The International Masters Regatta, hosted by San Diego Yacht Club for the fifth consecutive year, finished late afternoon on Sunday, October 23rd. Racing was tight at the top of the fleet for the duration of the weekend, and Bill Menninger (Newport Harbor Yacht Club) had a spectacular last day, winning both races on the final day as well as the overall regatta.
Sunday's conditions were unusual for San Diego, featuring cloudy and sporadically rainy skies with little wind at noon. Racing was delayed for about an hour and a half due to 100 degree wind shifts, making Race Committee unable to set a course. Eventually, the wind settled to more typical conditions and Race Committee was able to run two of the four scheduled races.
The delay in racing provided plenty of time for the skippers to reminisce with their crews about past races in their careers, a central theme of the International Masters Regatta. More than just a time to race against former rivals or friends, the International Masters Regatta is an event to celebrate the history of sailing and unite masters sailors from around the world.
Chuck Nichols (SDYC), the winner of the 2013 Masters Regatta, describes the International Masters Regatta as “...a bunch of old characters that come back and tell you about sailing. It reminds you of how great they were and still are.”
Race one got underway just before 2pm once the wind was up to five to six knots. The fleet was split at the start, but the right side of the course was clearly favored upwind. Mennniger had the lead at the first weather mark and was able to keep his lead throughout the entire race as the wind picked up to about 10 knots. Jon Andron (St. Francis Yacht Club) and Don Trask (St. Francis Yacht Club) were behind Menninger and eventually finished second and third.
Racing was slightly delayed before the second race so that a proper course could be set in shifty conditions. Three skippers--Menninger, Richard du Moulin (Storm Trysails Club/Larchmont Yacht Club) and Andron--were in a three-way tie for first place overall going into the last race. The anticipation was visible once the race started and six boats were immediately OCS. Menninger was not among them which helped him gain a commanding lead. Menninger was able to keep this lead and sailed across the finish line as the 2016 International Masters Regatta champion.
This is Menninger's first time winning the International Masters Regatta and also the first win from a Newport Harbor Yacht Club skipper. Menninger will be back at SDYC next weekend for the 102nd Challenge for the Sir Thomas Lipton Cup where he will crew for Jon Pinckney on the Newport Harbor Yacht Club team.
Menninger reflected at the end of the weekend. “My overall strategy for these three days was to get better every race. My starts were not very good at the start of the regatta, but they got a lot better by the end. Sailing aside, my favorite part of the Masters Regatta is the camaraderie of the guys that you’ve raced against your whole life, or new guys that you haven’t sailed against yet.”
The International Masters Regatta would like to thank its sponsors: Ballast Point, Helly Hansen, North Sails, & Pacific Gate San Diego.