It was a busy day on San Diego Bay for day two of the 104th Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge Cup. With a 580’ Bulk Carrier anchored directly in the middle of the course, U.S. Navy ships making way in and out of the channel and the CRA Halloween Regatta interweaving, navigating through the course was nothing short of exciting. San Diego Bay was a spectator’s paradise.
The regatta started out under postponement due to fluky and light breezes. Around 1 pm, the breeze picked up to about 8-10 knots and stayed consistent enough to hold four races. Traffic on the Bay made for choppy conditions and many race course obstacles, testing the skills of our twelve Lipton Cup teams.
Race Director Jeff Johnson explains the challenges that come with choppy conditions. “It makes it really hard for the competitors when the water is choppy like it was today. They’re constantly having to put the boat in acceleration mode. The sails are full, the bow is down and you’re driving it really hard. It can be tough to execute your strategy.”
“It becomes a safety issue as well. When there are a variety of boats on the course, crossing in each other’s paths, their unpredictable maneuvers make it hard for the boats racing to react. Today, we had to shorten the course, which gives the boat less time to separate and causes a crowd at the marks, making them more likely to collide,” Johnson continued.
The current overall standings show Long Beach Yacht Club (32 points) in first, San Diego Yacht Club (35 points) in second and California Yacht Club (54 points) in third. However, the score sheet positions can barely forecast what day three of the regatta will look like. Race finishes remained inconsistent all over the board with the exception of Long Beach Yacht Club who maintained their position in each race at the top of the fleet.
Series race six started off with San Diego Yacht Club and California Yacht Club holding their positions at the top of the fleet at each mark rounding. Race seven saw two completely different teams take the lead, with Long Beach Yacht Club and Chicago Yacht Club dominating the majority of the race. Southwestern joined in the competition leading at every mark rounding alongside Balboa Yacht Club in race eight. With the exception of SDYC ahead of the fleet by a minute and a half in race nine, every mark rounding saw a new team on the quest for first.
LBYC Skipper Shane Young talked about his success finishing first in day two. “It was all about staying in tune with your trimmers today. John Busch trimming jib was super communicative, talking a lot to me and keeping the boat up to speed through all the chop. The last three races saw breeze all over the map. Hitting shifts and keeping the boat moving through the chop and traffic was super important.” LBYC has stayed in the top of the fleet the entire regatta with an exception of a penalty in race three.
California Yacht Club saw an impressive climb up the score sheet today, finishing the day in third place. Skipper Allie Blecher is a Lipton Cup veteran and was the first female skipper sent by CYC to the regatta. “We have the most amount of girls on board in the fleet and it’s really working out well for us. We’ve been spending as much time as we can out on the water together practicing.” Time in the boat has paid off for the California Yacht Club, who started the day with a second and finished with a third.
Day two of the regatta concluded with a traditional Saturday night banquet. All twelve teams reconvened at the San Diego Yacht Club for a friendly dinner where skippers are invited to congratulate their crews and roast their competitors. Teams will meet again tomorrow for the third and final day of the regatta. The first of three races will begin at 1125.
The 12 teams competing this year are: Balboa Yacht Club, California Yacht Club, Chicago Yacht Club, Coronado Yacht Club, Long Beach Yacht Club, New York Yacht Club, Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, San Diego Yacht Club, San Francisco Yacht Club, Southwestern Yacht Club and St. Francis Yacht Club.