Fourteen boats answered the starting gun under leaden skies with lumpy seas and light winds as the 2002 Catalina 30 National Regatta got underway at Long Beach, California on August 16at the Little Ships Fleet Yacht Club. "Damn tricky conditions" one veteran sailor was overheard saying as Saturday's two races and Sunday's final race produced some close competition.

The spinnaker fleet developed into a match between Neil McGuinness' Super Stout, and Paul Turang's Dawn Patrol. It was virtually the same storyline in the cruising/handicap class when after the two Saturday races, Jack McDermott's Adventure was tied with one win and one second with Nate Tucker's Swell Lover. Both the spinnaker and cruising classes were decided in exciting "match" races on Sunday with Super Stout the winner in spinnaker and Swell Lover the winner in the cruising class.

Super Stout, the only tall rig in the class, was given permission to race with the standard rig boats by the regatta chairman after poling the fleet skippers on the question of mixing T/R's with S/R's. The consensus was to let Super Stout race and may the best boat and crew win. The light conditions were made to order for the tall rig who managed to save her time over second place Dawn Patrol in a close finish. Bill Gerhardt's Entropy was never seriously challenged in the non-spin racing class and won easily with three bullets. Hey, Bill, a "win" is a "win" and the trophy will look mighty handsome on the club wall.

Congratulations are in order for not only the winners, but for everybody who got out there and competed. And here they are:

Spin Class: (1) Neil McGuinness, Super Stout; (2) Paul Turang, Dawn Patrol; (3) Keller/Gutierrez/Retsek, La Maria; (4) Scotty Fraser, Sunchaser; (5) Lawler/Hardaker, Sojourn.



Non-spin: (1) Bill Gerhardt, Entropy; (2) Bob Rosen, Aurora; (3) Max Munger, Bon Vivant.




Cruise/Handicap: (1) Nate Tucker, Swell Lover; (2) Jack McDermott, Adventure; (3) Rowanda Tucker, No Strings Attached; (4) John Sosoka, Cuckoo's Nest; (5) Greg Haws, Perfect Timing; (6) Dave Stumpf, Fleetwind.


The regatta was three days of fun for everybody, sailors and land support people alike. Our Saturday evening dinner/dance, held at the nearby SeaPort Marina Hotel, attracted some 95 diners and dancers. We had a marvelous couple of DJ's who not only spun appropriate disks, but Dariel, the female of the duo, proved to have a professional-quality voice and treated us to several live renditions of popular ballads.

During dessert, yours truly acting as M.C., pulled lucky numbers from the old fishbowl and had the pleasure of presenting such gifts as subscriptions to Sail and Cruising World magazines, bottom cleanings, oil changes, books, cocktail pennants, and gift certificates for sail gear, services and restaurants. The grand prize, a rigid vang courtesy of Garhauer Marine, was won by Dick Gunnell, who had come out to Long Beach from Florida for the event. "I spent $40 on raffle tickets" grumbled Gunnell, who finally conceded that he had, "more than broke even". I guess so!

A complete set of mainsheet blocks, also courtesy of Garhauer Marine, was won by a local lady skipper, Rowanda Tucker (no relation to me), who says, "I desperately need equipment like this. Thanks so much." These gifts were practical and very much appreciated, and our personal thanks go out to Garhauer and all the other sponsors who contributed so generously. I will be sending letters of thanks to all the sponsors.

Speaking of "thank you's" a couple are in order here. First to the people of Fleet 8 who did a tremendous amount work and effort, and my many thanks to Scotty Fraser, Doris and Frank Goodale, Richard Heppner, Bill and Jan Gerhardt, Chris and Diane Johnston, Bill Van Wagoner & Bob Hubbard, Florence Rosen, and everybody who helped out.

Next, Commodore Frank Franco, acting Commodore Jim Campbell, and the officers and members of Little Ships Fleet Yacht Club who put on three fair (windward/leeward) races. The races were well run and well managed, and Steve Cole, our PRO, deserves a hardy cheer for a job well done.

Although LSFYC is small in size, its location on Alamitos Bay is picture postcard perfect, and we were able to moor five out of town boats using the long dock in front of the clubhouse. The Club furnished the competitors with continental breakfasts each morning and two burger bashes at nominal cost. Much appreciated by all.

Sunday after the final race, just as the sun dipped below the yardarm, (that's sailor talk for cocktail time) Frank Butler (right on cue) and his lovely wife, Jean, arrived, along with Sharon Day and her husband David. Frank is looking great and I'm sure got a lot of pleasure in looking over the assembled Cat 30's (I understand his favorite of the Catalina line). Frank proudly handed out the awards to the applause of the crowd.

Also to be thanked are the IC30A Executive Committee, starting with Commodore Nick Thies, Secretary Dick Gunnell, Chief Measurer Greg Haws, and Treasurer Max Munger for all their help and advice. God knows, I knew nothing about it when I started so many months ago. My appreciation goes out to all you guys. I will miss your emails, your input, and your sage counsel. You guys helped me every step of the way and I couldn't have done it without you.

Well, this article started out as a news story with the who, what, when & where, but of course its much more than a news story. Friends and relationships were made, some short-lived but grand while it lasted; others will prove to be long term. Truly, a good time was had by all. I'm reminded of an old TV theme song that went: "I'm so glad we had this time together, Just to laugh or sing a song. Seems we just get started and before you know it, Comes the time we have to say 'so long'."
So long everybody and smooth sailing.