Form lines up for North Sails Race Week

Rich Roberts looks ahead to one of the west coast's top regattas

Tuesday June 10th 2003, Author: Rich Roberts, Location: United States
One-design racing has flourished in 18 years of North Sails Race Week, but PHRF also continues to draw a collage of top competitors to the West Coast's largest inshore keelboat event.

All five of the 2002 PHRF winners have signed up to defend their 2002 titles in racing scheduled the weekend of June 27-29: Jim Demetriades' Transpac 52, Yassou; Cita Litt's Schock 40, Cita; Dave Gray's Davidson 44, Pendragon II; Scott Taylor's B32, Defiance, and Allan Rosenberg's Olson 30, Intense.

Taylor, who lives in Long Beach, represents the Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club in San Pedro, where PHRF was founded at a meeting in 1959. At first the name meant Pacific Handicap Racing Fleet, but as the concept caught on nationally "Pacific" became "Performance" in 1973. Several other alternative systems have been proposed over the years, but PHRF remains the standard across the U.S.

Taylor, 40, said, "It's the one rating rule that has endured. It's certainly not perfect, but it allows boats of all types and people of all levels to race together."

North Sails Race Week is co-managed by Golison and Golison and Premiere Racing. A mix of PHRF and one-design classes will compete on three race courses. Invited one-design classes include the Farr 40s, J/105s and Schock 35s, all contesting their Pacific Coast championships, plus 1D35, Beneteau 40.7, Beneteau 36.7, J/120, J/80, Melges 24, Santa Cruz 52 and Transpac 52.

Of last year's one-design winners, Brack Duker's Farr 40, Revolution; Ray Godwin's Schock 35, Whiplash, and Argyle Campbell's Melges 24, Rock n' Roll, are also entered as the list grows daily. Campbell faces another battle with Dave Ullman, who returns to the class where he won Boat of the Week honours in 2001 and 1999 - the last time in a four-deep tiebreaker countback against Campbell.

In PHRF competition at North Sails Race Week, the results often have been settled by seconds when each boat's performance is computed by its rating against its time and the distance of each race. Defiance, the only B32 racing in the Los Angeles-Orange County area, rated 66 seconds per mile last year, a fairly low number for a boat its size. Taylor said that's because it's really just a small ultralight.

"PHRF allows me to have a boat that is faster than any of the one-designs available in that size range," Taylor said, "and my B32 is more fun to race. I like having an ultralight boat on the West Coast, where you don't tend to find many small ultralight classes."

This year Taylor had Defiance towed East for Key West 2003, where he won PHRF 6 class, overcoming an OCS with three first places and a second. That gave Defiance a grand slam of Premiere Racing events, along with other victories at San Diego YC's Yachting Cup and California YC's recent Cal Race Week.

Taylor attributes those successes to solid crew work by a group of eight friends - Tim Dohmen, Chris Iwai, Brad Bougsman, Jerry Healy, Marty Diandriole, Will Vrooman, Vanessa Lewis and Laura Horvath. All but Healy and Horvath have been sailing with him for 12 years, starting on a Schock 41GP also named Defiance.

Taylor needs a lot of friends on board. "You have a 4,000-pound boat with only 1,500 pounds of ballast," he said. "You need to keep it upright somehow. It's a tender boat."

Entry information can be found here.

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