Thursday’s weather: Wind 11-19k SW; sunny, high temp. 70F.
Friday’s forecast: Wind 11k SW; sunny, high temp. 73F.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (June 12, 2014) – When some of the world’s best Laser sailors launched their 13-foot, 9-inch singlehanded dinghies for the first of four days of the 2014 North American and U.S. Singlehanded Championships Thursday, Long Beach was ready with the best—and a bit of the worst—of its legendary conditions.
Bruno Fontes loved it—“It was perfect,” he said, even if he is from South America, but the 34-year-old Brazilian won the first two races and placed third to America’s Charlie Buckingham in the third, which is why he is the fourth-ranked Laser sailor in the world.
For opening day of the event also encompassing US Sailing’s U.S. Singlehanded Championship, there was a typical southwest breeze building to 15 knots, with gusts to 19, which is normal this time of year. But the white-capped race course set off nearby Seal Beach was open to the ocean, not inside the Long Beach breakwater.
Whitecaps are one thing but short-spaced choppy waves with five-foot-deep rollers soon separated the 181 competitors in the event presented by the sailing-savvy Alamitos Bay Yacht Club.
“It wasn’t the wind,” said Packy Davis, “just the pounding.”
His home waters are San Francisco Bay, but he headed back to shore after two of three races.
He had company. Kris Hublitz from Dana Point down the coast, said, “I had a lot of fun, but two races were enough. I’m 46 … a tired 46.”
Carter Lynn, 16, from San Diego, was sailing with the Laser full rigs but may drop down to Radials for the rest of the regatta.
“This was his first big boys regatta,” his dad said.
As for the Radials, the 105 boats were split into Yellow and Blue fleets with separate starts. The first-day leaders were Luke Muller from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and Simone Staff of the California YC in Marina del Rey, respectively.
ABYC’s own Mark Townsend, an ISAF international race officer, is the principal race officer operating from the club’s committee boat Patience.
He said he might move the course west a bit Friday for calmer water but made no promises.
“It’s the North American championships,” he said, “one notch below the worlds. The good guys are coping with it.”
Especially Montes (1-1-3), who has a one-point lead over Buckingham (2-3-1), who leads the U.S. Singlehanded group.
“Those of us in the world rankings, like Charlie Buckingham and myself, are prepared for these conditions,” Montes said.
Adults, juniors and masters, male and female, and members of the U.S. and Canadian national sailing teams and other competitors from Canada to the Caribbean and South America will race in three classes: Laser Full, Laser Radial and Radial 4.7. All must be at least 17 years of age in the calendar year.
The plan is to run three races daily on trapezoid courses starting at noon each day, conditions permitting.
The U.S. Sailing Singlehanded Champions will receive the prestigious George D. O’Day trophy for men and Helen Willis Hanley trophy for women.
The men’s Laser and the women’s Laser Radial are Olympic class events; Laser 4.7 features youth participants.
The top eligible male Laser and female Radial sailor will be named U.S. Singlehanded Champions.
For more information about the 2014 U.S. Singlehanded Championship, including real-time Twitter updates from the course, visit the event website.
The U.S. Singlehanded Championship is sponsored by Gill North America and Hobie Polarized Sunglasses. This is a Sailors for the Sea certified event.
Visit the 2014 Laser North American Championships website for more details about the entire event.
Laser NA Media Contact: Rich Roberts
310.835.2526, cell 310.766.6547
US Sailing Media Contact: Jake Fish
About US Sailing
The United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership, integrity, and growth for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US Sailing is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US Sailing offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org.
About Gill North America
Gill NA, with headquarters near Atlanta, GA is the exclusive importer and distributor of Gill-brand foul weather gear in North America including Caribbean, US and Canada. Gill is a worldwide apparel and accessories brand serving the marine industry with over three decades of experience. Gill specializes in high tech, breathable waterproof clothing. The company develops and markets a variety of performance-oriented, award-winning apparel and accessories for virtually every type of boating activity with product lines that include foul weather gear; interactive layering systems; footwear; gloves; bags; junior gear; scholastic gear and team wear. Gill products are available through hundreds of independent dealers and select West Marine Stores. For further information, please contact: Gary Barker at 941 505 2111 or email@example.com.
About Hobie Polarized
Hobie Polarized is a leading designer, developer, marketer and distributor of polarized eyewear. The brand’s innovative lens technology allows total glare reduction, 100% UV protection, enhances contrast and provides optimum visual acuity. The company’s products are sold worldwide and are used by watermen at all skill and lifestyle levels. The Hobie Polarized headquarters is located in Plainview, New York. For further information, please visit the company’s website at www.hobiepolarized.com.