June 28, 2012

Long Beach Race Week Viper Report

Ever since a broken spinnaker halyard robbed us of a win at Mardi Gras Race Week, Team FNG was still looking for its first major regatta victory.  We’ve been sailing consistently enough to finish 2nd at several regattas, but were hoping for better this weekend!

Long Beach served up perfect Viper weather for the 15 teams that showed up from San Francisco, Arizona, Texas, San Diego, and the local ABYC fleet.  Sunny skies and strong breeze everyday lend many of my eastern friends that sail here to call it “Groundhog Day Weather”… every day - the same!  First start at noon is usually in the 10-12kt range, but then builds as the seabreeze kicks in, reaching 20-25 throughout the afternoon.  I think Long Beach was extra good this weekend as it was trying to give us a taste of what we’ll have for the Viper 640 North Americans in 2014!  We rented a house on the water, and spent the long weekend riding our beach cruisers around town.

Race 1: Sailing with my Fiance, Gina and Ullman’s Keith Magnussen, we were a little light on the crew weight and completely missed-guessed on the tuning… rounded first mark 10th.   But once we got the kite up and hit a few nice puffs, we started passing boats.  Didn’t really realize how well we had done until, as we rounded the leeward gate just in front of a pack, we noticed there was no one ahead of us!  We went on to win the race after a heated jibing duel on the last run with Spinnaker Sailing’s Drew Harper from San Francisco.  You gotta love his boat name, D.I.L.L.I.G.A.F… because if you ever look closely at Drew, he actually looks like he doesn’t give a floof… and that’s a good outlook on life!

Friday ended with a three-way tie:  Tim Carter, the defending champ with a 4,1.  FNG with a 1,4 and Ed Feo’s LocoMotion with a 3,2.  Texan Robert Miller’s GIGGITY was 3 points back.

Saturday presented the team with a dilemma.  The Daytime Emmy Awards were that evening and as co-host of the talk show The Doctors, I was nominated for two of them.  But, this is Long Beach Race Week and I really didn’t want to miss any racing.  To me, I could still win the Emmy without showing up, so I planned to skip this year’s award ceremony so I could fully devote my energy to the regatta.  Then I got a call from my exec producer, firmly “suggesting” that I be there…

Plan B: 
I race the first two races of the day, sail over to the beach and I would swim to shore, then a quick shower at the lifeguard tower and jump into the waiting limo that would wisk me off to Beverly Hills – EXACTLY what James Bond would do!!!  The Ullman Sails rib had a waiting crewman to fill in for me.  Gina wanted all day to get Emmys ready, so Evan Hoffmann from ODU sailed for her up front, and then helmed after I hit the beach.

Day 2 ended with scores of 1, 3, 2 plus a protest and a divot in my boat.  Evan was driving that race, and even though the other boat was at fault, we made him ride the pink bike the next morning (see video).

We didn’t win the Emmy that night… Regis Philbin did, and he WASN’T there to collect… Anyone see him at a regatta party Saturday???

Sunday:  2 races in “groundhog day” perfect weather and Ed Feo needed to put boats between us.  Each race saw 4 or 5 boats within a few boat-lengths of the lead, but we stuck to him like glue to win the regatta!  Ed took second with Robert Miller third. Meanwhile a broken main halyard would end Timbo’s day early and his chances to defend his title. 

A big thank you to all the Long Beach Race Week sponsors including Ullman Sails.  This was the 2nd stop on the Ullman Sails Inshore Series.

Interest continues to spike over this amazing 3-person sportboat and with our North Americans coming to Long Beach in 2014 all the western fleets continue to grow.  Check out K-Mag’s video of the weekend to see what you’re missing!