North Sails Race Week begins tomorrow

Rich Roberts looks ahead to southern California's biggest regatta

Wednesday June 25th 2003, Author: Rich Roberts, Location: United States
It must be witchcraft that is chasing away the notorious marine layer called June Gloom that strips sun, wind and joy from the Southern California sailing scene, just in time for the 19th North Sails Race Week starting Friday. More than 130 boats will compete.

Forecasts call for temperatures in the 70s and up to 15 knots of breeze on the weekend, which would be a welcome change of pace from recent events in the region. Credit may be due Pyewacket, Roy E. Disney's record-setting Reichel/Pugh 75 named for the mystical cat from the movie "Bell, Book and Candle." Pyewacket, in its final tune-up for the Transpacific Yacht Race, will make a rare inshore appearance in PHRF-A.

Such sailing conditions put performance at a maximum and luck at a minimum - meaning, for example, that Argyle Campbell and Dave Ullman will be around the front of the Melges 24 fleet, and there is nothing mystical about that.

There will be 16 or more Melges 24s, but the largest one-design fleet will have 25 or more J/105s, a line that continues to grow in popularity coast to coast. Others
include the Farr 40s, Schock 35s, 1D35s, J/120s and J/80s. The J/105s, Farr 40s and Schock 35s will be contesting their Pacific Coast championships.

PHRF classes will include, besides Pyewacket, such grand prix glitter as Jim Demetriades' Transpac 52, Yassou; the Schock 40s SchockaZulu, Cincos and Cita and a continuing duel between Oscar Krinsky's 1D48, Chayah, with Walter Johnson driving, and Dale Williams' ILC 46, Wasabi, with Dennis Conner calling tactics Friday and Sunday. The latter boats' ratings have been adjusted from last weekend's Long Beach Race Week to give Chayah a one-second-per-mile edge instead of a three-second deficit.

Under an expanded format, there will be two races instead of only one on Friday, starting at 2:30 p.m., then three races on Saturday and two for a windup Sunday, starting at 11:30 a.m. each day. Awards ceremonies will follow in the courtyard of the host SeaPort Marina Hotel.

The boats will compete on three race courses, two outside the breakwater and one inside. A year ago the hottest head-to-head competition was in the Melges 24s, where Campbell nipped Ullman for the title on the fourth countback tiebreaker.

"Dave and I grew up in the same harbor at the same yacht club - Balboa - so we've sailed around and against each other on various boats from the very beginning," said Campbell, 54.

Ullman has won the Boat of the Week honor twice at North Sails Race Week, and Campbell gives him his due. "Dave is not only a great sailor but he's great on preparation, and he doesn't make any glaring mistakes on the race course," Campbell said. "He's very methodical in the way he goes around a race course. He keeps himself in a regatta and he's always right there at the end. He's the epitome of the professional sailor."

But Campbell rates equally high marks as an amateur. Two years ago he won the Melges 24 Nationals at San Diego in a fleet that included class icons Vince Brun, Harry Melges, Brian Porter - and Ullman.

Campbell, who runs Cambro Manufacturing, providing hardware to the food service industry, said, "In the Melges class there are a lot of people that work full time. If you can get good people and keep the same group together, you can execute as well as anybody."

Campbell, sailing Rock n' Roll, will have his same solid crew of Robert Kinney,

Scott Barnard and Richard Loufek with him again. Ullman will have 2000 Olympic silver medallist Pease Glaser calling tactics.

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