we would have worked our way back upwind to the finish line would have proved challenging. As luck would have it, the Santa Ana winds were pushed inland by the southwest sea breeze, and the competitors made it around the course with little to no mishaps.
Other than it being the last race of the season, the fact that it was the final race of the 2013 Newport Beach High Point Series might also have accounted for the good turnout.
The series started in February with the Midwinter Regatta hosted by the American Legion. Other races of the series included the first race of the "66" Series, the Newport Harbor Yacht Club's Ahmanson Cup and the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club's Leukemia Cup Regatta.
The High Point Series, overseen by the Assn. of Orange Coast Yacht Clubs, dates to 1990, when Chuck Holand, aboard Amorous, ruled the harbor. Over the years, other names — like Jim Kerrigan, Joe Degenhardt and John Szalay — appeared on the trophy more than once.
With the decreasing number of participants in our local PHRF fleet, which consists of large sailboats, I thought it would be a good idea to promote this event through my column to encourage more participation. I asked the AOCYC if we could present the award during one of the local clubs' awards banquets.
My next idea was to create an additional award of a custom burgee, made by Nikki's Flags and framed by the Newport Frame Co. Not to pat myself on my back, but after three years, it might just be working.
|Richley Family Buddy, Tim, Steve|
I asked Buddy Richley, the skipper of the Choate 48 Amante, how long he had known about the High Point Series. "About four years now," he replied.
Amante was a close second to last year's winner, Tango, and when I asked Buddy about his crew's participation over the series, he explained that all of his crew wanted to sail in the different races.
"We normally do not sail in the BCYC event or the 14 Mile Bank Race, but because we were in the hunt to win, we made sure we were on the starting line," he said.
After going through this year's race results, the Richley family, aboard Amante, appear to be the 2013 High Point Series winners with strong finishes in the "66" Series and Ahmanson Cup. In second place was John Shulze's J-109 Linstar, followed by Szalay's Peterson 34 Pussycat in third place. For complete results, go to lenboseyachts.blogspot.com.
I have always felt that the city of Newport Beach should help sponsor this event by donating six annual parking passes to the winner. The owner of the winning boat would then hand out the passes to the crew.
I am going to continue my efforts next year by asking the Harbor Commission to help me work through the process. Another idea I had is to have the owner of the second-place boat present the award and have a type of tug-of-war over the trophy with the first-place winner.
If you have any other ideas on how to improve the attendance of this event, please call or drop me a note.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.