SAN DIEGO – Congrats to owner/skipper Tony Langley, tactician Ben Ainslie, and the rest of team GLADIATOR for their win at the season's first Pac52 regatta, hosted over the weekend by San Diego YC as part of the SCYA Midwinters. The leader at the end of Saturday with a perfect score of three firsts (on corrected time) was David Team's VESPER (Newport Harbor YC). However, during Sunday's first race they broke a D2 (for non-sailors, that's one of the diagonal wires that brace the mast) and were scored "DNF" for Did Not Finish, and could not start the second race hence the "DNS" in the scoreboard below.
After our Pac52 story yesterday, a number of our Dear Readers asked why Frank Slootman's INVISIBLE HAND (Tahoe YC) which had entered the regatta, did not compete. Word is that they suffered a rigging failure just before the start of racing on Saturday or would have otherwise been racing. Final results....
A top sailor who was crewing aboard one of the yachts that finished mid-fleet told your Ed. this morning, "Man that VESPER is quick." When asked why, he said, "Good sailors, and a good Botin design!"
VESPER is the former TP52 winner QUANTUM RACING (Doug DeVos, Terry Hutchinson, et al.) that was built in 2009, proving class co-founder Manouch Moshayedi's mantra that an easy and inexpensive way to get into Pac52 racing is to buy a good used TP52 and make the minor mods necessary to make it class-legal. Reportedly VESPER needs to make a few more modifications to make it a completely class-legal Pac52.
To accommodate the Mexican TP52s and VESPER that are so far not modded to Pac52 Class spec, this weekend's racing was handicapped under ORR. Two sets of prizes were awarded – one based on first to finish without handicap, the other under ORR handicap. GLADIATOR finished first under both.
In a call this morning with Mr Moshayedi, owner and skipper of RIO, he told your Ed., "It was an excellent event and great sailing in San Diego. Nine boats with a combination of five TP52s and four Pac52s showed up for the regatta. Sailing greats such as Sir Ben Ainslie, Gavin Brady and Chris Larson were onboard as tacticians. Four Mexican-flagged TP52 were also participating.
"We had a practice day on Friday that was organized by Tony Langley's GLADIATOR team. It was very nice racing on Saturday with 10-18 knots of wind with 2-foot seas. On Sunday the winds died down and we saw 8-14 knots most of the day.
"I think the regatta showed that the Pac52 class is flexible enough to allow older TPs to participate. VESPER is a great example that an older TP52 could be very fast and competitive with the newer Pac52s if sailed well.
Manouch concluded, "The Pac52 class is growing nicely and making it easier for US owners to participate in a grand prix class without having to travel far."
Crew lists were not publicly available, so we cannot tell you with certainty who the tactician was on VESPER. But Mr Moshayedi confirmed it was 1997 USA Yachtsman of the Year and multiple world champion Chris Larson (Annapolis, MD). Owner David Team was driving. Reportedly VESPER also had a pretty good speed team with San Diegans Matt Reynolds on main trim and Chris Busch on headsail trim.
All in all an excellent turnout for the opening, unofficial regatta of this burgeoning class, that, as we said yesterday, has brought grand prix racing back to the West Coast in a big way. The Pac52's ambitious class-championship schedule for 2018:
May 4-6 – San Diego Yachting Cup
June 1-3 – Cal YC Race Week (LA)
June 22-24 – Long Beach Race Week
September 13-16 – Rolex Big Boat Series (SF)
September 28-30 – Pac52 Cup (SF)
In addition, one hears a number of the Pac52s will race August 24-26 in the popular Long Point Race Week, (arguably the most fun offshore event on the West Coast; your Ed. wouldn't miss it!) but again this year the lower-key LPRW will not score as part of the Pac52 season championship.
Tony Langley's GLADIATOR (GBR), with Sir Ben Ainslie and the core of his 2021 AC team aboard, won the Pac52 season opener hosted by San Diego YC over the weekend.